Political Mojo | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/Blogs/2008/05/riff/2009/08/whale-billboard-peta-please http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en Jeb Bush Made Millions But Gave Little to Charity http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/how-much-money-jeb-bush-gave-charity-tax-returns <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Jeb Bush released <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/06/jeb-bush-tax-returns" target="_blank">33 years of tax returns</a> on Tuesday evening. So how much did he give to charity over the years?</p> <p>Not that much. Between 2003 and 2013, Bush gave 1.5 percent of his income to charity, according to the lists of charitable deductions in the tax returns. That's about half the national average of 3 percent, according to <a href="http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&amp;cpid=519#.VZMahaaGN_8" target="_blank">Charity Navigator</a>.</p> <p>In a letter posted on his website, Bush says he has given $739,000 to charity between 2007 and 2014, which indicates that he increased his annual rate of giving substantially last year. (His 2014 tax return will be released in the fall, according to his campaign.) "Since I left the&nbsp;governor's&nbsp;office I have tried to give back&mdash;and even though all of us strive to do more&mdash;I'm proud of what Columba and I have contributed," he wrote.</p> <p>Bush's charitable donations as a percentage of his income is substantially less than the <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/obamas-gifts-to-charity-just-1-percent/2012/02/14/gIQAXuMDER_blog.html" target="_blank">13.8 percent</a> given by Mitt Romney in the year before he launched his last presidential campaign. Bill and Hillary Clinton gave away about $10 million in the years leading up to the 2008 election, with <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/04/05/ST2008040502593.html" target="_blank">much of that money</a> going to the family's foundation. That was about 10 percent of their income. The Obamas <a href="http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/04/11/tax-returns-reveal-exactly-how-much-obama-and-biden-give-to-charity-how-do-you-stack-up/" target="_blank">gave</a> 15 percent of their income to charity in 2014. (The Bidens' charitable giving was far lower: 2 percent.)</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="450" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="//mjdwcharts.s3.amazonaws.com/KDf5s/2/index.html" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe></p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Top Stories Jeb Bush Tue, 30 Jun 2015 23:45:34 +0000 Tim Murphy 278806 at http://www.motherjones.com The NSA Just Got Six More Months of Unlimited Snooping in Your Phone Data http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/nsa-just-got-six-more-months-unlimited-snooping-your-phone-data <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Almost as soon as Congress passed the USA Freedom Act earlier this month, which ended the National Security Agency's mass collection of phone records under the Patriot Act, the government moved to keep that program around for as long as it could. Administration lawyers went before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees government surveillance requests, and argued that because the new law gives the NSA six months to shut down the program, the NSA should be able to keep vacuuming up this metadata until then&mdash;even though the Patriot Act had briefly expired, ending the legal authorization for such bulk collection.</p> <p>Today we learned <a href="http://www.nationaljournal.com/tech/court-revives-defunct-nsa-mass-surveillance-program-20150630" target="_blank">the government won that argument</a>: the <em>National Journal</em> obtained a ruling from the FISA court saying this bulk collection can continue for the next six months.</p> <p>"Congress deliberately carved out a 180-day period following the date of enactment in which such collection was specifically authorized," wrote Judge Michael Mosman in the ruling. "For this reason, the Court approves the application."</p> <p>The good news for privacy advocates is that there was, for the first time, actually an argument at the FISA court on the issue. I wrote earlier this month about how the USA Freedom Act is <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/06/usa-freedom-act-fisa-court-transparency" target="_blank">meant to open up the&nbsp;court</a>, and one of the ways it does so is by giving federal judges who sit on the FISA court the option of bringing in what's called an "amicus panel," a group of outside experts who can advise the court on privacy concerns. That panel hasn't yet been appointed, but Mosman allowed former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to join the proceedings and argue against restarting bulk collection. Cuccinelli and FreedomWorks, the tea party-aligned conservative group, <a href="http://www.nationaljournal.com/tech/ken-cuccinelli-asks-court-to-block-obama-admin-from-reviving-nsa-spying-program-20150608" target="_blank">already tried to block the program</a> earlier this month.</p> <p>But judges can also decline to use an amicus panel or a stand-in. Dennis Saylor IV, another federal district judge who sits on the FISA court, chose this path in a case two weeks ago because he considered his pro-government ruling one in which "no reasonable jurist would reach a different decision."</p> <p>That, civil liberties advocates say, is exactly why the amicus panel is needed. "His decision does not even acknowledge the existence of any other interpretation of the law," Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, notes in an email. "That&rsquo;s simply bad judging.&hellip;Congress may need to consider whether to make amicus participation mandatory rather than leave it to the court&rsquo;s discretion."</p> <p>A footnote in Saylor's decision revealed another potential basis for the FISA court to reject the privacy panel: money. "There may be other circumstances, as well, where appointment of an amicus curiae is not appropriate," Saylor wrote. "For example, such an appointment would in most instances result in some degree of additional expense and delay."</p> <p>Saylor didn't rule on whether time and cost are sufficient grounds not to appoint an amicus. But as Steve Vladeck of American University's Washington College of Law points out<em>, </em>"Judge Saylor tries hard to say he&rsquo;s not saying that, but he is surely suggesting it. That makes no sense to me, since there&rsquo;s no other context in which courts pay for amici." The footnote still leaves open the prospect that the FISA court could choose not to appoint outside experts simply because finding them could be a pain in the ass.</p></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties NSA Tue, 30 Jun 2015 18:34:47 +0000 Max J. Rosenthal 277891 at http://www.motherjones.com Gov. Jerry Brown Signs Landmark Bill Requiring Childhood Vaccinations http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/jerry-brown-signs-bill-requiring-childhood-vaccinations <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Amid heavy pushback from anti-vaccine groups, California Governor Jerry Brown signed <a href="http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billHistoryClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160SB277" target="_blank">legislation today</a> officially putting an end to the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/02/measles-outbreak-personal-belief-exemptions" target="_blank">personal belief exemptions</a> that let parents opt out of vaccinating their kids for reasons of philosophy or conscience. California is now just one of just three states that does not allow nonmedical exemptions.</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/screen_shot_2015-01-27_at_11.49.32_am_4.png" 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 stories on vaccines and outbreaks: </p> </div> </div> <!-- linked stories --> <div id="mininav-linked-stories"> <ul><span id="linked-story-250161"> <li><a href="/environment/2014/04/how-many-kids-die-vaccine-preventable-diseases"> Vaccines Work. These 8 Charts Prove It. </a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-243531"> <li><a href="/kevin-drum/2014/01/map-day-high-cost-vaccine-hysteria"> Map: The High Cost of Vaccine Hysteria</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-244996"> <li><a href="/environment/2014/02/vaccine-exemptions-states-pertussis-map"> How Many People Aren&acirc;&#128;&#153;t Vaccinating Their Kids in Your State?</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-252986"> <li><a href="/mojo/2014/05/measles-us-new-high"> Measles Cases in the US Are at a 20-Year High. Thanks, Anti-Vaxxers.