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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When you see a primary challenge against a long-time member of Congress, the incumbent usually enjoys the advantage of at least nominal support from the party establishment.
Many Beltway insiders seem to have convinced themselves that abortion doesn’t matter anymore. Just look at the press clippings from CPAC, where Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels wowed his D.C. cheerleaders with a speech doubling down on his earlier call for a “truce” over culture-war issues like abortion. Chris Christie came into town a few days later, and excited a lot of the same people with a speech focused almost exclusively on the idea that entitlement-spending cuts are the nation’s top priority.
Here is a story that captures everything that's good and everything tragic about Mitch Daniels. At heart, he is clearly an intelligent, sane man.
The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery By Eric Foner (W.W. Norton, 426 pp., $29.95) I. As we begin a raft of sesquicentennials that will carry us through at least the next half-decade—the secession of Southern states, the formation of the Confederacy, the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, Appomattox, and so on—I confess to feeling a mixture of excitement and trepidation. These are all signal events in our history, the roadblocks and thoroughfares in the making of modern America, and at a time of general crisis they are especially important to revisit.
Republicans are poised to take over the U.S. Senate in 2012. This isn't contingent on a GOP presidential win, or even a particularly good campaign year, but rather on the extremely tilted Senate playing field created by the 2006 Democratic landslide. Yet, oddly, that is no comfort for many sitting Republican senators, who may face savage primary challenges if they are even perceived to slight the conservative base.