Mixed Media

Here's What Sir Patrick Stewart Wore on Election Day

| Tue Nov. 4, 2014 3:11 PM EST

If you're American and want to do right by Patrick Stewart today, you should know that the captain really wants you to get out and vote. Make it so.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

It's Election Day, But If That Isn't Your Thing Here's a Video of a Cat Sleeping on a Pepper

| Tue Nov. 4, 2014 2:45 PM EST

Good afternoon.

This election has burned me out. I'm tired. I'm ready for it to be over. I want to rest. I want to sleep. I want to be this adorable little cat sleeping on a red pepper. Oh my God, it is so cute.

If dogs are more your speed, here's Dawson's Creek but with dachshunds:

Have a super day.

Russians Dismantle Steve Jobs Memorial After Tim Cook Comes Out as Gay

| Mon Nov. 3, 2014 3:43 PM EST
The memorial to Steve Jobs in St. Petersburg, Russia

Russian media is reporting that a memorial to Steve Jobs in St. Petersburg was dismantled on Friday, one day after current Apple CEO Tim Cook came out as gay.

A group of Russian companies called the Western European Fiscal Union (ZEFS) erected the more than six-foot tall monument, shaped like an iPhone and featuring an interactive screen that showed information about the Apple founder, in January of 2013, outside of an IT research university in St. Petersburg.

The ZEFS press office said the monument was taken down in order to comply with Russia's law prohibiting "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors" a broadly-worded law passed in June 2013 that effectively criminalizes most LGBT expression.

ZEFS noted in their statement that the memorial had been "in an area of direct access for young students and scholars."

"After Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly called for sodomy, the monument was taken down to abide by the Russian federal law protecting children from information promoting denial of traditional family values."

Shortly after Cook wrote publicly about being gay, famously anti-gay St. Petersburg legislator Vitaly Milonov suggested that Cook be banned from Russia forever, because he might bring Ebola, AIDs, and gonorrhea into the country.

According to Russian media reports, ZEFS gave a second reason for the monument's removal: revelations by Edward Snowden that Apple sends information about its users to America's National Security Agency. (When these revelations first came to light, Apple denied having knowledge of the NSA's surveillance.)

Russian media also reported that the head of ZEFS said he wouldn't be opposed to re-installing the monument, provided that it had the capability to send a message to the US rejecting all Apple products. 

So the next logical step here would be for Russia's elite to give up their personal iPhones, right? Well, fat chance.

Let John Oliver Explain the Insane Amount of Power Your Bizarre State Legislature Holds

| Mon Nov. 3, 2014 9:20 AM EST

With the midterm elections finally arriving tomorrow, John Oliver is asking voters to do everyone a solid and pay attention to what's happening on the local level. Though they often resemble ridiculous shit shows, state houses actually wield an incredible amount of power and affect everything from abortion laws to gun control.

"All those conspiracy theories about a shadow government are actually true," Oliver explained on the latest Last Week Tonight. "Only it's not a group of billionaires meeting in a mountain lair in Zurich. It's a bunch of pasty bureaucrats meeting in a windowless committee room in Lansing, Michigan."

It's these "pasty bureaucrats" who are quietly creating legislation all around the country. According to Oliver, while Congress passed only 185 bills this session, state legislatures passed an astounding 24,000. And as Mother Jones reported recently, state legislatures are looking awfully red, with Republicans currently boasting single-party control in both houses of state legislatures in 23 states.

"The senate is likely to remain inactive no matter which party controls it after Tuesday," Oliver said. "So why all this attention on the national level where almost nothing is happening, when down on the local level everything is happening?"

Great question. Watch below for more.

 

"Hold On to Now" by Lily and Madeleine

| Mon Nov. 3, 2014 5:20 AM EST

TRACK 7

"Hold On to Now"

From Lily and Madeleine's Fumes

ASTHMATIC KITTY

Liner notes: The Jurkiewicz siblings deliver the nicest breakup song ever, entwining in lustrous harmony: "Everything's changing soon/I don't know how/I'm moving away from you."

Behind the music: In 2012, Lily and Madeleine's YouTube covers of Bob Dylan and First Aid Kit caught the attention of producer Paul Mahern, who contacted the Indianapolis teens and encouraged them to pursue music careers.

This 79-Year-Old Rocker Is Still Amazing

| Mon Nov. 3, 2014 5:00 AM EST

Jerry Lee Lewis
Rock & Roll Time
Vanguard

Jerry Lee Lewis

If the prospect of a new album from a 79-year-old rock and roller seems less than promising, think again. Piano-pounding wildman Jerry Lee Lewis still has his mojo working on Rock & Roll Time, ripping through covers of Johnny Cash, Fats Domino, and Chuck Berry with the same arrogant swagger he brought to "Great Balls of Fire" and "Whole Lot of Shakin' Goin' On" back in the '50s. Sure, the cameos by Keith Richards, Neil Young, and The Band's Robbie Robertson are nice, but nobody overshadows the Killer. Check out the soulful duet with Shelby Lynne on "Here Comes That Rainbow Again" or his two-fisted version of Jimmy Reed's "Bright Lights, Big City" and prepare to be amazed.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Stop Asking Why the Women Accusing Jian Ghomeshi Didn't Go to the Cops

| Fri Oct. 31, 2014 2:01 PM EDT

In the past two weeks, nine women have come forward with stories about getting beat up by Jian Ghomeshi. Now, thousands of people are asking what on earth took them so long.

The confused disbelief seems genuine to me. Why on earth didn't they rush to the nearest police station? Or call 911? If he hurt them, didn't they want to stop him from attacking more women? 

Plenty of people have already done a great job of explaining why. They've posted the depressing stats on rape convictions, explained how the justice system often retraumatizes victims of sexual crimes, patiently detailed the horrible abuse Ghomeshi's past accuser had to bear.