</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-259976"> <li><a href="/environment/2014/09/nova-vaccine-special-whooping-cough"> This PBS Special Makes the Most Powerful Argument for Vaccines Yet</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-267816"> <li><a href="/blue-marble/2015/01/measles-outbreak-disneyland-anti-vaxxers"> Mickey Mouse Still Stricken With Measles, Thanks to the Anti-Vaxxers </a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-235641"> <li><a href="/environment/2013/10/vaccine-denial-conspiracy-theories-gmos-climate"> If You Distrust Vaccines, You're More Likely to Think NASA Faked the Moon Landings</a></li> </span> </ul></div> <!-- footer content --> </div> <p>The bill, introduced in February by Sen. Sen. Richard Pan (a pediatrician), came in response to the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/01/measles-outbreak-disneyland-anti-vaxxers" target="_blank">Disneyland outbreak</a>, which infected more than 100 people across the US and Mexico at the beginning of this year. Measles, a preventable but dangerous disease, has <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/05/measles-us-new-high" target="_blank">been on the rise in recent years</a> due in large part to the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/02/measles-outbreak-personal-belief-exemptions" target="_blank">increase in people claiming the exemption.</a> Many of those infected were too young, or medically unable to get the vaccine. Public health officials <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/02/measles-outbreak-personal-belief-exemptions" target="_blank">expressed concerns</a> that measles could become endemic again&mdash;putting everyone at risk&mdash;if vaccination coverage continued to fall.</p> <p>The new law should close those vaccination gaps by requiring that all children enrolled in school be up to date on shots against 10 childhood diseases, unless a doctor determines they are medically unable to receive vaccines. Parents who decide against these mandatory vaccines would be forced to homeschool.</p> <p>Vaccines <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/04/how-many-kids-die-vaccine-preventable-diseases" target="_blank">are extremely effective</a> at preventing illness and are championed across all health agencies, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the World Health Organization. Still, there's still a large contingent of anti-vaxxers, and the legislation was hotly contested. <em>The</em> <em>LA Times</em> <a href="http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-ln-california-legislature-expected-to-pass-tough-vaccination-law-20150628-story.html" target="_blank">reports</a> that Sen. Pan has received death threats and his foes have even filed for his recall.</p> <p>Gov. Brown acknowledged how divisive the issue has become, but stressed how important vaccination is to keeping people healthy: "The science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases. While it's true that no medical intervention is without risk, the evidence shows that immunization powerfully benefits and protects the community."</p> <p>Here's his full statement:</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-2126887-ciw6scqvaaac67c">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/viewer/loader.js"></script><script> DV.load("//www.documentcloud.org/documents/2126887-ciw6scqvaaac67c.js", { width: 630, height: 450, sidebar: false, container: "#DV-viewer-2126887-ciw6scqvaaac67c" }); </script><noscript> <a href="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/2126887/ciw6scqvaaac67c.pdf">CIw6scQVAAAc67C (PDF)</a> <br><a href="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/2126887/ciw6scqvaaac67c.txt">CIw6scQVAAAc67C (Text)</a> </noscript></body></html> MoJo Health Regulatory Affairs Science Top Stories vaccines Tue, 30 Jun 2015 17:50:02 +0000 Gabrielle Canon 278711 at http://www.motherjones.com Bree Newsome Explains Why She Tore Down the Confederate Flag in South Carolina http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/bree-newsome-explains-why-she-tore-down-confederate-flag <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Monday afternoon, Bree Newsome, the woman who scaled the flagpole at the South Carolina statehouse on Saturday and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/watch-badass-woman-scale-statehouse-flagpole-take-down-confederate-flag" target="_blank">took down the Confederate flag</a>, made her first public comments since her arrest, which were published on the progressive website <a href="http://bluenationreview.com/exclusive-bree-newsome-speaks-for-the-first-time-after-courageous-act-of-civil-disobedience" target="_blank"><em>Blue Nation Review</em></a>. She detailed her recent history of activism and described her motivation:</p> <blockquote> <p>The night of the Charleston Massacre, I had a crisis of faith. The people who gathered for Bible study in Emmanuel AME Church that night&mdash;Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Myra Thompson and Rev. Clementa Pinckney (rest in peace)&mdash;were only doing what Christians are called to do when anyone knocks on the door of the church: invite them into fellowship and worship.</p> <p>The day after the massacre I was asked what the next step was and I said I didn&rsquo;t know. We&rsquo;ve been here before and here we are again: black people slain simply for being black; an attack on the black church as a place of spiritual refuge and community organization.<br> I refuse to be ruled by fear. How can America be free and be ruled by fear? How can anyone be?</p> <p>So, earlier this week I gathered with a small group of concerned citizens, both black and white, who represented various walks of life, spiritual beliefs, gender identities and sexual orientations. Like millions of others in America and around the world, including South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and President Barack Obama, we felt (and still feel) that the confederate battle flag in South Carolina, hung in 1962 at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, must come down. (Of course, we are not the first to demand the flag&rsquo;s removal. Civil rights groups in South Carolina and nationwide have been calling for the flag&rsquo;s removal since the moment it was raised, and I acknowledge their efforts in working to remove the flag over the years via the legislative process.)</p> <p>We discussed it and decided to remove the flag immediately, both as an act of civil disobedience and as a demonstration of the power people have when we work together.</p> </blockquote> <p>Explaining why she worked together with fellow activist James Ian Tyson, she continued:</p> <blockquote> <p>Achieving this would require many roles, including someone who must volunteer to scale the pole and remove the flag. It was decided that this role should go to a black woman and that a white man should be the one to help her over the fence as a sign that our alliance transcended both racial and gender divides. We made this decision because for us, this is not simply about a flag, but rather it is about abolishing the spirit of hatred and oppression in all its forms.</p> </blockquote> <p>Read Newsome's whole statement <a href="http://bluenationreview.com/exclusive-bree-newsome-speaks-for-the-first-time-after-courageous-act-of-civil-disobedience" target="_blank">here</a>.</p></body></html> MoJo Crime and Justice Media Race and Ethnicity Charleston church shooting Mon, 29 Jun 2015 22:29:03 +0000 By Mother Jones news team 278721 at http://www.motherjones.com The Supreme Court Just Stopped Texas From Closing Almost All Of Its Abortion Clinics http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/supreme-court-texas-abortion-clinics <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The Supreme Court on Monday <a href="http://www.supremecourt.gov/orders/courtorders/062915zr_6j37.pdf" target="_blank">halted</a> key portions of Texas's <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/06/federal-court-texas-law-will-close-majority-abortion-clinics" target="_blank">anti-abortion law</a> from going into effect that would have shutdown all but nine abortion clinics in the state. The stay will remain in place while abortion rights advocates prepare to <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/06/supreme-court-abortion-texas-election" target="_blank">take their case</a> seeking to overturn portions of the Texas law to the Supreme Court.</p> <p>The court's four most conservative justices, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas, dissented from the order, indicating they would have let the clinics close.</p> <p>From the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/30/us/supreme-court-allows-texas-abortion-clinics-to-remain-open.html?smid=nytnow-share&amp;smprod=nytnow&amp;_r=0" target="_blank"><em>New York Times</em></a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>The case concerns two parts of a state law that imposes strict requirements on abortion providers. One requires all abortion clinics in the state to meet the standards for &ldquo;ambulatory surgical centers,&rdquo; including regulations concerning buildings, equipment and staffing. The other requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.</p> <p>Other parts of the law took effect in 2013, causing about half of the state&rsquo;s 41 abortion clinics to close.