Ben Dreyfuss

Ben Dreyfuss

Engagement Editor

Ben Dreyfuss is the engagement editor at Mother Jones.

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No, the "Blood Moon" Does Not Mean the World Is Ending

| Mon Apr. 14, 2014 1:46 PM PDT

Why is this night different from all other nights? Tonight the clouds will part, the heavens will open, the stars will shine, and the moon will bleed. Groovy! The blood moon, a deliciously named full lunar eclipse rendering the moon red, will be visible in the skies above North America around 2 a.m. Eastern time.

In the olden days the sudden appearance of a big red bloody moon probably sent people into a panic. Terrified, they probably ran around screaming, "Help me! Help me! My God, the moon has turned red! The moon has turned red! We're all going to die!" But then the moon would turn back to normal and they'd still be alive and probably a bit ashamed that they'd lost their heads and they'd warn their kids, "Look, kids, one day the moon might turn red for a little while, but don't worry. It's just a thing. Why does it happen? I don't know. Why does anything happen in this crazy world of ours! But if it does turn red, it'll be fine. Don't run around screaming. You'll feel very silly in the morning."

Nowadays, we have computers and microwaves and iPhones and telescopes and we're all very bright and evolved and we all watch Cosmos and the moon turning red is no big cause for alarm and…wait a second, what's that?

John Hagee, a best-selling author and evangelist who once claimed that Hurricane Katrina was God's way of punishing New Orleans for allowing LGBT parades, says that this is the dawning of the end of days. "God is literally screaming at the world: 'I'm coming soon.'" This is literally not true.

The mega-church founder does not believe that the world is ending just because the moon is turning red. The moon turns red all the time. The last total lunar eclipse was was in December 2011. What makes this blood moon slightly more notable than your average run of the mill blood moon is that it is the first of a tetrad, a series of four lunar eclipses that will happen about six months apart. The next one is set for October 8. These are sort of uncommon insofar as the last one was in 1967, but not that uncommon when you really think about the vastness of time, history, and space. But 1967 was also the year of the Six-Day War, Hagee would point out, and this blood moon is falling on the first night of Passover and even the most critical skeptic would have to admit that that coincidence is…well, utterly meaningless. As even the Young Earth Creationists at Answers in Genesis explain, "The timing of the eclipses…while interesting, falls far short of the sort of signs that will cause the heavens to shake (Matthew 24:29)."

The End Times are not here. Sorry. Don't forget to file your taxes. 

UPDATE: Should the clouds fail to part, you will be able to see the blood moon here:

UPDATE 2, April 15, 2014, 2:25am ET: This moon sure is taking its sweet time turning red, isn't it? While we wait, here's the music video for the Mando Diao song "Mr. Moon."

 

 

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A Heckler Threw a Shoe At Hillary Clinton. She Dodged It. Here's the Video.

| Thu Apr. 10, 2014 4:30 PM PDT

On Thursday, Hillary Clinton gave a speech before a meeting of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada. Just after taking the stage, an as-yet unnamed woman rose from the crowd and threw something at her. Thankfully, Clinton was unharmed, ducking and joking, "Was that a bat?...Is that somebody throwing something at me? Is that part of Cirque de Soleil? My goodness, I didn't know that solid waste management was so controversial. Thank goodness she didn't play softball like I did."

Here is a video, courtesy of ABC:

The would-be assailant was taken into custody and is said to have later revealed that the item in question was a shoe, naturally.

Clinton and Bush: Just more of the same.

(Don't throw shoes at people.)

Watch Elizabeth Warren Go After Paul Ryan for Blaming Unemployment on the Unemployed

| Tue Apr. 8, 2014 2:03 PM PDT

Last month, Paul Ryan generated a minor media storm for a racially tinged comment lamenting the supposedly weak "culture of work" among "inner city" men. "We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work," Ryan told conservative radio host Bill Bennett. "There is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with." Ryan later said that he had been "inarticulate" and forswore any racial meaning in his comments. He was, he promised, referring to our entire culture; not "the culture of one community."

Now, you either buy that or you don't. If you don't think there is something racially loaded about decrying the lack of work ethic among inner city men, then I'm probably not going to be able to convince you that there is. (But there probably is.)

