Political Mojo | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/Blogs/2006/12 http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for September 15, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/were-still-war-photo-day-september-15-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p class="rtecenter"><em>A US Marine carries a round back to his gun in Hawaii for a fire mission. (US Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Victor A. Mancilla)</em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Mon, 15 Sep 2014 15:49:24 +0000 260256 at http://www.motherjones.com Unredacted Court Docs Reveal Yahoo's Name and Other Top-Secret Stuff http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/yahoo-nsa-court-ruling-redacted <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Yahoo has <a href="https://cdt.org/insight/yahoo-v-u-s-prism-documents/" target="_blank">just released</a> 1,500 pages of previously classified documents relating to its <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/14/technology/secret-court-ruling-put-tech-companies-in-data-bind.html" target="_blank">legal challenge</a> to the government's warrantless wiretapping program. Yahoo lost the case in 2008 and was ordered to cooperate with National Security Agency or face a $250,000 fine for every day that it withheld its customers' data. The ruling in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which was released to the public only in heavily redacted form, became a legal precedent for the warrantless wiretapping program that was later revealed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.</p> <p>Today, based on a successful appeal by Yahoo, a slightly less redacted version of that court ruling finally became public.</p> <p>Below, I've posted the more lightly redacted version released today as well as the redacted version of the ruling released in 2008. A side-by-side reading of the two documents may offer some insight into how the government has sought to cover up the true nature of its surveillance activities, or it might just be an example of how little has changed.</p> <p>The new version of the ruling is notable for what it doesn't disclose: Key evidence presented by the government. A block of text that had previously been removed from the ruling still does not fully explain why warrantless searches are necessary to thwart terrorists:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/excerptWEB.gif"></div> <p>Scanning the 1,500 pages of newly unsealed documents will take a while. Here are few examples of new information contained in the partially unredacted ruling:</p> <ul><li>The name of the plaintiff (Yahoo) and its law firm</li> <li>A footnote defining the term "surveillance" to mean "acquisitions of foreign intelligence information." But part of the definition of the term still remains redacted.</li> <li>The date when the government moved to force Yahoo to comply with the order (November 21, 2007)</li> <li>A mention of "linking procedures" (defined as "procedures that link [redacted] targets.") as a one of the safeguards against unreasonable searches</li> </ul><p>You can help us out by pointing out any other interesting tidbits in the comments; we'll note additional highlights here if we find anything worth noting.</p> <p>The slightly less redacted ruling released today:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-1301184-11-yahoo702-fisc-merits-opinion-1">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/viewer/loader.js"></script><script> DV.load("//www.documentcloud.org/documents/1301184-11-yahoo702-fisc-merits-opinion-1.js", { width: 630, height: 800, sidebar: false, text: false, pdf: false, container: "#DV-viewer-1301184-11-yahoo702-fisc-merits-opinion-1" }); </script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The original redacted court ruling:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-1300547-fiscr082208-2">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/viewer/loader.js"></script><script> DV.load("//www.documentcloud.org/documents/1300547-fiscr082208-2.js", { width: 630, height: 800, sidebar: false, text: false, pdf: false, container: "#DV-viewer-1300547-fiscr082208-2" }); </script><p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties Tech NSA Fri, 12 Sep 2014 21:59:59 +0000 Josh Harkinson 260116 at http://www.motherjones.com The Great State Of California Will Not Be Split Into Six Mediocre States http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/great-state-california-will-not-be-split-six-little-mediocre-states <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>One day a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/07/tim-draper-six-californias-stripping-youtube-riskmaster" target="_blank">lemming</a> will fly. That day is <a href="http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Six-Californias-initiative-falls-short-of-5751683.php" target="_blank">not today</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Backers of a much-publicized initiative to split California into six separate states failed to collect enough valid signatures to qualify the measure for the November 2016 ballot. the secretary of state's office said Friday.</p> <p>Supporters of the Six Californias measure sponsored by Tim Draper, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, turned in more than 1.13 million signatures. But a statewide sampling showed that only 752,685 of them were from voters registered in California, short of the 807,615 needed to qualify for the ballot, the secretary of state said.</p> </blockquote> <p>Happy Friday!</p></body></html> MoJo Fri, 12 Sep 2014 21:55:53 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 260196 at http://www.motherjones.com See for Yourself Just How Damn Complicated the Middle East Has Become http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/see-yourself-just-how-complicated-middle-east-has-become <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="mid east relationship chart" class="image" src="/files/mid-east-top_0.jpg"><div class="caption">David McCandless/The Information Is Beautiful Project</div> </div> <p>Behold, the Middle East! If we could just understand what all the strong countries, the falling-apart countries, the unrecognized-countries, the "non-state actors", and the outside powers all thought of each other, we might be able to chart a clear way forward, right? Don't get your hopes up, although the latest project by British data visionary David McCandless is a really valiant effort to make sense of it all nonetheless.</p> <p>McCandless' charted 38 regional players&mdash; from Afghanistan to Yemen, Al Qaeda to the European Union&mdash; and connected each to its major friends and enemies. The result is a tangled ball that illustrates the enormously complicated relationships in the region. (You can parse each actor's relationships on the full, <a href="http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/the-middle-east-key-players-notable-relationships/" target="_blank">interactive version</a> on McCandless' site, Information Is Beautiful, which you should really check out.)&nbsp;</p> <p>McCandless calls this work an "ongoing, evolving diagram," so it may be missing a few connections (Russia's <a href="http://thehill.com/policy/defense/212024-hagel-us-knows-iran-russia-aiding-iraq-in-fight-against-isis" target="_blank">close, getting closer</a> relationship with Iraq, for instance). If you have more ideas, he welcomes input at the email address posted on his site.</p></body></html> MoJo Charts Afghanistan Foreign Policy Iraq Fri, 12 Sep 2014 17:49:57 +0000 Alex Park 260156 at http://www.motherjones.com Pennsylvania Teenager Simulates Oral Sex With Jesus Statue, Faces 2 Years in Prison http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/pennsylvania-teenager-hump-oral-sex-jesus-statue-prison <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Teenagers are prone to dumb, tasteless pranks, but one 14-year-old is facing prison time for his latest stunt. The teen, from Everett, Pennsylvania, hopped on top of a statue of a kneeling Jesus&mdash;in front of an organization called "Love in the Name of Christ"&mdash;and <a href="http://news.kron4.com/news/teen-could-get-two-years-for-facebook-photos-with-jesus-statue/" target="_blank">simulated oral sex with the statue's</a> face. Naturally, he posted the pictures to Facebook, which made their way to authorities.</p> <p>Officials in Bedford County charged the teen (whose name hasn't been released) with desecration of a venerated object, invoking a <a href="http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_JESUS_STATUTE_DESECRATION?SITE=AP&amp;SECTION=HOME&amp;TEMPLATE=DEFAULT" target="_blank">1972 Pennsylvania statute</a> that criminalizes "defacing, damaging, polluting or otherwise physically mistreating in a way that the actor knows will outrage the sensibilities of persons likely to observe or discover the action." You'd think an appropriate punishment for a kid violating this seldom-invoked law might be picking up trash or, at worst, paying a fine. If convicted, he faces much worse: two years in juvenile detention.