Tony Dokoupil

America's Deporter in Chief

Frustrated by the federal stalemate on illegal immigration, cities and states have spent the last few years crafting their own curbs on unlawful residency.

Colorado: New Power Pols

Secretaries of state have been among the more anonymous local officeholders, managing elections without taking a political side.

States Crack Down on Smokeless Tobacco

About one in five Americans smokes. And that's not likely to change much, say public-health experts, until cigarette-style taxes, bans, and crossbones are applied to a related scourge: smokeless tobacco. The unlit leaf of many names—chaw, chew, dip, snuff, snus—is a growing problem, especially among male smokers and young people who use it as a cheap and convenient substitute for cigarettes.

Hollywood's Bad Script Started in New Mexico

As dozens of states "right size" their budgets, one line item seems curiously immune from cuts: film subsidies. After New Mexico approved generous tax credits in 2002, more than 40 states followed suit, and today studios are showered with about $1.5 billion in annual benefits.

The Capitol's Charity Case

Last year was among the worst on record for charitable giving. But even with a rebound forecast for 2010, the world of good works will remain unnaturally depressed, according to a new study, and not because of the economy. The culprit is Uncle Sam.

How Utah Became an Economic Zion

It's said there are no bad jobs during a recession. But there are depressing ones—like trying to recruit new business. That was Jeffrey Edwards's task as head of Utah's Economic Development Corporation (EDC).

No New Liquor Licenses in Virginia

Privatization is a magical idea, a way to shrink government without cutting services or raising taxes. But while there has been support for outsourcing the oversight of parks and tollbooths, one public monopoly hasn't folded: liquor sales.

New Study: School Consolidation Gets Failing Grade

Promising to "cut the fat" is often better politics than policy, as lawmakers pushing to consolidate school districts may learn. The idea calls for absorbing smaller districts into larger ones to reduce overhead costs and fund better student performance. But consolidation fails on both fronts.

A Foreclosure Hurdle for the Capital

Most financial reforms have focused on reining in Wall Street. But a new study by the American Sociological Review highlights what could be a more important regulatory target: civil rights.

Education Reform and Accountability in Florida

It's the watchword of the Obama administration's multibillion-dollar push for education reform. But "accountability," the practice of tracking school performance, isn't always a force for good. It has been linked to a host of unsavory behaviors, including cheating on official exams and suspending poor students on test day. Now, according to a new study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, there's an additional concern: teachers quitting.

Study: Mom-and-Pops a Drain on the Economy

New businesses are often tiny, of course, at least at first. But the distinction between them and small, mature firms is hardly semantic, says economist John Haltiwanger, who coauthored the study. His research suggests that the policy focus should skew young, nurturing the next big firms—which actually employ the most people—rather than tending an old crop of small ones.

Crowd Sourcing Loses Steam

There's no shortage of theories on why Wikipedia has stalled. One holds that the site is virtually complete. Another suggests that aggressive editors and a tangle of anti-vandalism rules have scared off casual users. But such explanations overlook a far deeper and enduring truth about human nature.

Feds Losing Fight Against Artifact Theft

Artifact theft is usually associated with developing or war-torn countries (think Iraq after the U.S. invasion). But in recent years America's own ancient sites have become a target, with looters pilfering Native American bones, jewelry, and even pictographs hacked out of cave walls, and selling them in thriving online markets.

What, You Worry?

It's conventional wisdom that anti-Washington sentiment threatens to scramble the midterm elections. But which incumbents should be most worried? And what, if any, hope is there for Democrats anyhow?

New Rules for Campaigns' Use of Social Media

Ahead of the midterms, four local election commissions are considering crackdowns—the first of their kind—on how candidates and their campaigns handle online advertising and social-media sites.

School 'Zero-Tolerance' Policies Don't Work

In New York, many nonviolent incidents have landed kids in court. Last year, the state sent over 1,400 to correctional facilities, which recent reports suggest don't help.

'English-Only' Measures More and More Popular

Immigration reform has receded—at least temporarily—in Washington. But a historically fraught question is primed to return when legislators again pick up the matter: should English be America's official language?

The Eastern Stars: How Baseball Changed the Dominican Town of San Pedro

To tell the story of how America's game gained Dominican flavor, Mark Kurlansky focuses on a single town: San Pedro de Macorís—the birthplace of All-Stars like Robinson Cano, Sammy Sosa, and Alfonso Soriano, and the home of more major leaguers per capita than anywhere in the world. More than one in four major leaguers are Latin-born (up from zero a half century ago), and no country has contributed a greater share of the talent than the Dominican Republic.

New York: When Nurses Strike, People Die

The nation's nursing shortage is sure to be exacerbated soon by an uptick in stitches and surgeries that, prior to health-care reform, many Americans likely would have gone without.

Claims of Resegregation in North Carolina

As education secretary Arne Duncan begins his review of equality in the nation's schools—he recently called it the "civil-rights issue of our generation"—he may want to take a close look at North Carolina.

Why Immigration Helps Wages in California

As the white house revives immigration reform—an issue the president is discussing with congressional leaders—it may want to ponder the effects of curbing foreign labor.

Tennessee: Retired Nukes Get a New Life

President Obama has called for a world without nuclear weapons. As he prepares to whittle down America's arsenal, however, a crucial question remains: what to do with the bomb material?

Texas: Promise in Paying for Grades

As President Obama looks to overhaul education policy, he might consider a simple fix: paying students for grades. Backed by private donors, hundreds of schools nationwide have tried a pay-for--performance approach in the last decade.