Political Mojo | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/Blogs/2013/12/rss/articles/feed http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en Hero Mom Has the Perfect Response to Son Begging to Join ISIS http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/02/teen-tries-join-isis-hero-mom-has-other-plans <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Everyone of us can relate to having once been a stupid&nbsp;teenager, irrationally whining to our parents about needing to hang out with <em>that</em> group, wear&nbsp;<em>this</em> outfit, etc.</p> <p>Such is the case of 19-year-old <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/27/nyregion/isis-plot-brooklyn-men.html?ref=nyregion&amp;_r=1" target="_blank">Akhror Saidakhmetov</a> of Brooklyn who had a burning desire to join club ISIS, like all the <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/24/europe/turkey-uk-missing-girls/index.html" target="_blank">cool kids</a>&nbsp;seem to be doing these days. But despite having all the gear to prove he was ready to commit to the band, Saidakhmetov's dreams were ultimately crushed by a very adolescent roadblock&mdash;his mom. From the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/27/nyregion/isis-plot-brooklyn-men.html?ref=nyregion&amp;_r=1" target="_blank"><em>Times:</em></a></p> <blockquote> <p class="rteindent1">Mr. Juraboev and Mr. Saidakhmetov bought tickets, planning to travel to Turkey and then sneak into Syria, court papers say, and as the date of their departure neared, they seemed eager.</p> <p class="rteindent1">But Mr. Saidakhmetov still needed his passport, and on Feb. 19 he called his mother. In a conversation recorded by federal agents, he asked for it. She asked him where he was going. He said to join the Islamic State.</p> <p class="rteindent1"><strong>"If a person has a chance to join the Islamic State and does not go there, on Judgment Day he will be asked why, and it is a sin to live in the land of infidels," he told her, court documents say.</strong></p> <p class="rteindent1"><strong>She hung up the phone.</strong> It is unclear if he managed to get his passport back. But the government&rsquo;s informer helped Mr. Saidakhmetov secure travel documents. In the days before he left, he told the informer that he felt that his soul was already on its way to paradise.</p> </blockquote> <p>Trust us, young Saidakhmetov, you'll thank your mom one day. We already do.</p></body></html> MoJo Religion Fri, 27 Feb 2015 19:48:41 +0000 Inae Oh 271136 at http://www.motherjones.com Sean Hannity Said Some Something Really Creepy at CPAC Today http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/02/sean-hannity-cpac-x-ray-vision <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p class="rtecenter"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/y0IgD92GRYo" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>In his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference this morning, Fox&nbsp;News' Sean Hannity had some downright creepy things to say about the "young, good-looking crowd:"</p> <blockquote> <p>I can look out in the crowd, I kinda have Fox X-ray vision, and I can see that some of you women, you don't even know it yet, but you're pregnant. It's not your fault. It's not his fault.</p> </blockquote> <p>The joke&mdash;if that's what it was&mdash;bombed, drawing nervous laughter and groans from the crowd. The Twitter reaction was swift&nbsp;and perplexed:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Hannity has xray vision can tell that some of the women in here are pregnant? IDK it was supposed to be a joke? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CPAC2015?src=hash">#CPAC2015</a></p> &mdash; Nathalie Baptiste (@nhbaptiste) <a href="https://twitter.com/nhbaptiste/status/571345614337937410">February 27, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Hannity joke at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CPAC?src=hash">#CPAC</a> lands w a thud: "I have Fox xray vision &amp; I can see that some of you women are pregnant, though you don't know it yet"</p> &mdash; Alice Ollstein (@AliceOllstein) <a href="https://twitter.com/AliceOllstein/status/571345397173649408">February 27, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"> <p>Really subtle <a href="https://twitter.com/seanhannity">@seanhannity</a>: if I was stupid, like a liberal, .... Also, "I can see it some of you women are pregnant you don't know it yet"</p> &mdash; Adam B. Lerner (@AdamBLerner) <a href="https://twitter.com/AdamBLerner/status/571345387887452160">February 27, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 2em;">Other CPAC attendees were apparently unfazed by Hannity's claim that he could seen into women's uteruses.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"> <p><a href="https://twitter.com/seanhannity">@seanhannity</a> What a wonderful speech you gave before CPAC today! Wish to Heaven you'd consider running for the GOP Presidential nomination.