</p> </blockquote> <p>Read the order:</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-2120406-the-supreme-court-just-stopped-texas-from">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/viewer/loader.js"></script><script> DV.load("//www.documentcloud.org/documents/2120406-the-supreme-court-just-stopped-texas-from.js", { width: 630, height: 420, sidebar: false, text: false, pdf: false, container: "#DV-viewer-2120406-the-supreme-court-just-stopped-texas-from" }); </script></body></html> MoJo Reproductive Rights Supreme Court Mon, 29 Jun 2015 20:13:48 +0000 Pema Levy 278716 at http://www.motherjones.com Supreme Court Justice Calls Death Penalty Drug "Equiva­lent of Being Burned at the Stake" http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/sotomayor-death-penalty-burned-at-stake <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Monday, the Supreme Court <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/06/supreme-court-approves-controversial-lethal-injection-drug" target="_blank">upheld</a> the use of the drug midazolam for lethal injections in a 5&ndash;4 decision that pitted the five conservative justices against the four liberal ones. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who wrote her own dissent, argued that the use of the drug, which prolongs the execution process and sometimes doesn't work at all, was in violation of the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on "cruel and unusual punishment." Then she went a step further, comparing the drug to a more notorious form of punishment&mdash;the burning of heretics at the stake:</p> <blockquote> <p>[T]he Court today turns aside petitioners&rsquo; plea that they at least be allowed a stay of execution while they seek to prove midazolam&rsquo;s inadequacy. The Court achieves this result in two ways: first, by deferring to the District Court&rsquo;s decision to credit the scientifically unsup&shy;ported and implausible testimony of a single expert wit&shy;ness; and second, by faulting petitioners for failing to satisfy the wholly novel requirement of proving the avail&shy;ability of an alternative means for their own executions. On both counts the Court errs. As a result, it leaves peti&shy;tioners exposed to what may well be the chemical equiva&shy;lent of being burned at the stake.</p> </blockquote> <p>Later in her dissent, Sotomayor added a few more comparisons for good measure. "Under the Court's new rule, it would not matter whether the State intended to use midazolam, or instead to have petitioners drawn and quartered, slowly tortured to death, or actually burned at the stake."</p> <p>Justice Stephen Breyer, in a separate dissent, went a step further, arguing that the death penalty itself might be unconstitutional.</p></body></html> MoJo Crime and Justice Supreme Court Top Stories Mon, 29 Jun 2015 14:45:31 +0000 Tim Murphy 278651 at http://www.motherjones.com The Supreme Court Just Struck Down Obama Regulations on Power Plants. Read the Opinion Here. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/supreme-court-epa-regulations <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled against EPA&nbsp;regulations to limit mercury emissions and other pollutants at power plants. Read the opinion in its entirety below:</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-2115351-scotus-epa-decision">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/viewer/loader.js"></script><script> DV.load("//www.documentcloud.org/documents/2115351-scotus-epa-decision.js", { width: 630, height: 420, sidebar: false, text: false, pdf: false, container: "#DV-viewer-2115351-scotus-epa-decision" }); </script></body></html> MoJo Climate Change Climate Desk Supreme Court Mon, 29 Jun 2015 14:45:00 +0000 Inae Oh 278631 at http://www.motherjones.com Watch Badass Woman Scale Statehouse Flagpole, Take Down Confederate Flag http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/watch-badass-woman-scale-statehouse-flagpole-take-down-confederate-flag <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A woman named Bree Newsome just scaled the flagpole in front of the South Carolina state capitol and took down the Confederate flag. She was then arrested. Badass. Too bad state workers promptly put it back up.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/gr-mt1P94cQ?rel=0&amp;controls=0&amp;showinfo=0" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> MoJo Race and Ethnicity Charleston church shooting Sat, 27 Jun 2015 16:18:36 +0000 Mother Jones 278616 at http://www.motherjones.com Texas County Clerk Refuses to Issue Marriage Licenses to Gay Couples http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/texas-county-clerk-refuses-to-issue-gay-marriage-licenses <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Despite this morning's landmark Supreme Court <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/06/supreme-court-historic-ruling-same-sex-marriage-obergefell-hodges" target="_blank">decision</a> to legalize gay marriage across the country, at least one county clerk in Texas <a href="http://www.dentonrc.com/local-news/local-news-headlines/20150626-denton-county-clerk-awaits-guidance-fron-da-on-issuing-licenses.ece" target="_blank">has refused</a> to issue marriage licenses to two same-sex couples.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.dentonrc.com/local-news/local-news-headlines/20150626-denton-county-clerk-awaits-guidance-fron-da-on-issuing-licenses.ece" target="_blank">Denton Record-Chronicle reports</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Denton County Clerk Juli Luke issued a statement that she would defer to guidance from Denton District Attorney Paul Johnson before issuing any marriage licenses in Denton County today to same sex couples.</p> <p>"It appears this decision now places our great state in a position where state law contradicts federal law," Luke wrote.</p> </blockquote> <p>A sign <a href="http://ntdaily.com/first-marriage-license-for-gay-couple-denied-in-denton/" target="_blank">posted</a> at the clerk's office stated that it would not issue licenses until it addressed "a vendor issue." But county officials may also be <a href="http://www.theeagle.com/news/local/texas-attorney-general-says-u-s-supreme-court-gay-marriage/article_cb1bfefc-1c15-11e5-ab77-e3ee0d003e38.html" target="_blank">waiting for guidance</a> from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who criticized the high court's ruling in a statement on Friday, <a href="http://www.theeagle.com/news/local/texas-attorney-general-says-u-s-supreme-court-gay-marriage/article_cb1bfefc-1c15-11e5-ab77-e3ee0d003e38.html" target="_blank">calling</a> it "a dilution of marriage as a societal institution." The <em>Austin American-Statesman</em> <a href="http://www.statesman.com/news/news/supreme-court-approves-gay-marriage/nmmWq/" target="_blank">reported</a> that at least two other counties are holding off issuing licenses, but that three&mdash;Travis, Bexar, and Dallas&mdash;had already done so following the ruling.</p> <p>Tod King and Casey Cavelier, who visited the Denton County clerk's office on Friday morning to obtain a license after being together for 19 years, told the college newspaper <a href="http://ntdaily.com/first-marriage-license-for-gay-couple-denied-in-denton/" target="_blank"><em>North Texas Daily</em></a>: "We were really excited this morning...We took a rainbow flag and hung it on the house. Then we came down here and got a little disappointed that they weren&rsquo;t prepared for this."</p> <p>Other couples were <a href="https://twitter.com/KWatsonDRC/status/614470390925119488" target="_blank">disappointed</a> as well:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Second couple Sara Nickell and Laura Hernandez refused license. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SCOTUSMarriage?src=hash">#SCOTUSMarriage</a> <a href="http://t.co/UorDEQBhU4">pic.twitter.com/UorDEQBhU4</a></p> &mdash; Kristen Watson (@KWatsonDRC) <a href="https://twitter.com/KWatsonDRC/status/614470390925119488">June 26, 2015</a></blockquote> <p>Obstacles to same-sex marriage weren't just remaining in Texas. Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood <a href="http://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2015/06/26/hinds-not-issuing-same-sex-marriage-licenses/29333011/" target="_blank">said in a statement</a> on Friday that clerks would have to wait until the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals lifts a stay on a federal judge's order to overturn the state's ban on gay marriage.</p></body></html> MoJo Gay Rights Supreme Court Fri, 26 Jun 2015 18:38:57 +0000 Edwin Rios 278556 at http://www.motherjones.com Genius Conservative Compares Gay Marriage to 9/11, Pearl Harbor http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/10-years-ago-we-had-bob-hope-johnny-cash-and-steve-jobs-now-were-gay <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>So, you're a conservative and you're upset that every state is going to be forced to be nice to gay people, so you take to Twitter to share your outrage and you reach for a simile. Not just any simile but, like, a <em>good simile</em>&mdash;one that has a strong tradition and is emotionally evocative and will let everyone know you mean business. <em>Ding! Ding! Ding! </em>You've <a href="http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5166" target="_blank">got it</a>!