</p> <p>Truth Wins Out, a LGBT advocacy nonprofit, has argued that the law is unconstitutional because it violates the establishment clause&mdash;"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"&mdash;and free speech rights&mdash;"Congress shall make no law abridging the right to hump a statue of Jesus."</p> <p>Pennsylvania is not the only state with a "venerated objects" law&mdash;<a href="http://atheism.about.com/od/flagburningstatelaws/" target="_blank">many states have some version of it</a>, but most define "desecration" as vandalizing or otherwise physically harming an object of civic or religious significance. Alabama, Tennessee, and Oregon have laws like Pennsylvania's, which can be interpreted to punish individuals&mdash;like this bold, dumb teenager&mdash;who simply decide to do something offensive.</p></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties Religion Fri, 12 Sep 2014 17:39:40 +0000 Sam Brodey 260106 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for September 12, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/were-still-war-photo-day-september-12-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p class="rtecenter"><em>Nathan Mitchell, an aviation machinist airman of the US Navy, performs maintenance on a helicopter. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Oscar Albert Moreno Jr.)</em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Fri, 12 Sep 2014 14:29:48 +0000 260126 at http://www.motherjones.com News Organizations Battle Pennsylvania Over Secret Source of Its Execution Drugs http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/news-organizations-sue-pennsylvania-execution-drugs <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and four news organizations filed an emergency <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1292809-intervenors-motion-to-unseal-documents-final.html" target="_blank">legal motion on</a> Thursday, demanding that Pennsylvania reveal the source of its execution drugs.</p> <p>Later this month, the state is scheduled to put 57-year-old Hubert Michael to death for raping and murdering a 16-year-old girl in 1993. While the execution has been stayed by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the ACLU&nbsp;fears the hold could be lifted at any time, opening the way for the first execution in Pennsylvania in more than 15 years.</p> <p>Since 2011, when the European Union banned the export of drugs for use in executions, Pennsylvania and other death penalty states have been forced to rely on untested drug combinations and loosely regulated compounding pharmacies, and most have become secretive about the sources and contents of their lethal injection drugs. Death row inmates around the country have sued to block their executions on the grounds that withholding this information is unconstitutional. Untested or poorly prepared drug cocktails could, they argue, create a level of suffering that violates the Eight Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment. So far, they've met with little success. Clayton Lockett, who lost his bid to force the state of Oklahoma to reveal the source and purity of the drugs used to put him to death, writhed and moaned in apparent agony after being injected <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/04/double-execution-tonight-ok-using-secret-experimental-drug-protocol?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Motherjones%2Fmojoblog+%28MotherJones.com+%7C+MoJoBlog%29" target="_blank">with a secretly acquired drug combinations</a> in April.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/mojo/2014/09/news-organizations-sue-pennsylvania-execution-drugs"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> MoJo Civil Liberties Crime and Justice death Thu, 11 Sep 2014 17:59:08 +0000 Mariah Blake 260071 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for September 11, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/were-still-war-photo-day-september-11-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p class="rtecenter"><em>The 2014 Tripler Fisher House 8k Hero and Remembrance Run, Walk or Roll on Ford Island memorializes more than 7,000 US service members who died since the September 11th attacks on this day in 2001. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Diana Quinlan)</em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Thu, 11 Sep 2014 14:50:24 +0000 260051 at http://www.motherjones.com The New York Times Just Issued the Best Correction You'll Read All Week http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/correction-week-president-cheney <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Tuesday, the <em>New York Times </em>ran the following correction on a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/10/us/politics/cheney-goes-to-capitol-hill-to-counter-gop-isolationism.html?_r=3" target="_blank">story</a> about Dick Cheney telling House Republicans to "embrace a strong military and reject a rising isolationism in his party":</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Correction: September 9, 2014 </strong></p> <p>An earlier version of a summary with this article misstated the former title of Dick Cheney. He was vice president, not president.</p> </blockquote> <p>This is funny because many people believe that Cheney wielded an <a href="http://www.mediaite.com/tv/msnbcs-alex-wagner-bush-chose-cheney-because-he-needed-a-puppet-master/" target="_blank">unprecedented level of influence</a> over former President George W. Bush.</p></body></html> MoJo Bush The Right Top Stories Thu, 11 Sep 2014 14:47:26 +0000 Nick Baumann 260046 at http://www.motherjones.com Does the Web Seem Way Slow Today? It May Be Soon If You Don't Get in the FCC's Face http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/5-things-you-should-know-about-internet-slowdown-day <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>No, the internet isn't actually broken today. Those spinning wheels of death you may have seen on Netflix, Tumblr, Reddit, Mozilla, and hundreds of other sites are part of <a href="https://www.battleforthenet.com/" target="_blank">Internet Slowdown Day</a>, an effort to show what might happen if the internet actually <em>did</em> get broken by the bureaucrats at the Federal Communication Commission. The FCC will soon vote on a proposal to essentially eliminate <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/05/charts-why-fcc-ditching-net-neutrality" target="_blank">net neutrality,</a> the policy that forces internet providers such as Comcast and AT&amp;T to treat all internet traffic the same. Here are five things you should know about what's happening today:</p> <p><span class="section-lead">The Participating websites aren't actually slower:</span> Not even Netflix is crazy enough to make a political statement by throttling itself. The spinning page-load symbols on participating sites are just widgets (see below), which anyone <a href="https://www.battleforthenet.com/sept10th/" target="_blank">can download here</a>. Some activists are also replacing their social media profile pics with images like this:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Sign the letter to congress, the FCC and the White House telling the cable companies to fuck off, it's our internet <a href="https://t.co/aY661mCaBw">https://t.co/aY661mCaBw</a></p> &mdash; Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) <a href="https://twitter.com/YourAnonNews/status/509768295445057536">September 10, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>In this sense, Internet Slowdown Day is very similar to the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/01/how-sopa-protect-ip-and-big-content-lost" target="_blank">SOPA blackout of 2012,</a> when people and major sites across the internet blackened their logos and profile pictures to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act, which would have given the federal government wide latitude to enforce copyright law. SOPA showed that when major internet companies team up with grassroots activists, politicians tend to listen.</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img height="300" src="https://www.motherjones.com/files/anigif_2.gif" width="300"></div> <p><span class="section-lead">The real story is who is <em>not</em> participating:</span> Although Google claims to support net neutrality, it's conspicuously <a href="http://googleblog.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">silent</a> about Internet Slowdown Day. Last year, <em>Wired</em>'s Ryan Singel <a href="http://www.wired.com/2013/07/google-neutrality/" target="_blank">noted</a> that the terms of service for Google Fiber, the company's relatively new ISP division, included some of the same provisions that Google had long decried as hostile to an open internet. By prohibiting customers from attaching "servers" to its network, Google Fiber was contradicting the principle of treating all packets of information equally, prompting Singel to accuse the search giant of a "flip-flop" on net neutrality. It's not that simple, of course, but tech companies such as Google clearly have much less to gain from net neutrality now that they're multibillion-dollar behemoths. Even if they don't take on the role of actual ISPs, large tech firms can easily afford to pay cable companies for faster service, creating a competitive firewall between their services and those offered by leaner startups.