</p> &mdash; Paula Duvall (@PaulaDuvall2) <a href="https://twitter.com/PaulaDuvall2/status/571350308724408321">February 27, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Media The Right Fri, 27 Feb 2015 18:20:19 +0000 Sam Brodey 271121 at http://www.motherjones.com California's 3-Strike Prison Reform Is Working http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/02/released-3-strike-convicts-stay-out-prison <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>California's three-strikes law used to mean that all third-time felons had to spend at least 25 years behind bars&mdash;pretty harsh, considering that the third strike could be the result of <a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/cruel-and-unusual-punishment-the-shame-of-three-strikes-laws-20130327" target="_blank">stealing a $2.50 pair of tube socks</a>. Last year, voters decided to scale back the policy, and passed two initiatives to <a href="http://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_36,_Changes_in_the_%22Three_Strikes%22_Law_%282012%29" target="_blank">give judges more sentencing discretion</a> and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/11/proposition-47-california-prisons-nonviolent" target="_blank">retroactively reduce the penalties for low-level drug and theft crimes.</a> Law enforcement leaders warned that the reform would set free "thousands of dangerous inmates," <a href="http://www.voterguide.sos.ca.gov/en/propositions/47/arguments-rebuttals.htm" target="_blank">and called it</a> "a radical package of ill-conceived policies" that "will endanger Californians."</p> <p>But almost five months after the second initiative passed, that warning sounds increasingly overblown. About 45 percent of inmates released from California prisons normally re-offend within 18 months. Of roughly 2,000 former life prisoners freed as a result of the three-strikes reform, only 4.7 percent have returned to prison, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/27/us/california-convicts-are-out-of-prison-after-third-strike-and-staying-out.html?hp&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;module=second-column-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">according to the<em> New York Times</em></a>. These ex-convicts had been out for an average of 18 months.</p> <p>Experts say that intense exit counseling helped contribute to the low recidivism rate. "There's a lot of emotional work," Mark Faucette,&nbsp;director of community relations for the <a href="http://www.amityfdn.org/" title="The foundation&acirc;&#128;&#153;s website.">Amity Foundation</a>, told the <em>Times</em>. "They're moving from a number to a name."</p> <p>Two decades ago, fear of crime was at <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/144272/nearly-americans-fear-walking-alone-night.aspx" target="_blank">a nationwide peak</a>.<strong> </strong>The murder of 12-year-old Polly Klaas by a career criminal helped push Californians to pass the three-strikes law, the country's strictest, in 1994. Crime rates did fall&mdash;but a 2012 <a href="http://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/9405" target="_blank">study</a> from UC-Riverside later found that it had nothing to do with three strikes. The law also added <a href="https://www.law.stanford.edu/organizations/programs-and-centers/stanford-three-strikes-project/three-strikes-basics" target="_blank">an estimated $19 billion</a> to the state prison budget. As federal courts started pressuring <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/24/us/24scotus.html?pagewanted=all" target="_blank">California to shrink its prison population</a> in 2009 due to inhumane treatment and overcrowding, the three-strikes legislation made even less sense.</p> <p>The tides may be shifting for the rest of the country, too. As my colleague Shane Bauer <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/11/proposition-47-california-prisons-nonviolent" target="_blank">writes</a>, a 2013 <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/documents/1017548-rocpoll-crosstabs-1" target="_blank">poll</a> found that even among Texas Republicans, 81 percent favor treatment over incarceration for drug offenders. Other states&mdash;more than 20 of which <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-strikes_law#Enactment_by_states" target="_blank">also passed three-strikes laws in the 1990s</a>&mdash;may also soon be questioning prison time as a blanket solution for low-level crimes.</p></body></html> MoJo Crime and Justice Fri, 27 Feb 2015 17:19:12 +0000 Rebecca Cohen 271016 at http://www.motherjones.com Elizabeth Warren Launches New Battle Against the Fed http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/02/elizabeth-warren-scott-alvarez <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>While speaking before the Senate's Banking Committee on Tuesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) hit Fed Chair Janet Yellen with a string of <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/02/24/elizabeth-warren-went-full-elizabeth-warren-today-at-a-senate-hearing/" target="_blank">harsh questions</a> over the performance of Scott Alvarez, the Fed's general counsel, who is at the helm of an investigation of a Fed leak from September 2012.