More Car Talk for the Campaign
May 18, 2011

Unemployment in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois is falling more quickly than in the rest of the country. The Big Three are hiring again. Does one development have anything to do with the other? Does it mean President Obama can brag about the auto industry rescue package?

Car Talk and the Campaign
May 16, 2011

President Obama plans to make the auto industry rescue a major part of his reelection campaign, according to a new Politico story by Ben Smith and Byron Tau. As readers of this space know, I think he has a strong argument on the merits. The news from General Motors in particular has been extremely positive for the last year.

The Myth of Moderate Mitch
May 11, 2011

During his tenure in office, Mitch Daniels, the Republican governor of Indiana, has enacted a set of policies that would make any conservative proud. Elected with the help of donations from the Koch brothers, he signed bills that abolished the right of teachers to bargain for anything other than wages and wage-related benefits and initiated the largest private-school voucher program in the country. He’s said he will sign a bill that will end Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood in his state and ban all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

More Signs Of The End For Dick Lugar
May 09, 2011

Indiana Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly is getting into the Senate race. Donnelly is probably the strongest candidate Democrats could muster for that seat. There's no way he'd be running if Lugar was his likely opponent, because Lugar, a popular moderate, would mop the floor with Donnelly. But Lugar is very unlikely to survive a right-wing primary challenge, and the opportunity to run against non-incumbent Tea Party Republican Richard Mourdock  creates a real opportunity for a pretty strong candidate like Donnelly.

Is It Time To Take Trump Seriously?
April 28, 2011

I've been highly skeptical of the idea that Donald Trump is really planning to run for president, or that he would stand any chance at all of winning if he does. But I'm starting to treat the possibility just a bit more seriously now. One reason I've discounted his chances is that Republicans elites have shunned his candidacy.

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.

Last Two Speakers Of Language Refuse To Speak To Each Other
April 14, 2011

Not from the Onion: The language of Ayapaneco has been spoken in the land now known as Mexico for centuries. It has survived the Spanish conquest, seen off wars, revolutions, famines and floods. But now, like so many other indigenous languages, it's at risk of extinction. There are just two people left who can speak it fluently – but they refuse to talk to each other. Manuel Segovia, 75, and Isidro Velazquez, 69, live 500 metres apart in the village of Ayapa in the tropical lowlands of the southern state of Tabasco.

Mitch Daniels and His Health Care Elixir
March 29, 2011

My latest column for Kaiser Health News: Conservatives don't know whether Mitch Daniels, the governor of Indiana, will run for president. But they know about the health care plan he introduced. And many of them are excited about it. The Healthy Indiana Plan, as it's known, is the Hoosier state's alternative to traditional Medicaid. It's also a viable alternative to the dreaded federal Affordable Care Act, if its boosters on the right are to be believed. Do they have a case? Heaven knows conservatives need such a proposal.

Why I'd Place My Bet on Tim Pawlenty
March 08, 2011

With few declared candidates and no clear frontrunner, the Republican presidential primary appears to be as muddled as ever. But I actually think things are shaking out in a way as to clear the path for Tim Pawlenty. My view of the primary selection system is that it consists of two basic constituencies, the elites and the base. The elites want to find a candidate who is electable and committed to their policy agenda.

The Rise Of The Pick And Roll
March 07, 2011

How the pick and roll became the hot play in college basketball: When Illinois coach Bruce Weber started his coaching career as an assistant at Western Kentucky and Purdue, hardly any college teams used the pick-and-roll as a central part of their offense. Indiana coach Bob Knight’s motion offense and North Carolina coach Dean Smith’s fast-break offense were the standards. Screening was still used, but more in the confines of offensive movement as part of cuts. Then Stockton found Malone and the Utah Jazz perfected the art of the two-man game.