It's Broccoli Time Again
May 09, 2011

On Tuesday, a panel of federal judges in Richmond, Virginia, will hear the first appeal of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The appeal ties together two cases, including the one filed by Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli that resulted in a decision to invalidate the law's individual mandate. The other lawsuit, brought by Liberty University, failed. Tuesday's case is one of three major appeals cases going forward.

The Daniels Dilemma
April 27, 2011

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour’s surprise announcement that he is not, after all, running for president in 2012 is sparking an incipient sense of panic in the self-confident ranks of Republican insiders. Ol’ Haley was so their type: solidly conservative without getting too carried away with it, innately at home with money and those who made lots of it, and always ready to cut a shrewd deal. But now, for whatever reason, Haley’s out.

Moving While Black
April 01, 2011

Black people have been moving. South, that is, according to a recent and widely read piece in the Times—more, according to the latest census data, than since 1910. And from this article and the census, what we see is that black people first of all are able to move: They have the means to, and if they choose to live among whites, they are encountering ever less opposition to doing so. Moreover, it would appear that typically the black people moving are content with their decision.

Suburbs Drive Unemployment Growth
April 01, 2011

In the three years since the recession began the number of unemployed in the nation increased by 90 percent, or 6.6 million people. As our latest geographic drill-down shows, much of that growth was driven by more than 3 million additional unemployed people in the suburbs (1.2 million in cities) of the largest metropolitan areas. Levels of unemployment in suburbs remain about twice the level of unemployed in cities.

Don't Trust Big Zoo
March 31, 2011

The Bronx Zoo says its escaped King Cobra is almost certainly still on zoo grounds. Don't believe them!, says David Vecsey: [T]hat’s exactly what zoo officials in Atlanta said last summer, when an adult tiger rattlesnake went missing … right before it was found roughly 100 yards off zoo grounds. What’s worse was that snake was clubbed to death by a Grant Park resident who had no idea that a highly venomous snake was even on the loose until it slithered onto his porch near his toddler son.

A New State of the States
March 22, 2011

What are states good for? The 19th century answer was that states are a critical counterweight to federal power. The 20th century answer was that states are laboratories of democracy--tinkering with the beta versions of laws and policies before other states or the federal government adopted them on a large scale. The 21st century answer is that states are the enablers and supporters of metropolitan economies. One problem: States don’t really think this way. According to law, all the component elements of metros--cities, counties, townships, villages, etc.--are creatures of the state.

Are State and Local Government Workers Sharing the Pain of Job Cuts?
March 14, 2011

In proposing to increase state government workers’ payments for their pensions and health insurance (read: cut their pay) and gut their collective bargaining rights, Wisconsin Gov.

Missing Workers: The Elephant in the Recovery
February 09, 2011

More than a few observers (here, here or here) are finding it difficult to interpret last week’s BLS employment report. The household survey recorded a fairly large 0.4 percentage-point drop in the unemployment rate, at the same time that the establishment survey recorded an increase in payroll employment of a measly 36,000. An increasingly missing piece of the puzzle may be the workers themselves. According to the latest report, fully 22 percent of 25 to 64 year-olds are not in the U.S. labor force.

Yesterday’s Heroes
January 19, 2011

Photojournalists are yesterday’s heroes. True, there are still some big names out there, among them Gilles Peress and Sabastiao Salgado. But the significance of their work is unclear. Do they shape political or social opinion through their images? Or are they mostly regarded as imaginative artists who just happen to be drawn to tough, newsworthy subjects? Few photographers are any longer seen as providing definitive information about some national or international trouble spot, at least very few who are what used to be called professionals.

January 13, 2011

Despite the Onion’s recent all too true headline (Snowy Conditions Proving Hazardous for Nation's Idiots) and the antics of some members of New York City’s Sanitation Department, municipal snow removal isn’t always a disaster, even in extreme events. Even in Atlanta.