Blogs

Upbeat and High Lonesome With Teddy Thompson and Kelly Jones

| Mon Apr. 11, 2016 6:00 AM EDT

Teddy Thompson & Kelly Jones
Little Windows
Cooking Vinyl

Missing Piece Group

George and Tammy…Porter and Dolly…Teddy and Kelly? Teddy Thompson (son of Richard and Linda) and Kelly Jones have a ways to go before they're recognized as the next great male-female duo, but this winning twosome is off to a fine start with Little Windows. Blending their plaintive voices in seamless, high-lonesome harmonies that would do the Everly Brothers proud, they explore love's many complications in memorable country-pop tunes both jaunty ("Wondering") and mournful ("I Thought That We Said Goodbye"). Long on atmosphere and short on pandering nostalgia, despite an old-school vibe, songs like the dreamy 3:00 a.m. ballad "Don't Remind Me" would inspire goosebumps in any era. Here's to a long partnership!
 

 

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Friday Fundraising and Catblogging - 8 April 2016

| Fri Apr. 8, 2016 3:05 PM EDT

April is an important fundraising month here at Mother Jones, and my colleague David Corn—you may remember him as the guy responsible for Valerie Plame and Mitt Romney's 47 percent snafu—wrote a pitch called "Trump, the Media, and You," explaining how our model of reader-supported journalism allows MoJo to report on substantive issues (like actual policy proposals and digging into candidates' pasts!) that are largely missing from this year's election coverage. Here's David:

IN A WORLD OF RATINGS AND CLICKS, financially pressed media outlets frequently zero in on the shining objects of the here and now. Merely covering Trump's outrageous remarks—did you see his latest tweet?!—has become its own beat. Even the best reporting that does happen can become lost in the never-ending flood of blogs, tweets, Facebook posts, and stories that appear in increasingly shorter news cycles.

At Mother Jones, we try each day to sort out what to cover—and where to concentrate our reporting in order to make a difference. Yes, we need to follow the daily twists and turns. But we recognize it's important for journalists to get off the spinning hamster wheel and dig where others do not.

Donate Now

Hmmm. It kinda sounds like I'm MoJo's resident hamster. It's a tough job, but I guess someone has to do it. After all, with me on the hamster wheel, David and the rest of our reporters can focus their work on the in-depth, investigative journalism that might not make us rich in advertising dollars, but that voters and our democratic process desperately need.

If you’re reading this, I’d bet that you like both—coverage of the circus, and smart, probing journalism. They both matter. If you agree, I hope you’ll pitch in a couple bucks during our fundraising drive—and since we’re a nonprofit, your contributions are tax-deductible. You can give by credit card, or PayPal.

Still, hamster though I may be, we all know that Friday afternoon is reserved for cats. And I know what you're thinking: That pod I bought last week looks lovely and comfy, but it only has room for one cat. What's up with that?

Pshaw. There is always room for another cat. It's the magic of cat physics, far more astounding than black holes or quantum mechanics. No matter how many cats you have, somehow you can always squeeze in one more.

Paul Krugman Is Annoying

| Fri Apr. 8, 2016 2:40 PM EDT

Paul Krugman doesn't think much of Bernie Sanders. Krugman being Krugman, that means he's been flooding the zone with anti-Bernie columns and blog posts. This hasn't gone over well with many of his erstwhile fans:

Greg Sargent gets this right. These days, nobody is allowed to be anti-Bernie or anti-Hillary simply because they disagree with them. There has to be some hidden, crypto-conservative agenda involved. In reality, though, this is just Krugman being his usual self. It's what he does. Lefties are now learning why conservatives find him so annoying.

Benghazi Committee Passes 700-Day Milestone

| Fri Apr. 8, 2016 1:01 PM EDT

House Democrats pointed out today that the Select Committee on Benghazi has now been cranking along for 700 days. Steve Benen comments:

To put this in context, the 9/11 Commission, investigating every possible angle to the worst terrorist attack in the history of the country, worked for 604 days and created a bipartisan report endorsed by each of the commission’s members....Rep. Trey Gowdy’s (R-S.C.) Benghazi panel has also lasted longer than the investigations into the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, the attack on Pearl Harbor, the assassination of President Kennedy, the Iran-Contra scandal, Church Committee, and the Watergate probe.

What Steve fails to acknowledge, of course, is that Benghazi is far more important than any of these other events. So naturally it's going to take longer. I'm guessing that 914 days should just about do the trick.

Bernie Sanders Has Really Pissed Off Margaret Archer

| Fri Apr. 8, 2016 12:14 PM EDT

Bernie Sanders is headed to the Vatican:

Whether or not the pope shares the Vermont senator's enthusiasm for Eugene Debs, he's "feeling the Bern" enough to have invited the Jewish presidential candidate to speak at the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, during a conference on social, economic, and environmental issues. Sanders will head to Rome immediately after the April 14 Democratic debate in Brooklyn.

But apparently the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences is decidedly not feeling the Bern:

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders reached out to obtain his invitation to the Vatican and showed "monumental discourtesy" in the process, a senior Vatican official said.

"Sanders made the first move, for the obvious reasons," Margaret Archer, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, which is hosting the conference Sanders will attend, said in a telephone interview. "I think in a sense he may be going for the Catholic vote but this is not the Catholic vote and he should remember that and act accordingly—not that he will."

