Maddie Oatman

Maddie Oatman

Research Editor

Maddie worked as a travel guide in Argentina and a teacher at several educational nonprofits in San Francisco before joining Mother Jones. She’s also written for Outside, the Bay Citizen, and the Rumpus. A proud Boulder native, she makes time for mountain climbing, stargazing, and telemark skiing.

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Revenge of the Predatory Tax Preparers

| Thu Apr. 14, 2011 11:00 AM EDT

 In "Secrets of the Tax Prep Business," Gary Rivlin investigates one of the tax industry's most exploitative services: the refund anticipation loan. Rivlin explains how RALs—short-term, high-interest loans backed by a customer's pending tax refund—are largely responsible for the rapid proliferation of tax-prep chains throughout working-class America. By disguising the high-priced loans as instant refunds, the tax mills bring in hordes of low-income clients who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Thus the preparers' huge profits come at the expense of what Rivlin calls "arguably the nation's most effective anti-poverty program." IRS data (PDF) reveals that nearly two-thirds of RAL recipients received the EITC in 2009, compared with just 17 percent of taxpayers overall.

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The Uterus Monologues: Limericks From Our Readers

| Fri Apr. 8, 2011 6:01 AM EDT

A week ago, the Florida GOP scolded Rep. Scott Randolph (D-Orlando) when he used the word "uterus" on the statehouse floor. We at Mother Jones couldn't figure out what was wrong with the word, and why it wasn't deemed worthy for public. So Jen Phillips penned a limerick in response, calling on readers to post their own reactions to the Florida GOP's buffoonery. Here are some of our favorites:

 

 

From Active Peacemaker:

A Florida Rep. shouted with rage,
"We can't use those words near a page.
I'm convinced by my work
We were brought by the Stork!"
Now please put that Rep. back in his cage. 

 deanz:

There once was a party so grand
It thought it would give God a hand
By helping her tutor us
on words hardly new to us
but soon She'll be having *them* banned

 To Womb it May Concern:

The word uterus is naughty, you see
Not for use in polite company
They've deprived half the nation
Of sex education
Now it burns whene'er they GO P.

While demagogues Stately and Clerical,
encourage their gals to get spherical
they won't lessen its stature
with crass nomenclature
to use Uterus makes them hysterical.

Amy Sharp

So they think that uterus is offensive...
it is time to get down down off the fences
to hold hands and skip
to the beat of something hip
and get the country back to its sense

Valerie Hope Starr

I'd quiver to think what they'd to us
dare we mention that naughty word uterus
we can pillage, rape, maim but not mention that name
of the place whence we came fore you knew of us

Jim Bazen

Some words are a source of dissension.
They require a thorough preemption.
Now the Reps are all riled
'bout the fetus who filed
A uterine homestead exemption.

Brenda Cummings

The Republicans don't like my uterus.
Revelations like these aren't new to us.
They don't care for humanity,
They've lost their sanity—
We ALL came from one—unum e pluribus?

Thepink Pantsuit

To reject a word such as uterus
I find nothing short of ludicrous
Does not the blessing of birth
Define a woman's self-worth
What more can the GOP to do us?

Geographer's Danceable Dreamscape

| Mon Mar. 21, 2011 6:30 AM EDT

"What a cartographer does mapping out a place is what a musician does mapping out an emotion," says Mike Deni, singer of San Francisco-based indie band Geographer. "When someone finds a new territory, they distill it into something transferable, something that people can understand, like a map. But that inevitably changes it, and there are good and bad things to that. That's what the name Geographer is about; that process."

The band—comprised of Deni, who also plays synths and guitar, cellist Nathan Blaz, and drummer Brian Ostreicher—has charted a steady course in the Bay Area music scene by bridging the gap between the often-impersonal space of electronica and the lush realm of emotionally charged melodies. By layering Deni's mesmerizing falsetto over springy synths, pulsing drums, and the pull of an electric cello, Geographer produces hypnotic dance numbers that prove quite addictive. Since being named one of three "Undiscovered Bands You Need to Hear Now!" by Spin in 2008, Geographer has been gaining traction; its last show—during the Noise Pop Music Festival—sold out quickly.

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