The Phoenix Dust Storm and the Dust Bowl—Caused by Humans?
July 06, 2011

Last night, Phoenix suffered a massive dust storm. Videos show a wall of dust moving across the city. The dust was a nearly a mile high and about 100 miles wide, and even more storms are forecast for tonight. While this individual storm clearly differed in magnitude, the images were not unlike those of the “Dust Bowl” storms that swept across the Midwest from 1930 to 1936.

Are State and Local Government Workers Sharing the Pain of Job Cuts?
March 14, 2011

In proposing to increase state government workers’ payments for their pensions and health insurance (read: cut their pay) and gut their collective bargaining rights, Wisconsin Gov.

Meet Peter King’s Star Witness
March 10, 2011

On Thursday, Peter King, the Republican chair of the House Homeland Security committee, kicks off a series of hearings on domestic terrorism that are being heralded as the second coming of Joseph McCarthy, the Salem Witch Trials, and the Spanish Inquisition. Such comparisons may err (a little) on the side of exaggeration, but it’s certainly fair to say that King, a one-time IRA supporter, cares only about Islamic incidents of terror, and he has declined to invite representatives of mainstream American Muslim groups to defend their faith.

An All-Out Assault on Immigration
February 17, 2011

In the spring of 2010, the Arizona legislature passed one of the harshest immigration measures in years: SB1070, which makes it a crime for immigrants not to carry documentation at all times. The law ignited a national uproar, the Justice Department announced that it plans to sue the state, and Arizona was pilloried in the press for encouraging racial profiling.

State Budgets’ Unsound Structures
January 07, 2011

There’s been a lot of talk about state budget woes across the country as impacted by the Great Recession.

How the Tea Party Is Wrecking Republican Foreign Policy
December 04, 2010

Now that the midterm elections are over and voices of the Tea Party will soon be established in Congress, the movement’s views on foreign policy will come under closer scrutiny, and the results may prove surprising, not least to the Tea Partiers themselves. Those views are far from Republican orthodoxy. On some issues, the Tea Partiers will predictably line up with the Republican leadership, but on others they may find they have more in common with Democrats. They may even provide Barack Obama with unexpected support.

Fighting the Fed
November 17, 2010

Last week, in between leading a graduate seminar on Proust and delivering a long-scheduled lecture on mass spectrometry, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin ventured a few ticks beyond her acknowledged area of expertise and reflected on monetary policy at a convention in Phoenix. The occasion for her unexpected soliloquy—I’m actually serious about the economics speech—was the Fed’s decision to buy some $600 billion in long-term government securities, a practice known as quantitative easing. “We shouldn’t be playing around with inflation,” Palin said, in a typically Delphic pronouncement.

A Dem Palin? Not Needed
August 30, 2010

The Sunday NYT carried an unusually useless op-ed yesterday, asking for a "Palin of Our Own" for the Democrats. Anna Holmes and Rebecca Traister note that Sarah Palin generates a lot of publicity, and conclude: The left should be outraged and exasperated by all this — but at their own failings as much as Ms. Palin’s ascension. Since the 2008 election, progressive leaders have done little to address the obvious national appetite for female leadership. And despite (or because of) their continuing obsession with Ms.

Exports: Next for the West?
August 02, 2010

The release of our new “Export Nation” report this week makes a strong argument that if the nation is going to begin “rebalancing” its off-kilter economy then U.S.

Building the Sun Corridor: I-11 Gains Traction
July 23, 2010

Sometimes a fact breaks through. When we released the Metro Program’s 2008 report “Mountain Megas” about the “megapolitan” super-metros of the Mountain West, my colleague Rob Lang and myself picked up on past work by the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) and began to point out that massive Phoenix and Las Vegas stand as the two largest proximate metropolitan areas not linked by an interstate. This observation might have seemed a bit abstract, but in fact it built on significant past discussion of the Mountain region’s underdeveloped transportation networks.