</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">June 26, 2015: a date which will live in infamy.</p> &mdash; Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) <a href="https://twitter.com/BryanJFischer/status/614446550413115392">June 26, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></blockquote> </blockquote> </blockquote> <p>Now you're getting those faves, you're getting those retweets, you're getting those hateful replies. You're liking this feeling. You're flying high. You're on a cloud. You're on the moon, my love. You are a starship leaving this goddamned solar system! You want to chase the feeling. You want more. You want to never stop feeling like this. <em>Why would anyone ever want to not feel like this?</em> But how can you top Pearl Harbor?</p> <p>You know what to do, baby. You know what to do:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">From a moral standpoint, 6/26 is now our 9/11.</p> &mdash; Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) <a href="https://twitter.com/BryanJFischer/status/614446235194363904">June 26, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></blockquote> </blockquote> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2010/09/bryan-fischer-values-voter-summit" target="_blank">Bryan Fischer, ladies and gentleman.</a></p></body></html> MoJo Gay Rights gay marriage Fri, 26 Jun 2015 16:18:50 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 278521 at http://www.motherjones.com Mike Huckabee Set the Bar Really High for the Worst Reaction to the Same-Sex Marriage Ruling http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/mike-huckabee-just-set-bar-really-high-worst-reaction-same-sex-marriage <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>As of 10:01 a.m. on Friday, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/06/supreme-court-historic-ruling-same-sex-marriage-obergefell-hodges" target="_blank">marriage equality was the law of the land</a>, effectively ending one of the most divisive debates in American politics over the last decade.</p> <p>Unless you're former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, that is. Earlier this week, even before the Supreme Court issued its ruling, the GOP presidential candidate called on conservative Christians to engage in a massive "<a href="http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/santorum-huckabee-join-anti-gay-extremists-vowing-resist-marriage-equality-ruling" target="_blank">Biblical disobedience</a>" campaign against the "false god of judicial supremacy," <a href="http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/mike-huckabee-fight-gay-marriage-dred-scott-ruling-civil-disobedience" target="_blank">comparing</a> the widely expected majority decision in the gay marriage case to the <em>Dred Scott</em> case that upheld the Fugitive Slave Act:</p> <blockquote> <p>For a lot of believers, the question comes, do we have civil disobedience, or do we have Biblical disobedience? For many of us, civil disobedience&mdash;when we believe that the civil government has acted outside of nature, and nature's god, outside of the bounds of the law, outside of the bounds of the Constitution&mdash;we believe that it's the right and the moral thing to do. Now I understand that's a very controversial thing to say. But Todd, what if no one had acted in disobedience to the Dred Scott decision of 1857? What if the entire country had capitulated to judicial tyranny and we just said that because the Supreme Court said in 1857 said that a black person wasn&rsquo;t fully human&mdash;suppose we had accepted that, suppose Abraham Lincoln, our president, had accepted that, would that have been the right course of action? And I don't know of anyone, I mean seriously, I don't know of anyone who believes that the Supreme Court made the right decision in Dred Scott.</p> </blockquote> <p>In the war for marriage equality, Huckabee is the lonely Japanese soldier dutifully defending his island bunker years <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_holdout" target="_blank">after the last shots were fired</a>. He just doesn't know it yet.</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Gay Rights mike huckabee Fri, 26 Jun 2015 15:22:29 +0000 Tim Murphy 278501 at http://www.motherjones.com The Supreme Court Just Legalized Gay Marriage Everywhere. Read the Opinion Here. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/supreme-court-gay-marriage <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Friday, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriage in the historic case of <em>Obergefell v. Hodges</em>, a decision which effectively invalidates bans on gay marriage.</p> <p>Read the opinion in its entirety below:&nbsp;</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-2111822-obergefell-v-hodges-decision">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/viewer/loader.js"></script><script> DV.load("//www.documentcloud.org/documents/2111822-obergefell-v-hodges-decision.js", { width: 630, height: 420, sidebar: false, text: false, pdf: false, container: "#DV-viewer-2111822-obergefell-v-hodges-decision" }); </script><div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/ssm_scotus1.5_0.gif"></div></body></html> MoJo Gay Rights Sex and Gender Supreme Court Fri, 26 Jun 2015 14:02:45 +0000 Inae Oh 277851 at http://www.motherjones.com John Roberts Just Saved the Republican Party From Itself http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/john-roberts-just-saved-republican-party-itself <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The Supreme Court's <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/06/what-obamacare-ruling-means" target="_blank">Thursday ruling</a>, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, that&nbsp;upheld a core tenet of the Affordable Care Act is good news for the millions of Americans whose health insurance was on the line. But it's also, in a strange way, good news for a completely different group: the Republican politicians who have all but called for Obamacare to be shot into space on a rocket.</p> <p>Had the court gone the other way, gutting federal subsidies while leaving the shell of the law on the books, congressional Republicans, as well as GOP governors such as Scott Walker and Chris Christie, would have been put in the uncomfortable position they've managed to avoid since Obamacare was signed into law&mdash;having to fix it. The Associated Press <a href="http://www.startribune.com/walker-says-obama-federal-government-must-fix-subsidies/309596841/" target="_blank">outlined</a> Walker's dilemma neatly on Wednesday:</p> <blockquote> <p>About 183,000 people in Wisconsin purchase their insurance through the exchange and nine out of 10 of them are receiving a federal subsidy, according to an analysis of state data by Wisconsin Children and Families. The average tax credit they receive is $315 a month.</p> <p>Health care advocates who have been critical of Walker for not taking federal money to pay for expanding Medicaid coverage have also called on the Republican second-term governor to prepare for the subsidies to be taken away.</p> </blockquote> <p>And many of those Wisconsonites enrolled in the federal exchange are there because Walker put them there. As <em>Bloomberg's </em>Joshua Green <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-03-04/why-scott-walker-should-hope-the-supreme-court-leaves-obamacare-in-place" target="_blank">noted</a> in a prescient piece in March, Walker booted 83,000 people from the state's Medicaid program and put them on the federal exchange instead. That's not the kind of crisis you want to be dealing with in the middle of a presidential campaign&mdash;or ever.</p> <p>Conservatives would have been thrilled with a ruling in their favor on Thursday. But Roberts' decision spares&nbsp;Walker and his colleagues from what would have come next, and frees them to <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/06/political-reaction-supreme-court-rulings" target="_blank">continue lobbing rhetorical bombs</a> at the law they're now stuck with. As previous generations of Washington Republicans can advise, it's much easier to go to war if you don't need a plan for how to end it.</p></body></html> MoJo Health Care Supreme Court Thu, 25 Jun 2015 15:32:44 +0000 Tim Murphy 278366 at http://www.motherjones.com The Supreme Court Just Saved Obamacare. Read the Full Ruling. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/supreme-court-obamacare <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Thursday, the Supreme Court upheld federal subsidies in Obamacare in the landmark case of <em>King v. Burwell</em>. In a 6-3 decision, the justices ruled against the lawsuit, which would have effectively ended health care coverage for nearly 6 million people in the 34 states that did not set up their own health insurance exchanges.