Ben Dreyfuss

Engagement Editor

Ben Dreyfuss is the engagement editor at Mother Jones. He's done some other stuff, too. You can email him at But you don't have to. But you can. But you really don't have to. 

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A Republican Senator Just Sent Out a Tweet So Stupid Our Children Will Learn About It in Stories

Sen. John Thune tries to call out President Obama, fails.

| Mon Jun. 8, 2015 5:26 PM EDT

Sen. John Thune (R-World Of Pure Imagination) sent out this tweet today in reference to the King v. Burwell lawsuit that's about to be decided by the Supreme Court.

Not unlike the challenge to Obamacare it is referencing, the tweet is deeply stupid.

The health care subsidies those 6 million people could lose are a part of the Affordable Care Act. Conservative enemies of Obamacare are the only reason those subsidies are at risk.

Words! Meaning! John Thune likes putting the former in combinations that are completely devoid of the latter.


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America Uses Fahrenheit. The Rest of the World Uses Celsius. America Is Right. The Rest of the World Is Wrong.

Real talk.

| Sun Jun. 7, 2015 12:24 PM EDT

Vox has a post up called "Why Americans still use Fahrenheit long after everyone else switched to Celsius." In it Zack Beauchamp sides with the standard line that America should jump on the Celsius train and leave Troglodyte Station.

The bizarre measurements commonly used in the US, including Fahrenheit, are bad for its scientific establishment, its kids, and probably its businesses.

Susannah Locke lays out the case for Celsius and the rest of the metric system very persuasively, but here's a brief recap. The simpler metric scales make basic calculations easier and thus less error-prone. American companies incur extra costs by producing two sets of products, one for the US and one for the metric using world.

American parents and caregivers are more likely to screw up conversion rates when they give out medicine, sending some children, who are more susceptible to overdoses, to the hospital. Further, American students have to be trained on two sets of measurements, making basic science education even more difficult.

Going back to Jefferson there have been many movements to get the US to metricate. Lincoln Chaffee wants to get the US to adopt the metric system, too.

But I am a red-blooded American boy who likes listening to Tom Petty and riding motorcycles and wearing blue jeans and using Fahrenheit so Vox's post made me think of this great chart from the wonderful site isomorphismes which explains why our temperature measurement system is the best temperature measurement system.

"Fahrenheit uses its digits more efficiently than Centigrade" isomorphism


Sarah Palin Defends Josh Duggar By Attacking Lena Dunham Because Of Course


| Fri Jun. 5, 2015 10:16 AM EDT

Via Mic, here is a bunch of word salad from a lunatic:



Posted by Sarah Palin on Thursday, June 4, 2015


If You Find a Cute Baby Animal In the Wild…

Stories can have multiple victims!

| Thu Jun. 4, 2015 10:43 PM EDT

don't fucking tell anyone.

(Go read that link then come back.)

Here is a true story:

We were in the Galapagos once and my sister and I are sitting on this beach and we're kids (9-10) and there's this baby seal and it is adorable and it flops over to us and it's arping and the whole scene is moving and precious and if this seal could have solved crimes you'd have never heard of Flipper. We're feeding this majestic creature and it's loving us and we're loving it and everything is good and gay and merry and then our guide comes running over, screaming, "don't touch it! Oh dammit. Well, in the future don't touch baby animals."

"Why, Mr. Tour Guide?"

"Oh it's going to die now. You've killed this seal." (He maybe didn't tell us we'd killed it but it was the sentiment and it's what I've told therapists for decades!)


"You see how the rest of the seals left and went into the sea? That was its family. They abandoned it because you touched it. It'll starve to death now. This seal is as good as dead."

And we're crying!

Tears! Sobbing!

"It doesn't have to die," I shout.

"He can come live with us," my sister swears.

"No, it's walking dead."

And we run across the island and find our dad and tell him this tale of murderous woe.

"Poppa, poppa! This tour guide wants us to kill this fucking seal!" (We maybe didn't say fucking, but we would have if we had been older. This dialogue is not verbatim but there's an essential truth to it.)

"I don't want them to kill the seal! They've killed the seal!"

"He said the seal is going to be alone and starve and die because we loved it and gave it cheetohs."

"We can't abandon it the way you and mom abandoned our family when you got a divorce a few years ago." (This too perhaps was not actually said but I'm reading between the lines now.)