</p> <p><span class="section-lead">In america, every day is already an internet slowdown day:</span> Pushing internet traffic into "slow" lanes might be more tolerable if those lanes were still really fast in absolute terms. Sadly, however, the United States ranks <a href="http://www.netindex.com/download/allcountries/" target="_blank">a pathetic 25th</a> among nations for download speeds:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="671" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="//mjdwcharts.s3.amazonaws.com/Rr0Iw/2/index.html" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><span class="section-lead">This show is bigger than the superbowl:</span> The net neutrality debate has generated a record 1,477,301 public comments to the FCC, the commission said today. As <em>Politico</em> <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2014/09/fcc-net-neutrality-record-110818.html" target="_blank">notes</a>, that breaks the previous record of 1.4 million complaints generated by Janet Jackson's 2004 wardrobe malfunction. The number of comments to the FCC will likely continue to grow as Internet Slowdown Day encourages visitors to voice their objections.</p> <p><span class="section-lead">the fcc is not your friend:</span> There's no question that the FCC is facing a public backlash against its plan to gut net neutrality. The question is whether the outrage will be sufficient to change its course. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is a major Obama bundler and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/05/charts-why-fcc-ditching-net-neutrality" target="_blank">former head of two major industry groups</a> that staunchly oppose net neutrality. He's likely to side with the cable industry unless essentially forced to do otherwise. All of which is to say that the bar is incredibly high for Internet Slowdown Day. Until "net neutrality" becomes a household term, don't count on Washington to care about it.</p></body></html> MoJo Tech Top Stories Net Neutrality Wed, 10 Sep 2014 22:14:03 +0000 Josh Harkinson 260001 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for September 10, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/were-still-war-photo-day-september-10-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p class="rtecenter"><em>US Marines perform a diving exit during pre-deployment training. (US Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Todd F. Michalek)</em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:06:54 +0000 259951 at http://www.motherjones.com Pentagon and Other Agencies Slammed for Police Militarization at Senate Hearing http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/pentagon-slammed-police-militarization-senate-hearing <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing <a href="http://www.c-span.org/video/?321337-1/hearing-militarization-police-forces" target="_blank">Tuesday</a>, Democratic and Republican lawmakers slammed officials from the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice for their handling of federal programs that help provide military grade vehicles, equipment, and weapons to local police departments across the country. The hearing was called in response to the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/timeline-michael-brown-shooting-ferguson" target="_blank">events</a> that took place in Ferguson, Missouri, after an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, was shot and killed by a white police officer, and peaceful protests were met by a heavily militarized police force. "Aggressive police actions [were] being used under the umbrella of 'crowd control,'" noted Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).</p> <p>The panel grilled Alan Estevez, a Department of Defense agent dealing with logistics and acquisition of military equipment; Brian Kamoie, a federal grant regulator at the Department of Homeland Security; and Karol Mason, an attorney from the Department of Justice.</p> <p>Senators questioned why certain military equipment was on the Pentagon's list of acceptable items for local police departments. Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) declared that police militarization gives him "real heartburn" and wondered "how did we get to the point where we think states needs MRAPS"&mdash;that is, mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles, which have been acquired by a large number of small police departments across the country. In Texas, McCaskill noted, police departments have more than 70 MRAPS, while the state National Guard has just six.</p> <p>Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) questioned what police departments could possibly do with the 1,200 bayonets that have been issued in recent years. The Pentagon's Alan Estevez replied that he was unsure. Throughout the hearing, members of the panel underscored the point that police officers are often not adequately trained in how (and when) to use the military-grade equipment their departments acquire. The Pentagon doesn't require police departments to undergo any training before supplying them MRAPS and other military equipment.</p> <p>Estevez testified that the Pentagon would reevaluate its list of acceptable equipment for police departments. But Brian Kamoie, the Homeland Security official, and the Justice Department's Karol Mason, both acknowledged that their agencies don't do much to regulate how police departments use the grant money they dole out to local law enforcement.</p> <p>McCaskill condemned the Department of Defense and the other agencies for their lack of oversight over the use of military equipment by local police. "None of them know how it's being utilized," McCaskill said. She pointed out that a police department in Lake Angelus, Michigan, which employs only one police officer, has received 13 military grade assault weapons since 2011. "I think we need to get to the bottom of that," McCaskill said.</p> <p>Watch the hearing here:<object align="middle" classid="clsid:d27cdb6eae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" codebase="http://fpdownload.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,0,0" height="500" id="cspan-video-player" width="410"><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="true"><param name="movie" value="http://static.c-span.org/assets/swf/CSPANPlayer.1405958893.swf?pid=321337-1"><param name="quality" value="high"><param name="bgcolor" value="#ffffff"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"><param name="flashvars" value="system=http://www.c-span.org/common/services/flashXml.php?programid=365150&amp;style=full&amp;version=2014-01-23"><embed align="middle" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" bgcolor="#ffffff" flashvars="system=http://www.c-span.org/common/services/flashXml.php?programid=365150&amp;style=full&amp;version=2014-01-23" height="500" name="cspan-video-player" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" quality="high" src="http://static.c-span.org/assets/swf/CSPANPlayer.1405958893.swf?pid=321337-1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="410"></embed></object></p></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties Guns Human Rights Military Regulatory Affairs Ferguson Tue, 09 Sep 2014 21:07:49 +0000 Jenna McLaughlin 259926 at http://www.motherjones.com Ebola Is Getting So Bad That Even House Republicans Will Back New Funds to Fight It http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/republicans-back-ebola-fighting-efforts <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Despite some <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2014/09/white-house-requests-ebola-funds-110655.html" target="_blank">worries</a> last week that spending-averse Republicans might not support additional funding to fight Ebola, Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), the chair of the House appropriations committee, said late Monday that House GOPers <a href="http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/09/08/us-usa-congress-ebola-idUKKBN0H32H420140908" target="_blank">will back</a> new money to combat the spread of the disease.</p> <p></p><div id="mininav" class="inline-subnav"> <!-- header content --> <div id="mininav-header-content"> <div id="mininav-header-image"> <img src="/files/images/motherjones_mininav/ebola-mini.jpg" width="220" border="0"></div> <div id="mininav-header-text"> <p class="mininav-header-text" style="margin: 0; padding: 0.75em; font-size: 11px; font-weight: bold; line-height: 1.2em; background-color: rgb(221, 221, 221);"> More <em>MoJo</em> coverage of the Ebola crisis. </p> </div> </div> <!