</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">SCOTUS holds individuals who get their health insurance through exchange established by federal gov will be eligible for tax subsidies.</p> &mdash; SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) <a href="https://twitter.com/SCOTUSblog/status/614073268337819648">June 25, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-2110917-obamacare-just-won-at-the-supreme-court-read-the">Read the opinion below:</div> <script src="//s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/viewer/loader.js"></script><script> DV.load("//www.documentcloud.org/documents/2110917-obamacare-just-won-at-the-supreme-court-read-the.js", { width: 630, height: 420, sidebar: false, text: false, pdf: false, container: "#DV-viewer-2110917-obamacare-just-won-at-the-supreme-court-read-the" }); </script><p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Health Care Obama Supreme Court Thu, 25 Jun 2015 14:10:53 +0000 Inae Oh 277846 at http://www.motherjones.com Obama Shuts Down White House Heckler: "You're in My House" http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/obama-shuts-down-heckler-youre-my-house <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>While celebrating an event for LGBT Pride Month at the White House on Wednesday, President Obama was interrupted<a href="http://gawker.com/obama-to-white-house-heckler-listen-youre-in-my-hous-1713767482" target="_blank"> by a woman</a> shouting demands that he end the deportation of LGBT immigrants. Obama was not into it:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wTTi0_R-71U?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vv9wRNuptC8?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>"Listen, you're in my house," the president told her, visibly irritated by the disruption. "You're not gonna get a good response from me by interrupting me like this. I'm sorry. No, no, no, no, no. Shame on you. You shouldn't be doing this."</p> <p>Cheering Obama's response, the crowd was heard booing her calls and attempting&nbsp;to shush her.</p> <p>The woman, transgender activist Jennicet Guti&eacute;rrez, was promptly escorted out.</p> <p>"I'm just very disappointed with the way it was handled," Guti&eacute;rrez later told <a href="https://www.advocate.com/politics/transgender/2015/06/24/obama-scolds-white-house-heckler-shame-you" target="_blank">the Advocate</a>. "I'm part of the LGBT community, and they didn't back me, instead they were booing, which to me was like a slap in the face to all these people in detention centers."</p></body></html> MoJo Obama Thu, 25 Jun 2015 13:23:08 +0000 Inae Oh 278346 at http://www.motherjones.com Shout-Out to the Baltimore Sun, Which Just Bought Charleston's Newspaper a Stack of Pizzas http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/pizza-pizza-pizza-baltimore-charleston <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>This is a nice story. Last week, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/media/2015/06/breaking-news-cable-post-courier-charleston-massacre" target="_blank">we wrote</a> about the heroic efforts of Charleston's main daily newspaper, the <em>Post and Courier</em>, and their dogged, round-the-clock coverage of the massacre at the Emanuel AME church.</p> <p>We <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/media/2015/06/breaking-news-cable-post-courier-charleston-massacre" target="_blank">noted</a> that city newsrooms have been leading breaking coverage during big, national news stories, from Boston to Ferguson, Baltimore to Charleston. In April, the <em>Boston Globe</em> sent lunch to the <em>Baltimore Sun's</em> newsroom. It was their way of paying forward another act of newsroom generosity when in April 2013, the <em>Chicago Tribune</em> bought the <em>Globe</em> pizzas during the bombing coverage. "We can't buy you lost sleep, so at least let us pick up lunch," the <em>Tribune </em>wrote in a letter at the time.</p> <p>Now, the <em>Baltimore Sun</em>'s Executive Editor&nbsp;<span class="st">Trif Alatzas </span> has sent a about a dozen pizzas from&nbsp;D'Allesandro's in Charleston to the <em>Post and Courier </em>newsroom, as a way to pay it forward again:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Big thank you to <a href="https://twitter.com/baltimoresun">@baltimoresun</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/trifalatzas">@trifalatzas</a> for the gesture today. Every newsroom loves pizza! <a href="http://t.co/EoyR5kzOPB">pic.twitter.com/EoyR5kzOPB</a></p> &mdash; Mitch Pugh (@SCMitchP) <a href="https://twitter.com/SCMitchP/status/613740267460554752">June 24, 2015</a></blockquote> <p><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>I asked Mitch Pugh, the <em>Post and Courier </em>news boss, were the pizzas "hot and tasty?"</p> <p>"They chose wisely," he said.<br> &nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Media Charleston church shooting Wed, 24 Jun 2015 21:54:55 +0000 James West 278331 at http://www.motherjones.com This Extremist Group Vows to Picket the Charleston Funerals. Anonymous Vows to Stop Them. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/westboro-baptist-church-picketing-charleston-funerals-anonymous <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Westboro Baptist Church, the notorious group of religious extremists that is <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1999/03/man-who-loves-hate" target="_blank">basically just one family</a>, has said it will attempt to picket the funerals of people killed in the Charleston shootings. In recent <a href="https://twitter.com/wbcsaysrepent" target="_blank">tweets</a>, Westboro has suggested the shooting was God's punishment for late pastor and state Sen. Clementa Pickney's having supported Hillary Clinton.</p> <p>Protesting at funerals is a tactic the group has also tried (unsuccessfully) at burial services following other mass killings, including for victims of the Tucson shooting and the Boston Marathon bombing. But before the Kansas-based hate group can wave its familiar "God Sent the Shooter" signs for the TV cameras, it may have to overcome opposition from the hactivist group Anonymous.</p> <p>"While it is doubtful these idiots will show up, it is critical that Anonymous have a well-prepared presence on the ground in Charleston," the group said in a <a href="http://pastebin.com/SdLqS6nX" target="_blank">press release</a> announcing "Operation Shut Down Westboro Baptist Church." Coordinated by the Anonymous faction <a href="https://twitter.com/OpFerguson" target="_blank">Operation Ferguson</a>, which got its start <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/anonymous-ferguson-police-killing-unarmed-michael-brown" target="_blank">with the Black Lives Matter protests</a>, the effort will reportedly involve <a href="http://pastebin.com/cQnF6Rps" target="_blank">surrounding</a> the Westboro protesters and blocking their signs.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ClementaPinckney?src=hash">#ClementaPinckney</a> gave pulpit support to <a href="https://twitter.com/HillaryClinton">@HillaryClinton</a> sin-campaign &amp; thought God'd not avenge His name? Foolish! <a href="http://t.co/o8wtk1LnMh">pic.twitter.com/o8wtk1LnMh</a></p> &mdash; Westboro Baptist (@WBCSaysRepent) <a href="https://twitter.com/WBCSaysRepent/status/611654865845121025">June 18, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Anonymous has periodically targeted Westboro since around 2011, when it <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=286&amp;v=OZJwSjor4hM" target="_blank">hacked the group's website during a televised media interview</a>. The following year, Anonymous helped block Westboro protesters who had shown up at the funeral of a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. In 2013, Anonymous garnered significant media attention when it <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/security/anonymous-brandjacks-westboro-baptist-church-facebook-f1C9395459" target="_blank">"brandjacked"</a> Westboro, creating a fake Facebook site for the group.</p> <p>So far this week, Operation Ferguson has tweeted out links to personal information of Westboro members. One Anon also <a href="http://www.theladbible.com/articles/anonymous-send-chilling-message-to-westboro-baptist-church" target="_blank">posted</a> what <a href="https://twitter.com/TheAnonMessages" target="_blank">could be construed as death threats</a> against members of the church, though he has often drawn rebukes from other members of Anonymous, which tends to disavow violence.</p> <p>On Tuesday, the Charleston City Council passed <a href="http://www.live5news.com/story/29390296/charleston-city-council-passes-emergency-ordinance-banning-funeral-protests" target="_blank">a temporary ordinance</a> restricting all protests to at least 300 feet away from funerals.