For years, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy trained public policy experts on a theory of why some common sense solutions were not adopted by politicians.

The theory is called the "Overton Window," named after then Mackinac Center Vice President Joe Overton, who died in a plane crash in 2003.

Overton stated that only a relatively narrow window of options are considered politically accepted by politicians looking to get re-elected. The window is defined not by what the politicians would prefer, but instead by what will win them re-election.

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Fox News commentator Glenn Beck has written a soon-to-be released novel called "The Overton Window."

In preparation for its debut in popular culture, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy is using the Internet to educate people about the theory that caught Beck's fancy.

The Mackinac Center has recently created a Facebook page and up a web page giving some details on the Overton Window.

"Our Overton Window page explains the origins and applications of the theory for the millions of Americans who are about to be exposed to it for the first time," said Michael Jahr, the Mackinac Center's director of communications in an e-mail. "Overton would be delighted to know that his insight into the importance of ideas is about to gain national — probably international — prominence."

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Detroit Prep is a top-rated and economically and racially diverse charter school in the city. It's growth means it needs to move out from a church basement and into a new location. Nearby is a former Detroit Public Schools building, sitting empty for years. But, worried about competition, the public school district refused to sell. For years, district and local government officials in Detroit had worked to block public charter schools. They pushed legislation at the Michigan Capitol to hinder them, refused to sell to them, transferred surplus buildings from the district to the city government and imposed deed restrictions on property sales to private developers. All of it was aimed to hinder or even prevent charter school choice outside the confines of the Detroit school district.

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