-- linked stories --> <div id="mininav-linked-stories"> <ul><span id="linked-story-259686"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/09/ebola-world-health-organization-budget"> Why the World Health Organization Doesn't Have Enough Funds to Fight Ebola</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-259576"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/09/world-health-organization-doctors-without-borders-ebola-senegal-nigeria"> This Map Shows Why People Are Freaking Out About Ebola's Arrival in Senegal</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-258436"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/08/new-drugs-and-vaccines-cant-stop-ebola-outbreak"> New Drugs and Vaccines Can't Stop This Ebola Outbreak</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-257666"> <li><a href="/environment/2014/08/5-diseases-are-scarier-ebola"> 5 Diseases That Are Scarier Than Ebola</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-255436"> <li><a href="/environment/2014/07/we-are-making-ebola-worse"> We Are Making Ebola Outbreaks Worse by Cutting Down Forests</a></li> </span> </ul></div> <!-- footer content --> </div> <p>Lawmakers are currently negotiating a temporary spending bill that would fund the government's operations through December. Late Friday, the White House asked Congress to <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/white-house-asks-58m-ebola-drugs-25276452" target="_blank">add</a> $30 million to this stopgap spending measure to pay Centers for Disease Control and Prevention staff in the United States and Africa. That came on top of $58 million the administration already requested to accelerate the production and testing of new drugs and maintain the development of two experimental Ebola vaccines, bringing the total White House request for Ebola-related funds to $88 million. Rogers wouldn't say whether Republicans would agree to fund the full amount.</p> <p>The House is due to vote on the bill on Thursday.</p> <p>If approved, the new money will add to a slow but growing American relief effort, as government agencies steer their budgets to fight Ebola, following calls from the World Health Organization and Doctors Without Borders to dramatically step up their involvement. On Monday, the Pentagon announced it <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/08/us-health-ebola-pentagon-idUSKBN0H31Z420140908" target="_blank">would deploy</a> one $22 million, 25-person field hospital to Liberia, the current epicenter of the epidemic. The hospital&mdash;part of a wider effort coordinated by the US Agency for International Development (USAID)&mdash;will be turned over to the Liberian government as soon as it's built and will <a href="http://complex.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/09/08/us_military_involvement_in_ebola_fight_is_minimal_liberia" target="_blank">not be staffed</a> by American government employees.</p> <p>But with Liberia's medical staff stretched thin, finding the right people to staff the hospital may prove difficult. Liberia's health care system&mdash;already strained before the outbreak with one doctor for every 100,000 people&mdash;has been hit hard by Ebola. Since the outbreak began, 152 medical workers have contracted the disease in Liberia, the WHO said <a href="http://reliefweb.int/report/liberia/ebola-situation-liberia-non-conventional-interventions-needed" target="_blank">on Monday</a>, about 7 percent of all suspected and confirmed patients. Seventy-nine of these medical workers have died from the disease.</p> <p>A single 70-bed facility needs 200 to 250 medical personnel to staff it, according to WHO, and Liberia "urgently needs" 1,000 more beds to treat the currently infected patients.</p> <p>While there's no cure or approved treatment for Ebola, hospitals and treatment centers are needed to quarantine infected patients. In its statement, the WHO said that sick people in Liberia's capital, Monrovia, were traversing town in taxis looking for a hospital bed, bringing the disease&mdash;which is spread through bodily fluids such as blood and saliva&mdash;into the city's public transit system.</p> <p>In a statement to <em>Mother Jones</em>, a spokesman for Doctors Without Borders (MSF), one of the few medical groups which has been actively fighting the disease since the outbreak, said that organization had also dramatically increased its budget for the effort to almost $39 million today. Still, he said, this would not be enough to stave off the disease.&nbsp;</p> <p>"Much more help is needed from actors other than MSF," he said.</p> <p>The most recent <a href="https://twitter.com/WHO/status/509347780457144320" target="_blank">figures</a> released by the WHO reported more than 2,000 people either known or believed to have been infected with Ebola, and more than 1,200 known or believed to have been killed in Liberia since the outbreak was first detected in March. More than 2,000 are believed to have been infected and more than 1,000 killed elsewhere in West Africa since the outbreak began, almost all of them in Guinea and Sierra Leone. About 49 percent of the infections in these three countries occurred in the last three weeks.&nbsp;</p> <p>On Monday, the WHO <a href="http://reliefweb.int/report/liberia/ebola-situation-liberia-non-conventional-interventions-needed" target="_blank">said</a> infections in Liberia were increasing "exponentially." On Tuesday, the country's defense minister, Brownie Samukai, <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/09/health-ebola-un-idUSL1N0RA1NA20140909" target="_blank">called</a> Ebola the worst threat to the country since its last civil war ended in 2003. "Liberia is facing a serious threat to its national existence," he said of the epidemic.</p></body></html> MoJo Congress Health Care International Top Stories Tue, 09 Sep 2014 20:00:33 +0000 Alex Park 259891 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for September 9, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/were-still-war-photo-day-september-9-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p class="rtecenter"><em>A US Navy sailor plots the ship's movement on a position chart in Japan. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Raul Moreno Jr.)</em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Tue, 09 Sep 2014 13:52:04 +0000 259871 at http://www.motherjones.com Video: What We Saw Before Being Kicked Out of the SWAT Convention http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/video-highlights-oaklands-urbanshield-conference <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/mu6m__F86aY" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>This weekend, my colleague Prashanth Kamalakanthan and I attended Urban Shield, a first-responder convention sponsored by more than 100 corporations and the Department of Homeland Security. The five-day confab included a trade show where vendors display everything from armored trucks to sniper rifles to 3-D printable drones. (We documented a few of the more remarkable offerings <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/09/urbanshield-oakland-police-militarization" target="_blank">here</a>.) It also involved the largest SWAT training exercise in the world. Some 35 SWAT teams competed in a 48-hour exercise involving 31 scenarios that included ambushing vehicles, indoor shootouts, maritime interdiction, train assaults, and a mock eviction of a right-wing Sovereign Citizens group. The teams came from cities across the San Francisco Bay Area, Singapore, and South Korea and included a University of California SWAT team, a team of US Marines, and a SWAT team of prison guards.</p> <p>But on Sunday, at a competition site near the Bay Bridge, our coverage was cut short. A police officer confiscated our press badges, politely explaining that his captain had called and given him the order. The captain, he said, told him we had been filming in an unauthorized location, though he could not tell us where that location was. (We'd been advised earlier that it was okay to film so long as we did not go on the bridge itself.) After several phone calls from both me and my editors, no one could tell us exactly what we had done wrong, but Sergeant J.D. Nelson, the public information officer for the Alameda County Sheriff's Department (which hosts the Department of Homeland Security-funded event) made it clear that we could not have our passes back.</p> <p>We'll have a more in-depth report, and a lot more images and videos, in a few days.</p></body></html> MoJo Video Crime and Justice Prisons Top Stories Tue, 09 Sep 2014 10:00:11 +0000 Shane Bauer 259861 at http://www.motherjones.com This Judge Just Said Everything You Want to Say to the Anti-Gay Marriage Crowd, But Better http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/judge-says-everything-you-want-say-anti-gay-marriage-crowd-just-smarter-and-more-sass <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Thursday, federal judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court's ruling striking down gay marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana. This marks the 22nd time since the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act last year that a federal court has found bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. On Wednesday, a different federal judge issued an <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/03/louisiana-gay-marriage-ruling_n_5761112.html?" target="_blank">opinion</a> <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/04/us/louisiana-gay-marriage-ban-upheld-by-federal-judge.html?