</p></body></html> MoJo Media Race and Ethnicity The Right anonymous westboro Wed, 24 Jun 2015 20:43:05 +0000 Josh Harkinson 278196 at http://www.motherjones.com What Is Going On With This Bobby Jindal Announcement Video? http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/bobby-jindal-presidential-campaign-announcement-video <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal launched his presidential campaign on Wednesday by releasing a video&mdash;a very strange video. In it, he and his wife, Supriya, break the news to their three kids that he'll be spending much of the next six months (at least) in Iowa. What makes it so unusual is that it appears to have been filmed with a camera hidden in a tree.&nbsp;Jindal himself is partially obscured by a large branch. His kids don't sound particularly excited about their father's presidential bid. Maybe they've seen the polls.</p> <p>Watch:</p> <div id="fb-root">&nbsp;</div> <script>(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script><div class="fb-video" data-allowfullscreen="1" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10153008087295095&amp;set=vb.51275855094&amp;type=1"> <div class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore"> <blockquote cite="https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10153008087295095"> <p>I had to tell a few people first. But I want you to be next. I&rsquo;m running for President of the United States of America. Join me: http://www.bobbyjindal.com/announcement/</p> Posted by <a href="https://www.facebook.com/bobbyjindal">Bobby Jindal</a> on Wednesday, June 24, 2015</blockquote> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections bobby jindal Wed, 24 Jun 2015 18:06:00 +0000 Tim Murphy 278281 at http://www.motherjones.com Mississippi's Republican Senators Say the State's Confederate Symbol Has Got to Go http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/roger-wicker-confederate-flag-museum <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><strong>Update: </strong><em>Sen. Thad Cochran, the state's senior senator, has joined his colleague in appealing to the state legislature to change the Mississippi flag. "it is my personal hope that the state government will consider changing its flag," he said in a <a href="https://twitter.com/claychand/status/613782260991565824" target="_blank">statement</a>. The original story is below:</em></p> <p>When Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) was asked on Sunday about removing the Confederate cross from his state's flag, he <a href="http://blogs.rollcall.com/wgdb/nrsc-chairman-mississippi-state-flag-confederate-symbol/?dcz=" target="_blank">demurred</a>. That decision "should be up to the Mississippi legislature and the people of the state," he argued. But 48 hours later, he has changed his mind. On Wednesday, he released a <a href="http://www.wicker.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2015/6/wicker-statement-on-mississippi-flag" target="_blank">statement</a> calling for the current incarnation of the flag to be "put in the museum" and replaced with something else:</p> <blockquote> <p>After reflection and prayer, I now believe our state flag should be put in a museum and replaced by one that is more unifying to all Mississippians. As the descendant of several brave Americans who fought for the Confederacy, I have not viewed Mississippi&rsquo;s current state flag as offensive. However, it is clearer and clearer to me that many of my fellow citizens feel differently and that our state flag increasingly portrays a false impression of our state to others.</p> <p>In I Corinthians 8, the Apostle Paul said he had no personal objection to eating meat sacrificed to idols. But he went on to say that "if food is a cause of trouble to my brother, or makes my brother offend, I will give up eating meat." The lesson from this passage leads me to conclude that the flag should be removed since it causes offense to so many of my brothers and sisters, creating dissention rather than unity.</p> <p>This is an issue to be decided by the legislature and other state government officials and not dictated by Washington. If I can be part of a process to achieve consensus within our state, I would welcome the opportunity to participate.</p> </blockquote> <p>Wicker joins the chancellor of the University of Mississippi, the nephew of former Gov. Haley Barbour, and the state's Republican speaker of the House <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/06/confederate-flag-backlash" target="_blank">among other prominent Mississippians</a> who have called for the Confederate symbol to go after the murder of nine African American parishioners at a church last week in Charleston, South Carolina.</p></body></html> MoJo Race and Ethnicity Wed, 24 Jun 2015 15:42:09 +0000 Tim Murphy 278246 at http://www.motherjones.com Strom Thurmond's Son Just Called for the Removal of the Confederate Flag http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/south-carolina-state-senator-and-son-segregationist-just-called-confederate-flags-remov <!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="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bFaV-8o9azY" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>On the floor of the South Carolina Senate Tuesday, the son of longtime US Senator and segregationist Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond made an impassioned call to remove the Confederate flag from the statehouse.</p> <p>Republican State Sen. <a href="http://www.scstatehouse.gov/member.php?code=1824431600" target="_blank">Paul Thurmond</a> looked past his own ancestry&mdash;and at least two of his colleagues in the Senate who <a href="http://www.postandcourier.com/apps/pbcs.dll/dcce?Site=CP&amp;Date=20150622&amp;Category=StaticPages&amp;Module=15&amp;Class=15&amp;Type=StaticPages&amp;ID=432782" target="_blank">have told the <em>Post and Courier</em></a> they would vote to keep the flag. He told his colleagues that the "time is right" to remove the symbolic flag from above the statehouse one day after Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. Lindsey Graham <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/06/confederate-flag-backlash" target="_blank">called for its removal</a>. Thurmond eulogized his friend and colleague state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, who was leading Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Church when he was killed, alongside eight other black churchgoers, in a mass shooting on June 19. Authorities have charged 21-year-old Dylann Roof.</p> <p>Reflecting on the June 19 shooting, Thurmond said:</p> <blockquote> <p>I cannot comprehend the hate that was visited upon the Holy City, but I can respond with love and unity and kindness and maybe show others that their motivation for future attacks of hate will not be tolerated, will not result in a race war, will not divide us, but rather will strengthen our resolve to come together as one nation, one state, and one community under God.</p> </blockquote> <p>Though he said nothing in his speech about his father, who is arguably most famous for his day-long filibuster against civil rights legislation in 1957, the longest in US history, Thurmond discussed his ancestors' place along General Robert E. Lee when the Confederate army surrendered at Appomattox Court House and said he could not fathom how "anyone could fight a civil war based, in part, on the desire to continue the practice of slavery."</p> <p>Here's an excerpt from his speech:</p> <blockquote> <p>I think the time is right and the ground is fertile for us to make progress as a state and to come together and remove the Confederate battle flag from prominent statue outside the Statehouse and put it in the museum. It is time to acknowledge our past, atone for our sins and work towards a better future. That future must be built on symbols of peace, love, and unity. That future cannot be built on symbols of war, hate, and divisiveness.</p> </blockquote> <blockquote> <p>I am aware of my heritage. But my appreciation for the things that my forebearers accomplished to make my life better doesn&rsquo;t mean that I must believe that they always made the right decisions and, for the life of me, I will never understand how anyone could fight a civil war based, in part, on the desire to continue the practice of slavery. Think about it for just a second. Our ancestors were literally fighting to continue to keep human beings as slaves and continue the unimaginable acts that occur when someone is held against their will. I am not proud of this heritage. These practices were inhumane and were wrong, wrong, wrong.</p> <p>Now we have these hate groups and the symbols that they use to remind African Americans that things haven&rsquo;t changed and that they are still viewed as less than equal human beings. Well, let me tell you: Things have changed. Overwhelmingly, people are not being raised to hate or to believe that they are superior to others based on the color of their skin. My generation was raised to respect all people, of every race, religion, and gender.