Before joining Mother Jones, Matt was a local reporter for the dearly departed Washington Examiner. He has also written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Chicago Public Radio, and the Times of Trenton.
As more and more people have called for Washington's pro football team to change its name, some folks have argued that the only way to get owner Dan Snyder to listen is to go after his wallet. That's right: Boycott the team or, failing that, target its corporate sponsors.
On its official website, the team displays five of its largest partners: Ticketmaster, FedEx Express, Bud Light, Ameritel Corporation, and Bank of America. Mother Jones reached out to each of these sponsors, as well as a few others, to see if they had any comment on the campaign to push Snyder to drop the R-word—and whether they had considered dropping their sponsorship because of the controversy. Here's what their spokespeople had to say:
Coca-Cola: "As sponsors, we do not play a role in decisions regarding NFL trademarks. Your questions can be better addressed by the team and the NFL."
FedEx: "We understand that there is a difference of opinion on this issue. Nevertheless, we believe that our sponsorship of FedEx Field continues to be in the best interests of FedEx and its stockholders."
New York Life: "The company has received no complaints. The company plans to assess the sponsorship at the conclusion of the season."
Virginia Lottery: "We have not received complaints regarding the Redskins sponsorship and we are not considering dropping it."
Ticketmaster: "We are declining to comment, but perhaps their sponsor StubHub would have something to say about this. StubHub is located right there in San Francisco."
Thanks for the suggestion, Ticketmaster PR! Unfortunately, StubHub—like Ameritel, Anheuser-Busch, and Bank of America—did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
Creigh Deeds concludes his 2009 run for governor while his son looks on.
Update (11/20/13): Despite initial reports that there were no hospital beds available for Austin Deeds, the Washington Post reported that at least three facilities did have room. This post has been updated to reflect this.
Austin "Gus" Deeds underwent a psychiatric evaluation Monday at the Rockbridge County Community Services Board in Virginia. While at least three hospitals had beds available, hospital officials told the Washington Post, Deeds was still turned away.
The next day he likely stabbed his father, Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-Va.), in the face and chest before shooting himself, police said. The elder Deeds is currently listed in good condition.
Between April 1, 2010 and March 31, 2011, about 200 people in Virginia met the criteria for a Temporary Detention Order—meaning a physician of clinical psychologist saw a substantial risk of them causing harm to themselves or to others, or that they was unable to defend themselves—but were put back on the streets, according to a report from the state Office of the Inspector General. The Commonwealth isn't the only state dealing with such problems. States cut $1.8 billion from their mental health budgets from 2009-2011, according to a 2012 report from National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Also see our state-by-state interactive map of cuts to services for the mentally ill.
In a Mother Jones cover story six months ago, Mac McClelland wrote the harrowing story of her cousin Houston, who murdered his father after "a classic onset of schizophrenia." When Houston's violent outbursts started, his parents were told that calling the police was their only option—even though the local cops had killed two mentally ill men in the past six years.
It's also part of a pattern of exchanging one kind of institution—state mental hospitals—for another: jails. "In the 1950s, more than a half million people lived in US mental institutions—1 in 300 Americans. By the late '70s, only 160,000 did, due to a concerted effort on the part of psychiatrists, philanthropists, and politicians to deinstitutionalize the mentally ill. Today there's one psychiatric bed per 7,100 Americans," Mac writes. But there's been a corresponding rise of incarcerated inmates who are mentally ill. Between 1998 and 2006, the number of mentally ill people incarcerated in federal, state, and local prisons and jails more than quadrupled to 1,264,300. Those numbers have only gone up in the face of cuts to mental health programs due to the recession and austerity programs. See our timeline on the politics of deinstitutionalization here.
Update (11/14/13): Cobb County announced this morning that it will be contributing $300 million—not $450 million, as was originally reported—to the new stadium plan. This post has been updated to reflect the new figures.
Baseball's Atlanta Braves are planning to move to suburban Cobb County, Georgia, leaving behind their within-city-limits home of 17 years. "The issue isn't the Turner Field we play in today, but instead whether or not the venue can remain viable for another 20 to 30 years," the team wrote on a website explaining the move, essentially conceding that the current stadium is fine—but that it might not be in 30 years.