Huh. I wonder what Bernie did to piss off Margaret Archer? Maybe it has something to do with his views on conflation:

Margaret Archer argues that much social theory suffers from the generic defect of conflation where, due to a reluctance or inability to theorize emergent relationships between social phenomena, causal autonomy is denied to one side of the relation. This can take the form of autonomy being denied to agency with causal efficacy only granted to structure (downwards conflation). Alternatively it can take the form of autonomy being denied to structure with causal efficacy only granted to agency (upwards conflation).

…In contradistinction Archer offers the approach of analytical dualism. While recognizing the interdependence of structure and agency (i.e. without people there would be no structures) she argues that they operate on different timescales. At any particular moment, antecedently existing structures constrain and enable agents, whose interactions produce intended and unintended consequences, which leads to structural elaboration and the [etc. etc.]

Does that help? No? Sorry about that. I guess someone will have to ask Archer just what Bernie did that was so monumentally discourteous. Was it merely asking for an invitation in the first place? Is it the fact that Bernie is pro-choice? Or something more? We need someone to dig into the Vatican gossip machine and let us know.

UPDATE: Apparently this is all part of some vicious infighting among the Vatican's social scientists:

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was invited to speak at an April 15 Vatican event by the Vatican, a senior papal official said on Friday....He said it was his idea to invite Sanders.

A Bloomberg report quoted Margaret Archer, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, as saying that Sanders had broken with protocol by failing to contact her office first. "This is not true and she knows it. I invited him with her consensus," said [Monsignor Marcelo Sanchez] Sorondo, who is senior to Archer.

An invitation to Sanders dated March 30, which was emailed to Reuters, was signed by Sorondo and also included Archer's name.

Well then.

It's Been Quiet Lately. Maybe a Little Too Quiet...

| Fri Apr. 8, 2016 11:53 AM EDT

Didn't there used to be some guy named Donald Trump running for president? Whatever happened to him? It seems like days since I've heard a desperate cry for attention from the campaign trail.

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CEO Pay Down in 2015, But Still Higher Than Its Bubble Heights

| Fri Apr. 8, 2016 11:28 AM EDT

Sad news today from the Wall Street Journal. Among CEOs of big companies, stock-based pay was up 7 percent last year and cash pay was up 2 percent. But thanks to slower growth of CEO pensions, overall compensation was down 4 percent.

But perhaps CEOs will be mollified by the broader picture, which you can see in the chart on the right. CEO pay is up about 44 percent since 2007 in nominal terms, and up about 38 percent when you account for inflation. For ordinary workers, pay has decreased 5 percent since 2007 when you account for inflation.

For anyone wondering why Bernie Sanders has struck such a chord with the electorate, this pretty much tells the story. The Great Recession sure didn't affect everyone equally, did it? Ordinary schlubs paid a high price, but the folks with the most lavish pay to begin with just shrugged it off like it never happened. If the rich wonder why calls to tax high incomes at 90 percent sound pretty good to a lot of people, this should clue them in.

Lackland Air Force Shooting Leaves At Least Two Dead

| Fri Apr. 8, 2016 10:58 AM EDT

At least two people are dead following a shooting at Texas' Lackland Air Force Base on Friday morning that is being investigated as an apparent murder-suicide. Authorities say the shooting occurred at around 8:40 a.m. local time. 

"We do feel like the situation is contained and everything is OK at this point," James Keith, a spokesman for the sheriff's office said. The area is no longer on lockdown.

This is a breaking news event. We will update when more information becomes available.

Bernie Sanders to Speak at Vatican City About Social Justice

| Fri Apr. 8, 2016 8:16 AM EDT

Sen. Bernie Sanders has accepted an invitation to speak at the Vatican for a conference on social justice next week. The April 15 event, which will be hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, is scheduled to cover a number of the Democratic presidential hopeful's signature campaign issues, including income inequality and the environment.

Sanders' appearance at Vatican City will come just days before the New York primary on April 19.

"I am delighted to have been invited by the Vatican to a meeting on restoring social justice and environmental sustainability to the world economy," Sanders announced in a statement on Friday.

"Pope Francis has made clear that we must overcome 'the globalization of indifference' in order to reduce economic inequalities, stop financial corruption, and protect the natural environment. That is our challenge in the United States and in the world."

What the Lunch Ladies Didn't Tell You

| Fri Apr. 8, 2016 6:00 AM EDT

We're excited to present another episode of Bite, our new food politics podcast. Listen to all of our episodes here, or by subscribing in iTunes, Stitcher, or via RSS.

Cast your mind back to your high school cafeteria, and recall that feeling of having a tray full of tater tots, grayish Salisbury steak, and lime Jello and trying to find a friendly place to sit. Excruciating, right?

Two words: Cow tongue.

Impressive, then, that our guest on this week's episode of our podcast Bite voluntarily spends a whole lot of time thinking about that lovely place. Bettina Elias Siegel is the writer behind the popular blog The Lunch Tray, which is all about the fascinating politics behind what kids eat. Siegel schools us on how mandatory cookies at her kids' cafeteria inspired her to start blogging, and she tells us about the weight-loss video that McDonald's made for schools and the truth about those too-perfect photos of what schools in other countries serve for lunch.

 

But that's not all the lunch fun in the episode! We asked you, our listeners, to share your cafeteria memories, and you guys delivered. I don't want to give too much away, but let me just say two words: Cow tongue.

And if school lunch isn't your thing, don't worry—you can still tune in to hear Tom Philpott wonder whether we've finally reached peak juice.