Georgia

Above and Beyond

Sean Wilentz wonders if bin Laden’s death will bring a close to the era of paranoid politics in America.

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This past weekend, tornadoes battered a number of states around the country, killing over 40 people in 15 states, including 24 in North Carolina. Experts believe the weekend could be one of the worst three-day tornado outbreaks in the country's history.  Unfortunately, tornadoes are difficult to study: though clues are available in local atmospheric data, tornadoes are so spontaneous that tracking and taking measurements from them is problematic.

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The Saxby Swing

When asked about Paul Ryan’s deficit plan, one senator straightforwardly disapproved: “What he seeks to do is balance the budget over about a ten-year period simply by reducing spending. And you can’t do that.” When asked if some people were going to pay more in taxes, the senator added, “You bet.” Such a response was not unique, but the source of the opinion was surprising: conservative Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia.

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Later this week, the world’s top golfers will tee off at the Masters Golf Tournament at the Augusta National in Georgia. Like other golf tournaments, the Masters is a stately, respectful affair. Players dress well, the fans keep their distance, and there seem to be few chances for players to get hurt. But does the game’s high-class, non-contact image mask a hidden danger? According to a couple studies, golf is a surprisingly dangerous game.

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As this decade’s redistricting cycle begins, Republicans are licking their lips in anticipation. They already hold a sizeable 48-seat advantage in the House of Representatives. Thanks to their sweeping 2010 victories in state races, they will also have complete control over how 193 congressional districts are redrawn (compared to just 44 for the Democrats).

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Although I’m not part of the Tea Party movement and I don’t share its values, I usually understand what its followers are trying to do. But their latest gambit on health care has me genuinely baffled. The idea is to oppose the Affordable Care Act not in the Congress or the courts, where they’ve been fighting so far, but in the state legislatures. As you may recall, the Act calls upon states to create the new “exchanges,” through which individuals and small businesses will be able to buy regulated insurance policies at affordable prices.

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Chameleon

After many feints in this direction dating back to 1996, Newt Gingrich seems to be finally preparing a run for president. Generally, he is not being taken as seriously as potential candidates like Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, and Mike Huckabee—or even D.C. insider heartthrobs such as Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels, and Chris Christie. I agree with this assessment of Gingrich’s potential, to an extent; he’s the opposite of a fresh new face, and the guy’s baggage rivals Charlie Sheen’s.

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A Georgia state representative known for his fringe politics has introduced a radical pro-life bill that not only calls for the nullification of Roe v.

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This past summer, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell found himself facing a situation every authority figure dreads. His reputation hinged on how he handled a greasy-haired young man sitting in front of him, brandishing a smirk. The lug in question was Ben Roethlisberger, the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, who had been accused of rape for the second time in a year, in this instance by a 20-year-old college student in Georgia. Arming himself for the conversation, Goodell had talked to two dozen other players, including other Steelers.

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Avast Network

This past December, when the host of the Wikileaks domain shut down the organization’s online presence, the Pirate Party came to the rescue. No, the saviors were not renegade Somalis or Internet bootleggers, but, rather, a small but growing five-year-old political party focused on copyright and intellectual property laws. There are between 30 and 40 Pirate Parties globally, and two Pirate Party members sit in the European Parliament. By reopening the shuttered Wikileaks on the Swiss Pirate Party’s site, the party linked up with one of the biggest stories of 2010.

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