Although the price has not yet been finalized, reports claim the new stadium will cost $672 million, with $300 million coming from Cobb County (motto: "Low on taxes, big on business"). This is the same Cobb County that faced an $86.4 million school budget shortfall this year, forcing employees to take furloughs. While local officials are hoping a new stadium will eventually pay for itself in local economic impact, such claims are often exaggerated. And a look at some recentstadiumboondoggles should be enough to give any municipality—or taxpayer—pause.
Here's what $300 million in stadium subsidies could mean to folks in Cobb County:
Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen has comeunderfireagain for making a bizarre claim in a column. His latest gaffe is bad—but is it the worst thing he's ever written? Let's count down Cohen's 10 worst moments from decades of column writing to see which one takes the crown.
1 (tied). From Tuesday morning: Richard Cohen thinks hating interracial marriage is normal.
Today's GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled — about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio's wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts — but not all — of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn't look like their country at all.
In the middle of an otherwise innocuous column about Chris Christie and the Republican presidential race for 2016, Cohen inexplicably seizes the opportunity to offend most Americans. If you're too busy cleaning vomit off your keyboard to finish the paragraph, he's saying that "people with conventional views" can't stomach the concept of interracial marriage. UPDATE: Cohen now claims that when he said "people with conventional views," he was "talking about tea party extremism. And it's clear." Right.
1 (tied). Richard Cohen goes to the movies, finds out slavery is wrong.
I sometimes think I have spent years unlearning what I learned earlier in my life…slavery was not a benign institution in which mostly benevolent whites owned innocent and grateful blacks. Slavery was a lifetime's condemnation to an often violent hell in which people were deprived of life, liberty and, too often, their own children.
About a week ago, Richard Cohen went to see 12 Years a Slave and came out surprised by the brutal depiction of slavery in America. He defended himself by saying that he learned slaves "were sort of content" and "slave owners were mostly nice people" in school. Cohen graduated high school in the class of '58. No, 1958.
1 (tied). Richard Cohen confronts rape culture (feat. Miley Cyrus).
So now back to Miley Cyrus and her twerking. I run the risk of old-fogeyness for suggesting the girl’s a tasteless twit — especially that bit with the foam finger. (Look it up, if you must.) But let me also suggest that acts such as hers not only objectify women but debase them. They encourage a teenage culture that has set the women's movement back on its heels.
Quick, who's to blame in the Steubenville rape scandal? (Take your time.) If you answered "Miley Cyrus," you're probably Richard Cohen. In a September column, Cohen expressed horror at the inhumanity of the Steubenville case, then bravely called out the biggest culprit of all: Miley, who exploited sex and deprived it "of all intimacy." He also calls her a "twerk" for some reason.
1 (tied). Richard Cohen defends Clarence Thomas because boys will be boys.
Thomas stands nearly alone on the court in his shallowness of his scholarship and the narrowness of his compassion. But when it comes to his alleged sexual boorishness, he stands condemned of being a man.
In a 2010 column, Cohen dismissed any allegations of sexual misconduct that occurred during the 1980s, since that was "a bit before the modern era," and argued that Thomas' alleged actions—including asking a woman at work for her bra size and making other sexual comments—were just typical guy stuff. Cohen claimed that Anita Hill couldn't have been harassed, because "why did she follow her abuser, Thomas, from one job to the next?" But maybe that's unfair to Cohen. After all, it's not like he was ever accused of sexual harassment in the workplace.
1 (tied). Richard Cohen is accused of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Stand up and turn around.
According to a Washington Post staffer, Cohen said the above to 23-year-old editorial aide Devon Spurgeon. Staffers said he also told her she "looks good in black" and engaged her in an offensive discussion about oral sex following the Monica Lewinsky scandal. (Cohen denies the first comment and says the others were made innocently.) Spurgeon took a leave of absence, and Washington Post management found that Cohen committed "inappropriate behavior," but Cohen maintained, "it was a personality dispute [that] had nothing to do with sexual harassment as the term applies today." For further reading, see Cohen's creepy screed on how terrible it is that women in movies don't fall for men decades their elder as much as they used to.
1 (tied). Richard Cohen is afraid of young black men.
I don't like what George Zimmerman did, and I hate that Trayvon Martin is dead. But I also can understand why Zimmerman was suspicious and why he thought Martin was wearing a uniform we all recognize…The result was a quintessentially American tragedy — the death of a young man understandably suspected because he was black and tragically dead for the same reason.
