Metros Turn Up the Heat on Addressing Climate
June 02, 2011

As the heat and humidity settle into Washington for the season and the hope that Congress might one day take action to prevent a warming climate melts away, readers can find some relief in a recent spate of reports emanating from across metro America.   Metros, where 84 percent of the nation’s population live and work, will be on the frontlines of adaptation to climate change. Unsurprisingly then, a network of pragmatic metro leaders are taking the adaptation imperative seriously. They’re acting—on data and empirical evidence, no less!—to prepare for a future that will disrupt human geography

Do Floods Hurt or Help Fish?
May 11, 2011

Flooding along the Mississippi River continues to dominate headlines, as Mississippi and Louisiana brace for record water levels. The river has already reached a record 58 feet in Natchez, Mississippi, and is expected to crest there at 64 feet on May 21, while Louisiana officials nervously consider whether to open the Morganza spillway, which would lower the river by several feet, but also deluge thousands of homes and businesses. Cities farther upstream, though, aren't letting days of flooding get in the way of events: Memphis is even going ahead with a World Championship BBQ competition.

Cicadas Confounding Scientists!
May 10, 2011

While some parts of the South are dealing with (or bracing for) record floods, others are anticipating another kind of flood: a flood of cicadas. A brood that emerges every 13 years started appearing late last month in southern Alabama, and the insects have since appeared in Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, and a number of other southeastern states. The cicadas will mate with each other en masse before dying, which frankly seems like a pretty hasty end after 13 years underground. But why every 13 years (or, with some other species, 17 years)?

Flooding: A National Trend?
May 09, 2011

As mentioned in the last post, flooding along the Mississippi River continues to be the major domestic news story of the day. Residents of low-lying areas of Memphis have been asked to evacuate, as the river rises to 48 feet, just shy of the record set in the terrible flood of 1927, the most destructive in American history. Workers are building temporary levees throughout Mississippi and Louisiana, where the Mississippi is expected to exceed levels reached in that infamous flood in 1927.

The Mississippi River Floods: Is Climate Change to Blame?
May 09, 2011

The Mississippi River has continued to rise through the weekend, flooding thousands of acres in the region. Forecasters expect the river to crest in Memphis on Monday night, earlier than previously expected, and farther downstream, Louisiana officials are bracing for a potential flooding disaster. To lessen the chances of flooding in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and other Louisiana cities, the Army Corps of Engineers is expected to open the Morganza Spillway later this week, after already opening the Bonnet Carre Spillway this morning.

When The Mississippi River Floods A Lake
May 04, 2011

As the Mississippi River continues to rise higher and higher, the Army Corps of Engineers has been forced to blast levies along the river in an attempt to lower the water level. Unfortunately, while the destruction of levees has protected cities along the river, it has also led to the flooding of thousands of acres of farmland.

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.

How to Halt Gerrymandering
April 01, 2011

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).

Will the Emerging Democratic Majority Emerge?
March 16, 2011

Matthew Yglesias predicts that, as the country grows more non-white, white voters will grow more Republican: I used to hold to the view that the growing non-white share of the electorate would, over time, tip elections to Democrats. I now think the system will remain near equilibrium and what we’ll instead see is white voters growing more Republican as Democrats are more and more seen as the party of non-whites. Mississippi and Arizona, after all, have very large minority votes but they’re hardly hotbeds of liberalism.

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.