Idaho

No sooner had Mitt Romney triumphed in the Michigan primary than Rick Santorum edged into his victory by succeeding in winning an equal number of delegates. Romney polled 3 percent higher than Santorum in the popular vote. But that meant nothing in the arcana of counting at the polls that will be translated into 15 delegates each at the Tampa convention in August.

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Ohio Delegates at stake: 66 The Buckeye State is considered by many to be Super Tuesday’s most important prize. Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Polling Institute, said that Ohio matters so much “because it is so representative of the rest of the country.” A Feb. 27 Quinnipiac poll had Santorum up over Romney 36-29 in the state, but the former Pennsylvania senator failed to qualify for the ballot in three of Ohio’s 16 Congressional districts, which will automatically deny him the nine delegates to be won from those districts.

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An Idaho man who was reported missing last month has been arrested for shooting the White House with a semiautomatic rifle. The suspect is 21-year-old Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, who has criminal records in three states and a history of drug and alcohol problems. He is believed to have fired an AK-47 at the White House last Friday night. At least one round hit the building, but it was stopped by bulletproof glass.

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Despite months of media hype, I've expressed long-standing, deep skepticism that the Senate "Gang of Six" would ever succeed in getting a deficit agreement passed into law. The final stages of the group are just plain sad: In a last-ditch effort to make their deficit-cutting ideas relevant to the debt ceiling debate, the remnants of the Gang of Six will give a presentation on their plan to a bipartisan group of about 50 senators on Tuesday morning, according to several congressional sources. Sens.

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Ever since the 2010 elections, I've been saying that John Boehner's speakership was living on borrowed time. At some point the compromises he'd have to make to avoid political overreach would make him break faith with the maximalist demands of the House GOP caucus. I suppose there's an alternative scenario, which could last for some period of time, in which Boehner keeps his title but simply lacks any authority: The House majority leader’s voice was heard most often in Sunday night and Monday afternoon debt-limit negotiations at the White House.

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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.

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Karat Top

In the summer of 1932, Louis McFadden, a former bank president turned Pennsylvania Congressman, stood up on the House floor to reveal a sinister plot. Over the course of a 25-minute speech, he explained how the Federal Reserve—“one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known”—was being steered by a cabal of European bankers who had, among other sins, paid for Leon Trotsky’s return ticket to Russia and funded the October Revolution. But McFadden’s pleas to dismantle the Fed and embrace gold (in his view, “the only real money”) were greeted with ridicule.

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The nation is urgently searching for ways to transform its energy system with cleaner alternatives.

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The Revisionaries

It seemed unthinkable that Vaughn Ward wouldn’t, someday, be a U.S. congressman. The decorated Iraq war vet had been handpicked by national Republicans to run against endangered Democrat Walt Minnick for Idaho’s first congressional district. Although he was somewhat gaffe-prone (he had an unfortunate tendency to plagiarize campaign speeches from sources like Barack Obama, for instance), Ward had the boyish good looks, the résumé, and—best of all, for one of the reddest states in the country—Sarah Palin’s blessing.

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Activists at last week’s Netroots Nation talked about disappointment and disillusionment. The polls show a slow, steady decline in support for the president among Democrats. Neither sample captures perfectly the state of the liberal mind this summer, but you’d have to be pretty oblivious not to see that President Obama, and the Democrats, are losing the love of their base. It’s a somewhat predictable decline, given lofty expectations for the Obama presidency and the stubbornly slow recovery.

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