"Look, kids, I'm sorry, but the guide says what the guide says."

"It can come live with us!"


"At mom's house!"

"I'm sure her new boyfriend would let us."


"Dad, like why else have a pool if you can't save a seal??"

"It can't live in your mom's pool."

"WHY?" we scream hysterically.


"Because why, daddy?"

"Because…well, your mom lives in Idaho." He wipes a tear from my eye. "And it's an outdoor pool."

UPDATE, Friday, June 5, 11:45 EDT: My sister Emily just sent me her version of the events surrounding the seal murder.

It's actually sadder than you wrote it! The guide was with us on the beach while we were petting the seal, and he said nothing. He just took pictures and laughed, and it wasn’t until we were leaving in the boat to go back to the ship and we saw the seal alone on the beach that he casually mentioned that it was going to die now—because it had touched us, and because it was an orphan and it’s only hope of surviving was to convince a mother seal to adopt it. But that wouldn’t happen now. The seal had thought we could adopt it, because it was a dumb baby and didn’t realize we were humans. The pool conversation did happen though. It was just in the boat. We were crying and looking at the baby seal on the beach as it got smaller and smaller, and we were saying to the captain, “Go back! We have to go back! We can’t just leave him! We'll bring him home!"

Lesson #1: Don't touch baby animals in the wild.

Lesson #2: Don't tell kids they killed a baby seal because they'll be screwed up for the rest of their lives.

Don't Drink Wine

You want to argue about wine? Screw it. Let's argue about wine.

| Thu Jun. 4, 2015 7:26 PM EDT

Wine. Lol.


Let's back up a second. A few weeks ago, Vox, a site mostly known for making wishes that never come true, made some video about wine. We blogged about that video. Yesterday, Jezebel's Sarah Miller published a response to our blog post:

While Mother Jones certainly has the right to get out from under their image as the resting place of old potatoes on your weirdest uncle’s kitchen table, it is interesting to see that one of the ways they’re moving toward A New Tomorrow is by aggregating a video called EXPENSIVE WINE IS FOR SUCKERS put together by the visionaries at Vox.

Mother Jones’ populist headline for their “take” is Your snobby wine friends are full of shit. Because I myself am snobby wine friend to many, I was utterly unsurprised when both the Mother Jones article and its oddly youthful parent—a video in which 19 Vox staffers try an expensive Cabernet Sauvignon, a mid-priced Cabernet Sauvignon and a cheap Cabernet Savignon, and prefer the cheap wine by about half—piled up in my inbox over the weekend.

So, this is not my response to Jezebel's response to our blog post about Vox's wine video. This is a wakeup call to all wine drinkers.


Wine is a joke. Whether it's in a bottle, a box, or a boot, it's a stupid drink. Since time immemorial people have consumed wine, but for most of that time people were backwards and lived in fields and didn't know anything. Now we live in the 21st century and drink wine? Lol.

It doesn't even taste good! It tastes ok sometimes, but it's really sugary! It gives you terrible hangovers! It doesn't get you drunk! It ruins your teeth! You know who drinks wine? Europeans.

Americans who drink wine do so because they think they are living in a BBC adaptation of a Jane Austen novel. It feels rich and smart to have thoughts about wine and to order fancy, expensive bottles of wine. You are not smart. You are not fancy. You are not rich—or at least you won't be if you keep pissing your money away on wine.

You drink alcohol because your life is hard and you need a respite from the pain. You drink wine because you have been tricked by society into thinking it is a shibboleth of class and taste.

Bullshit. Society has lied to you. Wine is for suckers.

Fuck wine.

Don't drink beer, either. Beer is stupid.

NEWS FLASH, wino: You are screwed in the head. You need your medicine. Wine is a weak dose of your medicine. You need the good stuff.

Liquor. Hard liquor.


Booze is cool. Booze is effective. There are many different types of boozes. Drink whiskey. Whiskey is the best booze. You probably don't even like the taste of whiskey. But you can get there. You can learn to love it.

Whiskey burns. You'll come to love that burn because that burn will be painful and that pain will be like going home.

Wine is for dilettantes. Are you a dilettante? Maybe you are. If you are, drink your wine, dilettante.

This concludes my wakeup call to all wine drinkers, which was, again, not a response to Jezebel's response to our blog post about Vox's wine video.

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