</p> <p>I have often wondered what is my purpose here, in the Senate. I&rsquo;ve asked God to guide me and strengthen me. I have prayed that I will be able to make a difference for this state. I have prayed that I will leave this place better for the future generations. I am proud to take a stand and no longer be silent. I am proud to be on the right side of history regarding the removal of this symbol of racism and bigotry from the statehouse. But let it not satisfy us to stop there. Justice by halves is not justice. We must take down the confederate flag, and we must take it down now. But if we stop there, we have cheated ourselves out of an opportunity to start a different conversation about healing in our state. I am ready. Let us start the conversation.</p> </blockquote></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties Race and Ethnicity Charleston church shooting Wed, 24 Jun 2015 14:18:10 +0000 Edwin Rios 278236 at http://www.motherjones.com America Sucks at Affordable Housing. The Supreme Court Might Make It Even Worse. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/affordable-housing-gap-study-scotus-disparate-impact <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In the coming days, the Supreme Court will hand down a decision that <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/01/21/the-supreme-court-may-soon-disarm-the-single-best-weapon-for-desegregating-u-s-housing/" target="_blank">could weaken</a> the Fair Housing Act's ban on racial discrimination in housing. The timing couldn't be worse: The nation's housing affordability crisis is growing, according to <a href="http://www.urban.org/research/publication/housing-affordability-gap-extremely-low-income-renters-2013/view/full_report" target="_blank">research</a> from the Urban Institute published last week.</p> <p>Researchers found that in 2013,<strong> </strong>the last year for which data is available, no county in the US had enough affordable housing for its "extremely low-income" households&mdash;those making less than 30 percent of their county's median income. Nationwide, just 28 out of every 100 extremely low-income households had housing considered affordable by government standards, renting at less than 30 percent of their income. The report also found that the affordability gap is widening: Between 2000 and 2013, the number of extremely low-income households seeking to rent increased 38 percent nationwide, from 8.2 million to 11.3 million, while the supply of affordable housing increased only 7 percent, from 3 million to 3.2 million.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" height="279" src="/files/Screen%20Shot%202015-06-17%20at%202.53.19%20PM.png" width="630"><div class="caption"><strong>Every county in the US had a large gap between the renting needs of its extremely low-income population and available affordable housing. </strong>Ben Chartoff/The Urban Institute</div> </div> <p>The Urban Institute produced a handy <a href="http://datatools.urban.org/features/rental-housing-crisis-map/" target="_blank">interactive</a> showing the affordability gap for low-income renters, county-by-county, using data from the Census and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The report also breaks down some of the key issues contributing to the housing affordability crisis:</p> <p><strong>1. Market-rate affordable housing is dwindling, putting pressure on federal assistance programs. </strong></p> <p>Federal housing assistance&mdash;in the form of public housing, rent vouchers, and other subsidies&mdash;has grown modestly since 2000, but now makes up a far greater share of the affordable housing stock, the Urban Institute found. That's in part due to low vacancies and increasing rents nationwide, which have lifted market-rate units that were once affordable beyond the reach of low-income families. But others have been completely wiped from the market: The report notes that 13 percent of unassisted units with rents at or below $400 in 2001 had been demolished by 2011 and weren't replaced. "Nearly half of the remaining units were built before 1960, putting them at high risk of demolition," the researchers add.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/mojo/2015/06/affordable-housing-gap-study-scotus-disparate-impact"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> MoJo Economy Supreme Court Wed, 24 Jun 2015 10:00:12 +0000 Gregory Barber 278161 at http://www.motherjones.com Medical Examiner Rules Freddie Gray's Death a Homicide by Fatal Blow to the Neck http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/medical-examiner-freddie-gray-homicide <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A leaked autopsy report shows that Freddie Gray suffered a fatal "high-energy" blow to the neck, <a href="http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/freddie-gray/bs-md-ci-freddie-gray-autopsy-20150623-story.html#page=2" target="_blank">the <em>Baltimore Sun </em>reported</a> late Tuesday.</p> <p>From the <em>Sun</em>:</p> <blockquote> <p>The state medical examiner's office concluded that Gray's death could not be ruled an accident, and was instead a homicide, because officers failed to follow safety procedures "through acts of omission."</p> <p>Though Gray was loaded into the van on his belly, the medical examiner surmised that he may have gotten to his feet and was thrown into the wall during an abrupt change in direction. He was not belted in, but his wrists and ankles were shackled, making him "at risk for an unsupported fall during acceleration or deceleration of the van." The medical examiner compared Gray's injury to those seen in shallow-water diving incidents.</p> </blockquote> <p>Gray's death in police custody in April sparked <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/media/2015/04/photos-baltimore-freddie-gray-protest-riot" target="_blank">protests</a> in Baltimore and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/05/map-freddie-gray-protests-across-country" target="_blank">throughout the country</a>. Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/24/us/freddie-grays-death-was-homicide-autopsy-says.html" target="_blank">decried</a> the leak of the report on Tuesday, saying in a statement, "I strongly condemn anyone with access to trial evidence who has leaked information prior to the resolution of this case." In May, a grand jury <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/21/officers-indicted-grand-jury-freddie-gray_n_7415934.html" target="_blank">indicted</a> the six officers involved in Gray's arrest. Though a sealed court document at one time suggested a prisoner in the van heard Gray "<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/04/washington-post-freddie-gray-jailhouse-informant" target="_blank">banging against the walls</a>," assistant medical examiner Carol Allan cast doubt on that possibility in the autopsy report, noting that Gray "may have been suffering a seizure at the time," <a href="http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/freddie-gray/bs-md-ci-freddie-gray-autopsy-20150623-story.html#page=2" target="_blank">according</a> to the <em>Sun</em>.&nbsp;</p> <p>After Gray's death, <a href="http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/blog/bs-hs-more-rough-rides-20150501-story.html" target="_blank">several</a> <a href="http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-gray-rough-rides-20150423-story.html#page=1" target="_blank">former victims</a> came forward to speak out against "rough rides," a practice in which police allegedly&nbsp;drive erratically with an unrestrained, cuffed prisoner so as to cause injury or pain. &nbsp; &nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity Top Stories Baltimore Protests Wed, 24 Jun 2015 07:56:45 +0000 Edwin Rios 278231 at http://www.motherjones.com Watch the First Black Woman Who Served in the US Senate Go Off on the Confederate Flag http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/carol-moseley-braun-confederate-flag-video <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><center><iframe frameborder="0" height="330" scrollable="no" src="http://www.c-span.org/video/standalone/?c4457005" width="512"></iframe></center> <p>With South Carolina poised to remove the flag from its statehouse, and with <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/mississippi-confederate-flag-removal" target="_blank">momentum growing</a> toward the removal of the Confederate emblem from state flags in Mississippi, Alabama and Virginia, the symbol's enduring official status in the American South may finally be winding down. The current backlash against the rebel flag, sparked by the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/06/victims-charleston-shooting" target="_blank">massacre of nine people</a> inside a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, is the latest round in a fierce long-running debate.