Either way, Ryan's defense could be interpreted as amounting largely to, I was not saying black people are lazy. I was saying poor people are lazy. This is a myth about poverty. It is not true. (Really.)

Enter Elizabeth Warren. "Paul Ryan looks around, sees three unemployed workers for every job opening in America, and blames the people who can't find a job," the senior Senator from Massachusetts said in a speech at the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor’s Humphrey-Mondale Dinner on March 29th.

Paul Ryan says don’t blame Wall Street: the guys who made billions of dollars cheating American families. Don’t blame decades of deregulation that took the cops off the beat while the big banks looted the American economy. Don’t blame the Republican Secretary of the Treasury, and the Republican president who set in motion a no-strings-attached bailout for the biggest banks – Nope. Paul Ryan says keep the monies flowing to the powerful corporations, keep their huge tax breaks, keep the special deals for the too-big-to-fail banks and put the blame on hardworking, play-by-the-rules Americans who lost their jobs. That may be Paul Ryan’s vision of how America works, but that is not our vision of this great country.

Warren is an increasingly popular figure and is set to play a large role in the Democratic fight to maintain control of the Senate in November.

Here's the whole speech:

(via The Huffington Post)

Here Is a Video of 25-Year-Old Jon Hamm Being Super Awkward on a Dating Show

| Fri Apr. 4, 2014 12:47 PM PDT

So, you're walking down a street and you see a sign or a building or a landmark and it triggers some long forgotten memory from your past and you're swept up in it and a wistful smile crawls across your face and you look up to the sky and put your hands on your hips and then you look down to the ground, then finally straight ahead, and you chuckle and my God, you were so young and stupid—but wasn't it good to be young?—but then you stop chuckling because you think about the memory more and you remember it in detail and my God, what were you doing, did you really act like that, did you really say that, my God, did you really look like that, and boom boom boom is the sound of your heart pounding and your anxiety is rising and you recall vividly that you didn't think you looked ridiculous when you were on this street corner when you were young and now you worry all of a sudden that you actually thought at that time—gasp!—that you were cool and fun and neat and attractive, and people liked you, you thought, but they couldn't have liked this person you're remembering because this person you're remembering, young you, is objectively humiliating, and now you begin doubting everything—is north north?—but especially yourself, that is what you doubt the most, because if you thought you were cool then and you were wrong, maybe you're wrong about thinking you're cool now, and maybe it's all a lie, everything you tell yourself about yourself, maybe you're not really very cool, maybe you're not really very happy, maybe you'll never be very cool, maybe you'll never be very happy, maybe your hands still sweat, and your lip still quivers, and your hair still looks all a mess, and oh God, dear God, blessed God, it's true, you think: you're still the same silly shamefully awkward 25-year-old you never wanted to be in the first place.

Don't worry. Jon Hamm was a super awkward 25-year-old as well and look at him! You're probably cool now, too.

(via Slate)

George W. Bush Is a Far Better Painter Than He Was a President. Here's His Portrait of Vladimir Putin.

| Fri Apr. 4, 2014 7:59 AM PDT

On Friday, NBC aired an interview with former president and aspiring painter George W. Bush. The president—talking to his daughter Jenna Bush Hager on Today—unveiled 24 portraits of world leaders.

It was only a little over a year ago that we learned of Bush's second act painting passion. Some people hate the paintings. Some people love them. Some people don't spend that much time thinking about them. Still others can't consider them without remembering that, you know, he was an awful president. I, for one, consider George W. Bush's public painting career to be endearing. He's not the best painter in the whole wide world, but he's not the worst. There's some skill on display, which is more than could be said for much of his presidency. Do I want to hang them in my house and look at them everyday? Of course not. But I've seen worse paintings. More than that, I've seen worse paintings painted by actual professional painters.  I'm no expert, but Bush's Putin looks pretty not-the-worst-thing-in-the-world to me.

NBC

The Tony Blair painting on the other hand is a little splotchy, but nobody can be perfect all the time.

NBC

4,486 American servicemen and women, and more than 100,00 Iraqis lost their lives as a consequence of the war in Iraq. Here is a clip of the president who led us into that war talking about his painting career with his daughter on NBC.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

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