In July, Cohen took on Trayvon Martin's death with his usual gravitas. He lamented that no politicians will "acknowledge the widespread fear of crime committed by young black males" and compared protesting stop and frisk laws to racism itself. "If I were a young black male and were stopped just on account of my appearance, I would feel violated," he conceded.
1 (tied). Richard Cohen has never not been afraid of young black men.
As for me, I'm with the store owners.
In 1986, Cohen wrote a column defending New York City jewelry store owners who refused to let young black men into their establishments for fear of crime. Post executive editor Ben Bradlee had to apologize for running the piece after readers protested, though Cohen was unperturbed enough to write the same thing in his Trayvon Martin column decades later. Presumably his opinion won't change until he sees a good movie about racial profiling in 150 years or so.
1 (tied). Richard Cohen defends child rapist.
There is no doubt that Polanski did what he did, which is have sex with a 13-year-old after plying her with booze. There is no doubt also that after all these years there is something stale about the case, not to mention a "victim," Samantha Geimer, who has long ago forgiven her assailant and dearly wishes the whole thing would go away. So do I.
In this 2010 column, Cohen thanked Switzerland for refusing to extradite Roman Polanski and "salute[s] his genius." He also put scare quotes around "victim," as if to express doubt that a 13-year-old girl who was drugged and raped multiple times could be anything but.
1 (tied). Richard Cohen takes a stand against torture, which he says totally works.
But it is important to understand that abolishing torture will not make us safer. Terrorists do not give a damn about our morality, our moral authority or what one columnist called "our moral compass." George Bush was certainly disliked in much of the world, but the Sept. 11 attacks were planned while Bill Clinton was in office, and he offended no one with the possible exception of the Christian right. Indeed, he went around the world apologizing for America's misdeeds — slavery, in particular. No terrorist turned back as a result.
Although torture is morally repugnant, Cohen argued in this 2009 column, it definitely helps catch terrorists. "Of course it works," he wrote, before arguing against it. (He also noted that terrorists don't care if we apologize for slavery. Maybe they won't understand until they've seen 12 Years a Slave.) A few weeks later, Cohen wrote that he "[has] to wonder" whether or not torture works, meaning he either changed his mind or completely forgot about his previous column.
1 (tied). Richard Cohen is a Pulitzer finalist (four times).
…For his eloquent columns on social and political issues.
No, that wasn't Cohen writing in the third person. That was the Pulitzer committee nominating him for a prize in commentary in 1987. (They also did so in 1981, 1989, and 1990.) He has never won.
Super Typhoon Haiyan, perhaps the strongest storm ever recorded on Earth, made landfall in the Philippines on Friday. The result was catastrophic, with 10,000 feared dead, according to the Associated Press. The storm made landfall again in Vietnam on Monday morning local time. Here are photos of the preparation for, and aftermath of, Haiyan's arrival.
A child wraps himself in a blanket inside a makeshift house along a fishing village in Bacoor, south of Manila. Ezra Acayan/ZUMA
Various government agencies monitor the path of Super Typhoon Haiyan inside the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) office in Quezon City, Philippines. Rouelle Umali/ZUMA
This NASA MODIS Aqua satellite image shows Super Typhoon Haiyan shortly before it smashed into the Philippines with 200 mph winds and 50-foot waves. Lightroom Photos/Nasa/ZUMA
Dark clouds from Super Typhoon Haiyan loom over the skyscrapers of metro Manila. Rouelle Umali/ZUMA
People reinforce dykes ahead of Super Typhoon Haiyan in Phu Yen province, central Vietnam. Vna/ZUMA
Local residents are evacuated to safe places before Super Typhoon Haiyan hit Vietnam in Da Nang city, central Vietnam. Vna/ZUMA
Aerial photo taken on November 10 shows the scene after Typhoon Haiyan hit Leyte Province, Philippines. Ryan Lim/ZUMA
Aerial photo shows the scene after Typhoon Haiyan hit Leyte Province. Ryan Lim/ZUMA
Filipino typhoon survivors from Tacloban City disembark from a C130 military plane in an airport in Cebu City, Philippines. Ritchie Tongo/ZUMA