_r=0" target="_blank">upholding Louisiana's ban</a>, making the total post-DOMA record 22-1.</p> <p>Posner's opinion is special, though, because, as <em><a href="http://gawker.com/hero-federal-appeals-judge-burns-down-the-case-against-1630697112?utm_campaign=socialflow_gawker_twitter&amp;utm_source=gawker_twitter&amp;utm_medium=socialflow" target="_blank">Gawker</a></em> notes, it's, well, amazing. And bitchy. And delicious.</p> <blockquote> <p>Our pair of cases is rich in detail but ultimately straight-forward to decide. The challenged laws discriminate against a minority defined by an immutable characteristic, and the only rationale that the states put forth with any conviction&mdash;that same-sex couples and their children don't need marriage because same-sex couples can't produce children, intended or unintended&mdash;is so full of holes that it cannot be taken seriously.</p> </blockquote> <p>Indiana defended its ban by arguing that the state had no reason to extend marriage to gay people because gay people can't have children&mdash;that marriage is designed, in part, to force fathers in hetereosexual relationships to raise children they may or may not have wanted.</p> <blockquote> <p>At oral argument the state&lsquo;s lawyer was asked whether "Indiana's law is about successfully raising children," and since "you agree same-sex couples can successfully raise children, why shouldn't the ban be lifted as to them?" The lawyer answered that "the assumption is that with opposite-sex couples there is very little thought given during the sexual act, sometimes, to whether babies may be a consequence." In other words, Indiana's government thinks that straight couples tend to be sexually irresponsible, producing unwanted children by the carload, and so must be pressured (in the form of governmental encouragement of marriage through a combination of sticks and carrots) to marry, but that gay couples, unable as they are to produce children wanted or unwanted, are model parents&mdash;model citizens really&mdash;so have no need for marriage. Heterosexuals get drunk and pregnant, producing unwanted children; their reward is to be allowed to marry. Homosexual couples do not produce unwanted children; their reward is to be denied the right to marry. Go figure.</p> </blockquote> <p>My favorite bit is Posner's response to Indiana's assertion that "homosexuals are politically powerful out of proportion to their numbers."</p> <blockquote> <p>No evidence is presented by the state to support this contention. It is true that an increasing number of heterosexuals support same-sex marriage; otherwise 11 states would not have changed their laws to permit such marriage (the other 8 states that allow same-sex marriage do so as a result of judicial decisions invalidating the states' bans). No inference of manipulation of the democratic process by homosexuals can be drawn, however, any more than it could be inferred from the enactment of civil rights laws that African-Americans "are politically powerful out of proportion to their numbers." It is to the credit of American voters that they do not support only laws that are in their palpable self-interest. They support laws punishing cruelty to animals, even though not a single animal has a vote.</p> </blockquote> <p>Go <a href="http://media.ca7.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/rssExec.pl?Submit=Display&amp;Path=Y2014/D09-04/C:14-2388:J:Posner:aut:T:fnOp:N:1412338:S:0" target="_blank">read the whole thing</a>. It's wonderful.</p></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties Gay Rights Sex and Gender Fri, 05 Sep 2014 16:27:50 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 259731 at http://www.motherjones.com Active Shooter Drills Don't Really Prepare People, But They Do Make Them Cry http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/active-shooter-drills-lawsuits <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In the wake of the nation's many recent mass shootings, and in the absence of any meaningful gun control that might stem them, employers and schools have started training their staff&nbsp;to respond should a madman&nbsp;with a gun turn up on their doorsteps. "Active shooter" drills have become the norm in many school districts and downtown office buildings; in many schools, such drills are now mandated by the state. But it turns out that bringing SWAT teams into buildings to simulate an active shooter situation doesn't always make people feel safer. In fact, according to the <a href="http://online.wsj.com/articles/active-shooter-drills-spark-raft-of-legal-complaints-1409760255?tesla=y&amp;mod=djemITP_h&amp;mg=reno64-wsj&amp;url=http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204616804580099982551200228.html?mod=djemITP_h" target="_blank"><em>Wall Street Journal</em>,</a> such simulations have seriously traumatized and occasionally injured people, sparking a wave of lawsuits.</p> <p>The <em>Journal</em> tells several amazing stories of people who were injured or utterly freaked out during such drills, which often weren't announced ahead of time. One involves a Colorado nursing home employee whom a man&nbsp;forced at gunpoint into an empty room at work. The "shooter" was actually a local cop and the gun was fake, but the nurse was so scared that even when the "shooter" finally identified himself as a cop after she started crying and begging for her life, she wasn't really sure he was telling the truth. She was so traumatized that&nbsp;she had to quit her job and has since filed a lawsuit against the nursing home.</p> <p>Active shooter drills often feature scary looking shooters with realistic looking guns who shoot plastic bullets or blanks at participants, who are then supposed to attack the shooter or at least throw things at him. But apparently, far from creating an army of first responders, these drills often leave teachers and other participants hysterical. Critics told the <em>Journal</em> that the exercises have left school employees and others more terrified and ill-equipped to deal with a real shooting than they would have been otherwise:</p> <blockquote> <p>Some experts, however, say recreating the chaos of a mass shooting is no way to prime for emergencies. "There ends up being zero learning going on because everyone is upset that you've scared the crap out of them," said Greg Crane, a former SWAT officer with the North Richland Hills Police Department near Dallas who holds seminars to teach civilians different strategies to deal with mass-shooting scenarios.</p> </blockquote> <p>Given the obvious potential for trauma in active shooter drills, schools and post offices and other institutions worried about active shooters might just want to tell everyone to hide under their desks until help arrives.</p></body></html> MoJo Guns Fri, 05 Sep 2014 14:58:49 +0000 Stephanie Mencimer 259636 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for September 5, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/were-still-war-photo-day-september-5-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p class="rtecenter"><em>US Marines conduct live-fire training.(US Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Matthew Callahan)</em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Fri, 05 Sep 2014 13:47:11 +0000 259721 at http://www.motherjones.com FedEx Still Hasn’t Stopped Sponsoring Washington’s Football Team. This Smart Ad Takes Them to Task. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/watch-ad-fedex-corporate-sponsor-washington-redskins <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><object height="354" width="630"><param name="movie" value="//www.youtube.com/v/0Xr-xNjIjcg?version=3&amp;hl=en_US"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"><embed allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/v/0Xr-xNjIjcg?version=3&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="630"></embed></object>With the NFL season set to kick off tonight, Native American advocacy groups have ramped up their campaign against the racist name of the Washington football team. Their latest target? One of the [Redacted]'s biggest corporate sponsors, FedEx.</p> <p>In an ad commissioned by the <a href="http://nativevoicenetwork.nationbuilder.com/" target="_blank">Native Voice Network</a> called "FedEx Fail," a would-be FedEx customer is turned away when trying to ship a variety of items while wearing several different offensive costumes. But when he returns in [Redacted] gear and a cheap headdress, things change. "You are in luck," the Native American clerk tells the customer. "We at FedEx are Washington Redskins corporate sponsors! We embrace this sort of racism!"