But after hearing all these reasons and more, a lot of people still won't let Ghomeshi's accusers off the hook. And as frustrating as this is, I think it's because to varying degrees, people need to believe that the world makes sense. It just doesn’t make sense that this beloved, artsy, liberal, talented public radio star with the Flock of Seagulls haircut and the cool jeans allegedly has a weird thing going on involving a teddy bear and punching women in the face till their ears ring and forcing his cock into their mouths until they nearly vomit.

Just like it doesn't make sense that the beloved fatherly comedian who reminds you of sweaters and pudding pops has been accused over and over of drugging women and sexually assaulting them. Or that the beloved all-American champion football coach is a serial child molester. And so on, and so on.

It's depressing, it's confusing, it's awkward, and it's like, life is already complicated enough.

Ergo the wishful thinking that if these nine women had just dialed three numbers long ago, this confusing ugliness, if true, would have been neatly trapped in a box where it could never hurt anybody else ever again. 

But the inescapable reality is that they didn’t make the call. So do we chalk it up to these nine women being a bunch of lazy, dumb, overly paranoid, weak, sisterhood-betraying fools? 

It's either that, or we have to run through a bunch of not-fun mental exercises. We have to face the possibility that in this world, the only one we've got, a woman who says she was attacked by a powerful man can't necessarily expect justice and protection if she goes running to the law. That if she tells, her home address and telephone number will probably be splashed across the Internet where demented ragey misogynists will use them to terrorize her. That she's not crazy to worry her relationships with her parents, her partners, her friends and colleagues will be forever altered if they hear about it, because lots of people just aren’t emotionally equipped to deal with a loved one going through something like this.

"So why didn't I do anything?" says Reva Seth, the latest woman to come forward with a story about being attacked by Ghomeshi. "This is the part that I think is so important to understand if we are ever going to change the context in which rape culture and violence against women is perpetuated. I didn't do anything because it didn't seem like there was anything to do...And even if I had wanted to do something, as a lawyer, I'm well aware that the scenario was just a "he said/she said" situation. I was aware that I, as a woman who had had a drink or two, shared a joint, had gone to his house willingly and had a sexual past, would be eviscerated. Cultural frameworks on this are powerful."

So either these nine women are all irresponsible dummies—doesn't sound like it—or they did what tons of people in their shoes would do. They didn't tell, because telling can be more painful than not telling. This is depressing, confusing, and awkward, but it's also what happened.

Ruth "Baby" Ginsburg Is Absolutely Crushing Halloween This Year

| Fri Oct. 31, 2014 11:48 AM EDT

For those in the need of any last minute Halloween inspiration, look no further than Ruth "Baby" Ginsburg, quite possibly the most adorable tribute to the badass Supreme Court Justice herself we've witnessed.

The perfectly oversized glasses! The dainty jabot. Just perfect.

Book Review: Beijing Bastard

| Fri Oct. 31, 2014 5:30 AM EDT

Beijing Bastard

By Val Wang

GOTHAM BOOKS

In her drifter memoir of leaving home in order to find it, Chinese American author Val Wang struggles between head and heart as she tries to make a living—and a life—in Beijing, burdened by the expectations of her forebears yet buoyed by the spirit of youth. In the process, she shows us a China full of contradictions: at once glamorous and grungy, ancient and modern, ambitious and loafing.

Silly String Is Illegal Here—But Only on Halloween

| Fri Oct. 31, 2014 5:00 AM EDT

Halloween is finally here! It's time to celebrate macabre mischief, ghouls and gluttony, and of course, tricks and treats. But there's one scary alliterated substance you should steer clear of—especially if you are in Hollywood. On the streets of Tinseltown, getting caught with Silly String is considered a serious offense—but only on Halloween.

Signs have been posted across Hollywood Photo taken by Gil Riego

Generically called "aerosol string," Silly String is basically brightly colored plastic propelled from an aerosol can. Like confetti but for terrible people, its primary purpose is to annoy or to instantly reveal who the most obnoxious person at a party is. Both sticky and slimy, it is hard to clean up, is bad for the environment, and—surprise!—can be dangerous if you eat it.

As awful as Silly String is most days, it is apparently more awful on Halloween. That's why, in 2004, Los Angeles Councilman Tom LaBonge sponsored an ordinance to outlaw the stuff for one night only. City officials were sick of cleaning it up, and dealing with the brawls they said were provoked by Silly String sprayings. More than 100,000 people flock to Hollywood to celebrate Halloween and the Silly String remediation costs were said to exceed $200,000.

So, starting at midnight last night and extending until noon tomorrow, should you happen to cross the threshold into the LAPD's Hollywood Division's jurisdiction, you better not be packing any String.

Specifically:

No Person, as defined in Municipal Code Section 11.01(a), shall possess, use, sell or distribute Silly String at, within or upon any public or private property that is either within public view or accessible to the public, including, but not limited to, public or private streets, sidewalks, parking lots, commercial or residential buildings, places of business, or parks within the Hollywood Division during Halloween.

The ordinance comes with a pretty heavy set of un-silly sanctions. Just carrying a can of Silly String could get you charged with a misdemeanor, slapped with a $1,000 fine, and jailed for as long as 6 months. That's a stiffer penalty than you'll get for misdemeanor pot possession ($100 fine), breaking into a zoo enclosure ($250 fine), bicycling or hunting while drunk ($250 and $500, respectively). It's more on par with petty theft, and more severe mayhem like being disorderly while drunk or getting minors drunk.

So while you are free to spray away in most places today (litter ordinances permitting), why not do everyone a favor and take a hint from Hollywood? Just keep it in the can.