</p> <p>Warren has expressed frustrations over the investigation's <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/elizabeth-warren-is-looking-into-a-fed-leak-2015-2" target="_blank">lack</a> of public information.&nbsp;</p> <p>"Wall Street banks could profit handsomely if they knew about the Fed&rsquo;s plans before the rest of the market found out, and that&rsquo;s why any leak of confidential information from the Fed results in serious penalties for the people who are responsible,"<a href="https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2015/02/24/elizabeth-warren-presses-janet-yellen-conduct-fed-top-lawyer/eiuUblMzhpcxcm0NQhFCyK/story.html" target="_blank"> Warren said</a>&nbsp;on Tuesday. "But apparently there have been no consequences for the most recent leak."</p> <p>The Massachusetts senator specifically pointed to Alvarez's Wall Street-friendly reputation, mainly referring to his past criticisms of Dodd-Frank, when she asked Yellen whether the Fed's views aligned with those of its top lawyer.</p> <p>Pressed for a strict yes or no response, Yellen <a href="http://www.vox.com/2015/2/24/8103581/elizabeth-warren-yellen-dodd-frank" target="_blank">eventually</a> said she is "not seeking to alter Dodd-Frank in any way at this time."</p> <p>"Do you think that it is appropriate that Mr. Alvarez took public positions that do not evidently reflect the public position of the Fed&rsquo;s board, especially before an audience that has a direct financial interest in how the Fed enforces its rules?" Warren <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/24/elizabeth-warren-federal-reserve_n_6746078.html" target="_blank">responded.</a></p> <p>Yellen <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/02/24/elizabeth-warren-went-full-elizabeth-warren-today-at-a-senate-hearing/" target="_blank">appeared</a> slightly irritated:</p> <p><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/BrowserPreview_tmp-2_2.gif"></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Economy Regulatory Affairs Thu, 26 Feb 2015 23:02:28 +0000 Inae Oh 270896 at http://www.motherjones.com The FCC Just Approved Net Neutrality http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/02/net-neutrality-rules-passed-fcc <!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 Federal Communications Commission voted to categorize the internet as a <a href="http://www.vox.com/2015/2/26/8115361/fcc-net-neutrality-approved" target="_blank">public utility</a> and thereby uphold strong net neutrality regulations.</p> <p>Advocates applauded the passage as a victory for internet consumers, blocking what had been described as the creation of internet "fast lanes" for companies willing to pay more for<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/04/net-neutrality-finally-dies-ripe-old-age-of-45" target="_blank"> high-speed service. </a></p> <p>The vote came down to a 3-2 margin, with <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/02/26/389259382/net-neutrality-up-for-vote-today-by-fcc-board" target="_blank">dissents</a> from Republicans Michael O'Reilly and Ajut Pai.&nbsp;</p> <p>"The action that we take today is an irrefutable reflection of the principle that no one, whether government or corporate, should control free open access to the internet," FCC&nbsp;Chairman Tom Wheeler said prior to the vote.</p> <p>"The internet is simply too important to allow broadband providers to be the ones making the rules," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/26/net-neutrality-fcc-vote_n_6761702.html" target="_blank">he added.</a></p> <p>In recent months, net neutrality has emerged as a divisive political issue, with fierce opposition against regulations coming from <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/02/net-neutrality-taxes-mike-lee-fact-check" target="_blank">Republicans and broadband </a>providers alike. President Obama's announcement back in November fully supporting net neutrality's <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/11/obama-net-neutrality" target="_blank">preservation</a> prompted members of the GOP to denounce the potential move.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>"Net Neutrality" is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government.</p> &mdash; Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) <a href="https://twitter.com/SenTedCruz/status/531834493922189313">November 10, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Tech Thu, 26 Feb 2015 18:40:07 +0000 Inae Oh 271011 at http://www.motherjones.com Obama Just Vetoed the GOP's Keystone Bill, and This Democratic Presidential Hopeful Is Pissed http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/02/jim-webb-keystone-climate-change <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Jim Webb is sounding increasingly serious about <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/01/jim-webb-democrats-rand-paul" target="_blank">running</a> for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. Last week, <em>National Journal</em>'s Bob Moser <a href="http://www.nationaljournal.com/magazine/here-comes-trouble-20150213" target="_blank">wrote a cover story</a> wondering whether the former Virginia senator could "spark an anti-Hillary uprising," in which Webb explained that his absence from the campaign trail this winter was, in part, the result of major knee surgery to fix problems leftover from his days in the Vietnam War.