</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/09/04/new-anti-redskins-video-says-fedex-embraces-racism-156746" target="_blank"><em>Indian Country Today Media Network</em></a>, which first posted the video, spoke to the campaign's organizers:</p> <blockquote> <p dir="ltr"><span><span>"The point of the campaign is to build awareness that the Washington team name is racist," said Laura Harris, executive director of Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO). AIO is the main organizer of NVN. "FedEx has a great diversity statement for their employees and corporation," she said. "We think it's hypocritical of them to support an NFL team that uses a racist name when their diversity statement explicitly states they are against racism&hellip;Their sponsorship is not appropriate and not in line with their corporate policy."</span></span></p> </blockquote> <p>Notably, when colleague Matt Connolly and I contacted FedEx back in November about the name controversy, here's what a company spokesperson had to say:</p> <blockquote> <p>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.</p> </blockquote> <p>Washington's football team, which plays its home games at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, opens its season Sunday afternoon on the road against the Houston Texans.</p></body></html> MoJo Video Race and Ethnicity Sports Thu, 04 Sep 2014 22:15:36 +0000 Ian Gordon 259701 at http://www.motherjones.com Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell Convicted on Corruption Charges http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/bob-mcdonnell-corruption-trial-verdict <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A jury found former Republican Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell guilty on 11 counts of corruption on Thursday, ending a bizarre trial that featured bad shrimp, a broken marriage, and non-FDA approved dietary supplements. McDonnell's wife, Maureen, was found guilty on eight charges.</p> <p>The charges stemmed from the couple's relationship with Johnnie Williams, the former CEO of Star Scientific, Inc., a pharmaceutical company. Williams, dubbed the "tic-tac man" by the governor's staff, was pushing two new drugs, Antabloc and CigRx, and needed help getting the pills into doctors' offices. He lavished gifts on the McDonnells, paying for their daughter's wedding, taking Maureen on shopping sprees, and letting the couple borrow his "James Bond car"&mdash;an Aston Martin&mdash;for vacations. At one point, he bid against himself at a charity auction to win a free weekend with Maureen. In turn, the McDonnells became Star Scientific boosters. Maureen went so far as to <a href="http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/maureen-mcdonnell-ann-romney-anatabloc" target="_blank">pitch</a> Antabloc to prospective first lady Ann Romney, telling her it could help her MS.</p> <p>What's there to say about the trial? <em>BuzzFeed</em>'s Katherine Miller has the <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/katherinemiller/the-ordinary-insane-mcdonnell-meltdown" target="_blank">fullest</a> summation of what happened, but let's just call it a mess, a soap opera, the world's worst "Modern Love" column in legalese. It was also a useful corrective to the facade politicians sometimes present when they trot their families in front of the cameras before trying to legislate yours. McDonnell, whose master's thesis at Pat Robertson's Regent University <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2009/09/whats-mcdonnells-crazy-thesis" target="_blank">made the case</a> for covenant marriage and subservient roles for wives, built his defense on the theory that his own union was too much of a failure for him and his wife to mount a conspiracy. According to the governor, his wife was a paranoid loon who had a crush on the businessman who bought her nice dresses.</p> <p>At one point, a former aide to Maureen McDonnell&mdash;who called the former first lady a "<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/liveblog-live/liveblog/updates-day-eight-of-the-mcdonnell-corruption-trial/#944ccfe0-d78f-48d2-9685-3c27a341a287" target="_blank">nutbag</a>"&mdash;testified that she had received a text message from the governor's wife alleging that the couple's chef was <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/liveblog-live/liveblog/updates-day-eight-of-the-mcdonnell-corruption-trial/?id=7984494f-92b1-4238-b979-94ac25bd0087" target="_blank">attempting to ruin Christmas</a> by serving them bad shrimp. Fed up with the McDonnells (who had accused him of stealing food), the chef, Todd Schneider, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/01/bob-mcdonnell-scandal-indictment-explained" target="_blank">handed</a> a trove of documents to federal investigators in 2012 that led to the probe. The lesson, as always, is to be nice to the people who prepare your food.</p></body></html> MoJo Crime and Justice Top Stories Thu, 04 Sep 2014 20:04:33 +0000 Tim Murphy 259666 at http://www.motherjones.com Fast-Food Workers Arrested In Fight For $15 Minimum Wage http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/fast-food-worker-strike-civil-disobedience <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Thursday, nearly two years after fast-food employees <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/12/how-fast-food-strikes-started" target="_blank">first walked off the job</a> in New York City, workers in dozens of cities around the country are staging a <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-01/fast-food-workers-seeking-raises-to-strike-in-150-cities.html" target="_blank">new round of strikes</a> aimed at winning workers a $15 minimum wage and the right to form a union. This spate of walk-outs will see a significant escalation in tactics: home healthcare workers will join the day of action, and some workers will engage in civil disobedience. Several <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/09/04/fast-food-restaurants-strike-mcdonalds-wendys-burger-king-taco-bell/15058943/" target="_blank">have already been arrested</a>.</p> <p>"On Thursday, we are prepared to take arrests to show our commitment to the growing fight for $15," Terrence Wise, a Kansas City Burger King employee and a member of the fast-food workers&rsquo; national organizing committee, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/02/business/fast-food-workers-seeking-higher-wages-plan-another-strike.html?_r=0" target="_blank">said in a statement earlier this week</a>.</p> <p>Employees at restaurant chains including McDonalds, Pizza Hut, and Burger King are walking off the job and staging sit-ins in 150 cities nationwide, from Chicago to Oakland, Pittsburg to Seattle. During the last one-day strike in May, workers protested in 150 US cities and 80 foreign cities, forcing several franchises to close for part of the day.</p> <p>So far, the massive chains have been resistant to bumping up workers&rsquo; wages. Nevertheless, the movement has dealt some serious setbacks to one of the biggest fast-food employers: McDonald's. The company's public image was tarnished significantly between 2013 and 2014, <a href="http://www.nielsen.com/content/dam/corporate/us/en/reports-downloads/2014%20Reports/harris-poll-2014-rq-summary-report.pdf" target="_blank">according to a recent study</a> quantifying companies&rsquo; reputations. McDonald's sales have fallen <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/mcdonalds-global-sales-fall-2014-8" target="_blank">over the past year</a> amid <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-10/mcdonald-s-february-sales-drop-as-u-s-slumps.html" target="_blank">ramped up scrutiny</a> from Congress over its poverty wages. And in July, the National Labor Relations Board <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/mcdonalds-nlrb-ruling-worker-lawsuits" target="_blank">ruled</a> that McDonald&rsquo;s corporate can be held liable in worker lawsuits over wage-theft and working conditions. (The company had been arguing that it does not exert significant control over its franchises&rsquo; employment practices.)</p> <p>The Service Employees Industrial Union, which has backed the workers from the start, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/02/business/fast-food-workers-seeking-higher-wages-plan-another-strike.html?_r=0" target="_blank">hopes</a> the addition of some of the nation&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/02/business/fast-food-workers-seeking-higher-wages-plan-another-strike.html?_r=0" target="_blank">2 million home healthcare aides</a> to the growing movement will put additional pressure on states and localities to raise their minimum wage.</p> <p>On Labor Day, President Barack Obama gave the fast-food worker movement a morale boost. "All across the country right now there&rsquo;s a national movement going on made up of fast-food workers organizing to lift wages so they can provide for their families with pride and dignity," the president said. "There is no denying a simple truth. America deserves a raise."</p></body></html> MoJo Corporations Economy Labor Thu, 04 Sep 2014 15:45:10 +0000 Erika Eichelberger 259631 at http://www.motherjones.com Idaho Professor Accidentally Shoots Himself While Teaching Class http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/idaho-professor-shoots-self-guns-campus <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Allowing college students and faculty to carry <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/01/gun-laws-college-campus-lone-star-shooting" target="_blank">guns on campus</a> makes everybody safer, right?