</p> <p>On July 22, 1993, an impassioned Carol Moseley-Braun of Illinois&mdash;the first African-American woman to serve in the US Senate and its sole black member at the time&mdash;<a href="http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4457005/senator-moseley-braun-remarks-confederate-insignia" target="_blank">took the floor</a> to rebuke conservative legislators including the late Jesse Helms, who were backing an amendment to secure the Confederate flag as the official design for the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Daughters_of_the_Confederacy" target="_blank">United Daughters of the Confederacy</a>.</p> <p>Moseley-Braun said: "The issue is whether Americans such as myself who believe in the promise of this country, who feel strongly and who are patriots in this country, will have to suffer the indignity of being reminded time and time again that at one time in this country's history we were human chattel. We were property. We could be traded, bought, and sold."</p> <p>She added with regard to the amendment: "On this issue there can be no consensus. It is an outrage. It is an insult."</p></body></html> MoJo Video Congress Race and Ethnicity Tue, 23 Jun 2015 19:14:48 +0000 Inae Oh 278166 at http://www.motherjones.com Rand Paul Super-PAC Slams "Bailout Bu$h" in Bizarre Web Ad http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/rand-paul-super-pac-bailout-bush <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Here come the crazed attack ads. More than seven months out from the first votes in the 2016 presidential primaries, America's Liberty, a super-PAC backing Sen. Rand Paul's bid for the Republican nomination, has put out an online ad attacking Jeb "Bailout" Bush. It is&hellip;strange.</p> <p>The video, which had more than 10,000 views as of Tuesday afternoon, is framed as an infomercial, with an exuberant, wild-bearded speaker named Max Power (perhaps borrowed from <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GvVbIhKh-M" target="_blank">Homer Simpson</a>, who took the same name from a hair dryer) serving as the pitchman. The ad offers a <a href="http://www.bailoutbush.com/" target="_blank">Bailout Bu$h</a> action figure&mdash;which sadly does not actually seem to be for sale, probably because it appears to be a different action figure with an image of Bush's face pasted on&mdash;as Power shouts about how Jeb worked for Lehman Brothers right before the crash and supported the Troubled Asset Relief Program. "This offer guarantees a presidential candidate cannot win a single primary state, let alone the general election," a voice-over says at the end of the ad as Power bathes in a tub of money.</p> <p><a href="http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jun/22/pro-rand-paul-pac-attacks-jeb-bush-bailout-bush/" target="_blank">Per the <em>Washington Times</em></a>, America's Liberty is spending in the five figures to run the ad online in early primary states, though it is also clearly running in DC, since I encountered it when it popped up before a music video on YouTube.</p> <p>America's Liberty has close connections to the Paul camp. The super-PAC's <a href="http://americaslibertypac.com/our-staff/" target="_blank">founder and president</a> is John Tate, who worked as Ron Paul's presidential campaign manager in 2012 and currently also serves as president of Campaign for Liberty, a longtime Ron Paul organization.</p> <p>Watch the ad:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/TXd8VC7V6hw?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Elections Jeb Bush Money in Politics Rand Paul Tue, 23 Jun 2015 17:05:38 +0000 Patrick Caldwell 278106 at http://www.motherjones.com How a Mediocre Football Team Helped Mississippi Evolve on the Confederate Flag http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/ole-miss-admiral-ackbar-confederate-flag-mississippi <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On to Mississippi. Just hours after South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley asked the state legislature to pass a law removing the Confederate flag from the grounds of the state Capitol on Monday, Mississippi's Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/mississippi-confederate-flag-removal" target="_blank">issued</a> a call for his state to follow suit. The Confederate battle flag is embedded in the upper left corner of the official state flag, but "as a Christian," Gunn wrote on Facebook, "I believe our state's flag has become a point of offense that needs to be removed." Henry Barbour, the nephew of former Republican Gov. Haley Barbour and a well-connected politico himself, <a href="http://www.clarionledger.com/story/dailyledes/2015/06/22/henry-barbour-flag-tweets/29143403/" target="_blank">echoed</a> Gunn's call.</p> <p>How did white conservatives in Mississippi&mdash;the deepest of the Deep South&mdash;get to this point, not long after Haley Barbour, as governor, kept a Confederate flag signed by Jefferson Davis in his office? It helps that the state has gone through a process like this one before.</p> <p>For decades, the University of Mississippi's identity was intertwined with that of its football team, the Rebels. In 1962, Democratic Gov. Ross Barnett <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/23/sports/ncaafootball/1967-game-between-jackson-state-and-grambling-made-history.html" target="_blank">waved</a> the Confederate flag in the bleachers in support of the school's all-white team the night before a white mob attacked National Guardsmen assigned to protect the school's first black student, James Meredith. The team's mascot, Colonel Reb, wore a Confederate uniform and rode a horse called Traveler&mdash;the same name as the steed owned by Robert E. Lee. Over time, the mascot evolved into a less militant figure, a Colonel Sanders-esque old white man with a red suit and a cane, but the antebellum (or just <em>bellum</em>) nostalgia was evident. At games, students waved Confederate flags. They called the place "Ole Miss."</p> <p>But the team was also&mdash;to use what I think is the appropriate term&mdash;a lost cause. It was losing out on top-flight talent, and its leaders had an inkling why. In his 2013 memoir, the school's former chancellor, Robert Khyat, <a href="http://www.al.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2013/10/former_ole_miss_chancellor_tal.html" target="_blank">recalled</a> the pivotal moment, in the locker room after a shutout loss to the team's archrival, Mississippi State. When Khyat walked in, the Rebels' head coach told him, "We can't recruit against the Confederate flag."</p> <p>The team stopped flying the flag at games in 1997. A few years later, again citing the impossibility of recruiting African Americans to the program, along with broader concerns about rebranding, it jettisoned Colonel Reb.</p> <p>Colonel Reb and his die-hard supporters have not gone away quietly. An <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/20/us/20mascot.html?_r=0" target="_blank">unsanctioned</a> zombie Colonel Reb mascot continued to haunt campus on game days until 2009. A state legislator tried unsuccessfully to pass a bill restoring Colonel Reb. Last November, a state tea party leader launched a signature drive for a <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/sports/2014/11/06/3589793/mississippi-ballot-initiative-aims-to-bring-back-ole-miss-confederate-mascot/" target="_blank">ballot initiative</a> in the 2016 election that would bring back Colonel Reb once and for all. The old mascot has a small army of devoted fans who believe its absence is a direct assault on their heritage. It's a lot like the Confederate flag.</p> <p>Other aspects of the school's makeover have faced a backlash. A new statue of Meredith on campus was vandalized in 2014. A white student placed a noose around the statue's neck, attached to an old Georgia flag that included the Confederate symbol. (In March, the alleged perpetrator was <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2015/03/27/civil-rights-charges-filed-against-ole-miss-student-accused-of-putting-noose-on-james-meredith-statue/" target="_blank">charged</a> with federal civil rights crimes.)</p> <p>But the school is moving on. In 2010, after a seven-year spell without a mascot, it asked students to submit their own ideas for a new one. A group of students, real-life American heroes, launched a grassroots campaign to make Admiral Ackbar, the meme-friendly squid commander from <em>Star Wars</em>, the new face of Ole Miss:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/U7ljrGXktR4?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Ultimately, the school went with a <a href="http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/local-news/ole-miss-announces-its-new-mascot-rebel-black-b" target="_blank">black bear</a> (inspired by a William Faulkner short story), who wears slacks, a blazer, and a Panama hat. It also began phase three of its image rehabilitation campaign, scaling back the usage of the nickname Ole Miss.</p> <p>Momentum notwithstanding, the campaign to change the Mississippi flag is still in the germination phase. But if the state government wants to follow its flagship university's lead, we can think of a certain alien admiral who'd look great on a flag.</p></body></html> MoJo Race and Ethnicity Sports Tue, 23 Jun 2015 15:47:10 +0000 Tim Murphy 278096 at http://www.motherjones.com