Tennessee's Creationism Bill: Why Are We Still Fighting Over Evolution?
April 11, 2012

Lawmakers in Tennessee have passed a controversial new bill that would require the state’s teachers to allow discussion of creationism alongside evolution in science class. Though the bill was opposed by the governor, the ACLU, and the state’s largest teacher’s association, it nonetheless passed by a wide margin. Why has evolution suddenly reemerged as a hot-button cultural issue?  According to survey data from Pew and Gallup, the controversy over evolution never really went away.

Santorum For Veep!
March 07, 2012

Rick Santorum’s impressive Super Tuesday showing—he won Tennessee, Oklahoma, and North Dakota, and lost Ohio by only a hair—compels political commentators to pretend that the nomination may still be up for grabs (when in fact the nominee will still almost certainly be Mitt Romney). That won’t last.

Does Romney Have a 'Southern Problem'?
March 07, 2012

After just barely pulling out a win in Ohio, Mitt Romney has “won Super Tuesday” by most media accounts. But even with his successes (wins in Virginia, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Idaho, and a decent shot in Alaska), you’ll likely hear some people echo a recent claim by Newt Gingrich: that Romney can’t be confident of the nomination if he can’t win anywhere in the South. This concern didn’t suddenly present itself: Mitt’s first real stumble in the race, of course, was in South Carolina, where he got righteously stomped by Newt.

The Unbearable Weakness of Mitt Romney
March 06, 2012

I'll leave it to others to make the general pronouncements about how Mitt Romney's middling performance Tuesday night against deeply flawed and overmatched opponents showed yet again what an astonishingly weak frontrunner he is. Instead, I want to focus in on a geographic irony that emerged more clearly Tuesday night than it has in the earlier primaries. Namely, that Romney does well in the places where Barack Obama does well, and he does poorly in the places where Obama does poorly.

Why Super Tuesday Won’t Deliver a Knockout Blow
March 05, 2012

This year’s Super Tuesday will be “super” in the most obvious way: Ten states with a total of 437 delegates will make their decisions on the same day. What will be the upshot of all these contests? Below, a guide to what is likely to happen and how to interpret the results: Super Tuesday won’t prove decisive. This is true for two reasons. First, all ten states are using some variant of a proportional system to award delegates. Some are looking to statewide vote totals, while others focus on the results within congressional districts.

Santorum and the Idiocy of Home Schooling
March 03, 2012

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.

Nevada Gets a Plan for a Better Economy
February 09, 2012

Washington is paralyzed by politics and debt, but states and regions are moving to renew the drifting U.S. economy themselves.

Meet the Obama Administration's Office For Antagonizing Environmental Activists
January 03, 2012

When President Obama took office, most environmental activists assumed that their cause would still meet resistance in Washington DC—they just assumed it would be located in Congress. But according to activists, a chief opponent of environmental causes has turned out to be within the White House itself: The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). A division of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), OIRA has always had the power to review the economic impact of virtually any new federal regulation.

‘Bottom Up’ Economic Development Gains Traction
November 21, 2011

States across the nation are increasingly recognizing the crucial role that regions and metropolitan areas play in their economies. Just last week, Nevada leaders nodded their heads a lot during the release of a big report there about how states should “aid and abet” regional efforts to develop smart sector and cluster strategies to boost growth. Moreover, in just the last year no less than three states--Colorado, New York, and Tennessee--have each launched well-considered and ambitious “bottom-up” economic development strategies that aim to place regions at the center of their economic develo

Obama's Shrewd NCLB Strategy
September 28, 2011

[Guest post by Simon van Zuylen-Wood] You can learn a lot about a party from the guest list. Last Friday, when President Obama announced his plan to offer states reprieve from No Child Left Behind’s performance targets (failing to meet the targets can trigger harsh sanctions for schools), he was introduced by Republican Governor Bill Haslam of Tennessee and joined onstage by Independent Governor Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island.