</p> <p>If you answered that the way the NRA does, then maybe consider what just happened at Idaho State University on Tuesday afternoon: A professor was wounded when the gun he had in his pocket accidentally went off. According to local news outlet KIDK, the professor (who had a concealed-carry permit but hasn't been identified at this point) was in the middle of teaching class when he literally <a href="http://m.localnews8.com/news/gun-fired-on-isu-campus/27845854" target="_blank">shot himself in the foot</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Around 4 p.m. Tuesday, Public Safety received a call about an accidental discharge of a concealed weapon in the Physical Science building. A student said the gun went off in the middle of the class.</p> <p>Police said the small-caliber handgun was in the professor's pants pocket and was not displayed at any time. They said the professor was able to leave of his own accord. He was treated and released from the hospital.</p> </blockquote> <p>In March, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter signed a bill into law allowing permit holders to bring their guns onto public college and university campuses, despite polls showing <a href="http://www.idahostatesman.com/2014/03/12/3076771_otter-signs-campus-guns-bill-into.html?rh=1" target="_blank">overwhelming opposition</a> from students and education leaders in the state. As the <em>Idaho Statesman</em> noted at the time, "Aside from perhaps agriculture, the NRA is the most powerful interest group in the Idaho Republican Party."</p> <p><em>How did a 9-year-old girl end up <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/uzi-arizona-9-year-old-girl" target="_blank">killing with an Uzi</a>? And why did the NRA <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/nra-arizona-uzi-tweet-guns" target="_blank">promote fun for kids with guns</a> in the aftermath? See <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/topics/guns" target="_blank">all of our latest coverage here</a>, and our award-winning <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/special-reports/2013/12/newtown-shooting-one-year-later" target="_blank">special</a> <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/special-reports/2012/12/guns-in-america-mass-shootings" target="_blank">reports</a>.</em></p> <div style="width: 1px; height: 1px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font: 10pt sans-serif; text-align: left; text-transform: none; overflow: hidden;"><br> Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2014/03/12/3076771_otter-signs-campus-guns-bill-into.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy</div></body></html> MoJo Education Guns Top Stories Wed, 03 Sep 2014 16:45:31 +0000 Mark Follman 259591 at http://www.motherjones.com The Arab World's Version of the Ice Bucket Challenge: Burning ISIS Flags http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/lebanon-isis-flag-burning-challenge <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On <a href="http://www.aawsat.net/2014/08/article55336075" target="_blank">Saturday</a>, three Lebanese young men&nbsp;in Beirut protested the Islamic State by burning the extremist group's flag, a black banner emblazoned with the Muslim tenet "there is no god but God and Muhammed is his prophet." The teens then posted a video of the flag-burning online, exhorting others to do the same to demonstrate their opposition to the movement led by&nbsp;Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In recent weeks, the Islamic State has allegedly <a href="http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/09/01/lebanonis-soldier-beheading-war-crime-if-confirmed" target="_blank">beheaded</a> a Lebanese army sergeant and kidnapped about 20&nbsp;Lebanese soldiers. The flag-burning campaign, modeled on the viral "Ice Bucket <a href="http://www.alsa.org/fight-als/ice-bucket-challenge.html" target="_blank">Challenge</a>," quickly took off on social media under the hashtag&nbsp;#BurnISISFlagChallenge. "I nominate the whole world to #Burn_ISIS_Flag_Challenge. You have 24 hours. GO!!" <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvQJqhcRtts&amp;feature=youtu.be" target="_blank">wrote one</a> Lebanese YouTube user.<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Verdana, Tahoma, Arial, Helvetica, 'Bitstream Vera Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 15px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 25px; orphans: auto; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; display: inline !important; float: none; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 204);"> </span></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/LvQJqhcRtts?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Though the campaign hasn't spread throughout the world yet, it has received considerable attention in Lebanon, where many citizens have rallied behind the cause. But some Lebanese officials are not happy about the protest. Lebanese Minister of Justice Ashraf Rifi has <a href="http://www.aawsat.net/2014/08/article55336075" target="_blank">called</a> for the "sternest punishment" for the flag burners for their "insult" to the Islamic religion and its symbols. He contends the flag is a religious relic, not a symbol of the Islamic State. And he claimed the flag-burning could "stir up sectarian conflicts" and, consequently, was illegal under Lebanese law, <a href="http://www.aawsat.net/2014/08/article55336075" target="_blank">according to newspaper </a><em>Asharq al-Aswat</em>.</p> <p>Nabil Naqoula, a member of Lebanon's Change and Reform parliamentary bloc, took issue with Rifi and maintained that the protesters who started the movement <a href="http://www.aawsat.net/2014/08/article55336075" target="_blank">did not intend</a> "to insult the Islamic religion." Ibrahim Kanaan, a member of the same group, offered legal support to the three young men who launched the flag-burning frenzy if they are charged with a crime.</p> <p>The Islamic State's flag has flown everywhere from a Chicago motorists' window <a href="http://rt.com/usa/183756-chicago-isis-flag-bomb/" target="_blank">last Wednesday</a> as he made bomb threats against the police, to the streets of Tabqa in northeast Syria where the extremist group <a href="http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/breaking-isis-rebels-syria-seize-taqba-airport-1462454" target="_blank">seized</a> a military airbase. The black banner has become synonymous with the group's radical violence and mercilessness.&nbsp;</p> <p>Here are a few examples of Lebanese activists taking the flag-burning challenge:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Lebanese youths in Beirut burn the ISIS flag <a href="http://t.co/7a8gTOHVFG">pic.twitter.com/7a8gTOHVFG</a></p> &mdash; Sunny Hundal (@sunny_hundal) <a href="https://twitter.com/sunny_hundal/statuses/505712079874306048">August 30, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>The Jewish Press &raquo; &raquo; Burn Your ISIS Flag Today [video] <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BurnISISFlagChallenge?src=hash">#BurnISISFlagChallenge</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/isis?src=hash">#isis</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Israel?src=hash">#Israel</a> <a href="http://t.co/IeR0LbUK33">http://t.co/IeR0LbUK33</a> <a href="http://t.co/DULQDOkz8O">pic.twitter.com/DULQDOkz8O</a></p> &mdash; Bolo (@Bolo1970) <a href="https://twitter.com/Bolo1970/statuses/506167620027301888">August 31, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p><a href="https://twitter.com/Hedge76">@Hedge76</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/SDassy">@SDassy</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/anjemchoudary">@anjemchoudary</a> make sure to burn an isis flag. <a href="http://t.co/GDf9WYcHBz">pic.twitter.com/GDf9WYcHBz</a></p> &mdash; &acirc;&#152;&nbsp;&atilde;&#130;&cedil;&atilde;&#131;&sect;&atilde;&#131;&frac14;&atilde;&#130;&laquo;&atilde;&#131;&frac14;&acirc;&#152;&nbsp; (@Shadow__Creeper) <a href="https://twitter.com/Shadow__Creeper/statuses/502290073468280832">August 21, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></body></html> MoJo Human Rights International Iraq Military Religion Wed, 03 Sep 2014 15:44:48 +0000 Jenna McLaughlin 259481 at http://www.motherjones.com Powerful Reporting From Steven Sotloff, the Second Journalist ISIS Executed http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/steven-sotloff-isis-war-journalist-syria-libia <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><div align="center"> <div style="background-color:#fff;display:inline-block;align:center;font-family:'Helvetica Neue',Arial,sans-serif;color:#a7a7a7;font-size:11px;width:100%;max-width:594px;min-width:300px;"> <div style="overflow:hidden;position:relative;height:0;padding:63.804714% 0 0 0;width:100%;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="379" scrolling="no" src="//embed.gettyimages.com/embed/453949688?et=u83XFGfoS9FldF0NKmDvQA&amp;sig=lvBPXQbPYxPEgeWtD9B86B6SxxPzuSWeN3Ka-JekT0Q=" style="display:inline-block;position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;" width="594"></iframe></div> <p><em>Steven Sotloff (center with black helmet) talks to Libyan rebels on the Al Dafniya front line near&nbsp;in Misrata, Libya in 2011.</em></p> </div> </div> <p>A video released today appeared to confirm the worst fears for the fate of captured American journalist Steven Sotloff: a beheading at the hands of Islamic State extremists. The video's authenticity has not yet been confirmed by US officials, but the <em>New York Times </em><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/03/world/middleeast/steven-sotloff-isis-execution.html?_r=0" target="_blank">reports</a> that Sotloff's family believes he has been killed. If so, that means the 31-year-old Sotloff&mdash;who went missing a year ago while reporting in Syria&mdash;becomes the second American journalist executed by the Islamic State.</p> <p>Last month, a video surfaced showing ISIS fighters executing American journalist James Foley. Many on the Internet seethed that the gruesome circumstances of his death appeared to overshadow his important work. The same shouldn't happen to Sotloff. Ignore the sensational headlines and instead explore some of the brave, intelligent journalism he devoted his life to producing:</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/01/14/syrian_purgatory" target="_blank">"Syrian Purgatory"</a>:</strong> In this 2013 piece for <em>Foreign Policy</em>, Sotloff traveled to a Syrian refugee camp to report on the hundreds of thousands displaced by the civil war there. His chilling opening sets the tone for a story about the plight of refugees and the pitfalls of humanitarian aid: "It was less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and the winter wind cut to the bone. When I asked why she didn't have a blanket like everyone else at the Atmeh refugee camp, [Um Ibrahim] shrugged and looked down. 'I sold it to buy bread for my children.'"</p> <p><a href="http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/12/24/from_bread_lines_to_front_lines" target="_blank"><strong>"From Bread Lines to Front Lines:"</strong></a> Again in <em>Foreign Policy</em>, Sotloff went to Aleppo&mdash;one of the most devastated cities in Syria&mdash;to show how traumatic the daily lives of ordinary Syrians had become by late 2012. "The 21-month long Syrian revolution is taking its toll on residents of the country&rsquo;s largest city," he wrote. "With everything from medicine to firewood in scarce supply, and with winter bringing temperatures down to&nbsp;near freezing,&nbsp;people here are struggling to cope with a war they just hope will end."</p> <p><a href="http://world.time.com/2012/10/21/the-other-911-libyan-guards-recount-what-happened-in-benghazi/" target="_blank"><strong>"The Other 9/11: Libyan Guards Recount What Happened in Benghazi:"</strong></a> For this <em>TIME </em>article, Sotloff&mdash;who covered Libya extensively for the magazine&mdash;interviewed Libyan security guards present when the US consulate in Benghazi was attacked. The result is a vivid, meticulous timeline of the events of September 11, 2012. One example: "Abdullah ran towards the cantina east of C villa where a grenade exploded nearby. 'I remember the shrapnel that landed in my leg was very hot and I was shaken, a bit dizzy,' he recalled. A group of attackers then passed him on the way to encircling the cantina. They shot him twice in the leg. Others beat him so hard he lost consciousness."</p> <p><a href="http://world.time.com/2012/11/26/libyas-new-crisis-a-wave-of-assassinations-targeting-its-top-cops/" target="_blank"><strong>"Libya's New Crisis: A Wave of Assassinations Targeting Its Top Cops:"</strong></a> Here, Sotloff reported on the deadly aftershocks of the Benghazi attacks. In explaining the rash of killings of major Libyan security officials, Sotloff paints a compelling picture of the deterioration of post-Qaddafi Libya. "But the biggest loser today is a Libyan state stumbling from one crisis to the next," he writes. "The government has not investigated the bombings and no one has been prosecuted."</p> <p><a href="http://world.time.com/2012/09/10/the-alawite-towns-that-support-syrias-assad-in-turkey/" target="_blank"><strong>"The Alawite Towns That Support Syria's Assad&mdash;in Turkey:"</strong></a> <em>TIME </em>featured some of Sotloff's early reporting on the war in Syria. In 2012, he traveled to Turkey to report on Turkish Alawites' support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In doing so, he put himself in the thick of anti-American protests. "When an American journalist stops to ask about the group's activities, though, a burly man in his 30s hisses him away, shouting, "America is funding terrorists in Syria!'"</p></body></html> MoJo International Iraq Media Top Stories Tue, 02 Sep 2014 22:27:47 +0000 Sam Brodey 259501 at http://www.motherjones.com Surprise! Eric Cantor Lands $3.4 Million Job on Wall Street http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/eric-cantor-cashes-34-million-wall-street <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>After Rep. Eric Cantor <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/06/eric-cantor-dave-brat-what-happened" target="_blank">lost his primary</a> to a tea party challenger in June, he could have stayed on as a lame duck, collecting his salary and voting as a full member of Congress through January 2015. Instead, Cantor decided to step down from his job as the GOP's majority leader and resign his seat early. Cantor claimed that the decision to call it quits was in the interests of his constituents. "I want to make sure that the constituents in the 7th District will have a voice in what will be a very consequential lame-duck session," Cantor <a href="http://www.timesdispatch.com/news/state-regional/virginia-politics/cantor-to-resign-from-congress-on-aug/article_b62e871b-fa55-57fe-9019-6efaf52cbcc7.html" target="_blank">said</a> at the time, explaining that he'd timed his decision so his replacement could be seated as soon as possible.</p> <p>No one believed it&mdash;on August 1, the <em>Huffington Post</em>'s Arthur Delaney and Eliot Nelson <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/01/huffpost-hill_n_5642842.html" target="_blank">wrote</a> that voters would soon hear about "Eric Cantor's forthcoming finance job." A month later, their prediction has proven true: On Monday, the <em>Wall Street Journal </em>reported that Cantor will soon start work at Moelis &amp; Co, an investment bank. Cantor&mdash;whose experience prior to becoming a professional politician largely consisted of working in the family real estate development business&mdash;will earn a hefty salary for his lack of expertise: <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/details-of-eric-cantor-pay-package-2014-9" target="_blank">According</a> to <em>Business Insider</em>, he's set to make $3.4 million from the investment firm. "Mr. Moelis said he is hiring Mr. Cantor for his "judgment and experience" and ability to open doors&mdash;and not just for help navigating regulatory and political waters in Washington," the <em>Journal</em> <a href="http://online.wsj.com/articles/eric-cantor-to-join-wall-street-investment-bank-1409630638" target="_blank">reported</a>.</p> <p>Democrats sell out, too. In 2010, former Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh announced his plans to retire in 2010 in a <em>New York Times</em> <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/21/opinion/21bayh.html?pagewanted=all" target="_blank">op-ed</a> that bemoaned the lack of bipartisan friendships in the modern Senate and attacked the influence of money in politics. Yet shortly after he left Congress, Bayh <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/post/the-sad-hypocritical-retirement-of-evan-bayh/2011/03/10/AB4MZzY_blog.html" target="_blank">signed up</a> with law firm McGuireWoods and private equity firm Apollo Global Management and began acting as a lobbyist for corporate clients in all but name. Less than a year later, he <a href="http://www.publicintegrity.org/2011/06/07/4825/chamber-commerce-hires-odd-couple-evan-bayh-and-andy-card-anti-regs-roadshow" target="_blank">joined</a> the US Chamber of Commerce as an adviser. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) pulled a similar trick, promising "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/30/chris-dodd-no-lobbying-fo_n_699099.html" target="_blank">no lobbying, no lobbying,</a>" before taking a <a href="http://thehill.com/policy/technology/146769-mpaa-names-former-sen-chris-dodd-chairman-a-ceo" target="_blank">$1-million-plus</a> job as the head of the Motion Picture Association of America, Hollywood's main lobbying group.</p> <p>According to the Center for Responsive Politics, <a href="http://www.opensecrets.org/revolving/top.php?display=Z" target="_blank">417</a> ex-lawmakers hold lobbyist or lobbyist-like jobs.</p></body></html> MoJo Congress Corporations Money in Politics The Right Top Stories Wall Street Tue, 02 Sep 2014 17:56:46 +0000 Patrick Caldwell 259456 at http://www.motherjones.com