</p> <p>Webb struck his first blow against his fellow Democrats on Wednesday. But rather than targeting Clinton, his likely presidential opposition, he struck out against the party's incumbent, President Barack Obama. In a series of tweets, Webb lashed out at the president for <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/02/obama-about-veto-gops-keystone-bill" target="_blank">vetoing a bill</a> that would have approved construction on the Keystone XL Pipeline.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Regret Obama's veto of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/KeystoneXL?src=hash">#KeystoneXL</a> Pipeline Bill that passed Senate 62 -36 and House 270 - 152.</p> &mdash; Jim Webb (@JimWebbUSA) <a href="https://twitter.com/JimWebbUSA/status/570615718665826305">February 25, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>State Dept found neutral on climate change, no serious impact on environment, and creation of 40,000 jobs. 6 years is a long time to wait.</p> &mdash; Jim Webb (@JimWebbUSA) <a href="https://twitter.com/JimWebbUSA/status/570618732034142211">February 25, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>No one owns me &amp; I owe nothing to big oil. Just common sense&mdash;no harmful impact to enviro., 40k jobs, and 62 Sen. supported it, incl. 9 Dems</p> &mdash; Jim Webb (@JimWebbUSA) <a href="https://twitter.com/JimWebbUSA/status/570680799554609153">February 25, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Webb's tweetstorm doesn't tell the whole story. A <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/02/epa-oil-prices-keystone" target="_blank">letter from the EPA</a> released earlier this month argued that, thanks to recent drops in oil prices, Keystone XL could prove disastrous for carbon emissions.</p> <p>As <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/12/jim-webb-climate-change" target="_blank">I detailed in December</a>, Jim Webb had an atrocious record on climate change and environmental issues while he served in the Senate. Standing up for Virginia's roots as a coal state, Webb tried to thwart Obama's efforts to regulate greenhouse gasses through EPA regulation, and he helped block Democratic attempts to pass a cap-and-trade law.</p> <p>Clinton, for her part, has <a href="http://www.nationaljournal.com/energy/hillary-clinton-won-t-talk-about-keystone-and-greens-are-ok-with-that-20150224" target="_blank">regularly sidestepped</a> addressing whether she wants to see the pipeline constructed, though she has generally been supportive of other environmental efforts made by the Obama administration.</p> <p>While Webb objected to Obama's decision to veto this specific bill, it's still unclear whether the two Democrats disagree on the underlying issue. Obama has strenuously rejected attempts by congressional Republicans to force immediate approval of the pipeline, but his administration has not yet said definitely if it intends to let the project go forward eventually.</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Climate Change Climate Desk Elections Energy Top Stories Infrastructure Wed, 25 Feb 2015 22:12:09 +0000 Patrick Caldwell 270961 at http://www.motherjones.com We Have Some Good News For You About Marijuana http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/02/marjuana-114-times-safer-alcohol-consumption <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>When comparing seven commonly used recreational drugs, marijuana clocks in as by far the least dangerous, nearly 114 times safer than the most dangerous drug concluded in a new study&mdash;alcohol.</p> <p>This is according to research recently published in <em>Scientific Reports</em>, which examined the exposure risks of heroin, meth, alcohol, cocaine, ecstasy,&nbsp; tobacco, and marijuana, by individuals. While <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/20/health/marijuana-versus-alcohol/" target="_blank">previous studies</a> have long suggested marijuana use poses a lesser mortality risk than alcohol&mdash;a point commonly cited in calls to increase legalization in more states&mdash;such a wide margin was not previously known.</p> <p>In the new study, researchers also concluded that the deadly risks of alcohol have most likely been severely underestimated. Alcohol and tobacco (the fourth deadliest drug) are the only two substances in the study that are generally legal for adult use in the United States.</p> <p>The findings come as <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/11/map-united-states-legal-marijuana-2014-2016" target="_blank">more states</a> appear to be coming around to the idea of marijuana legalization. Earlier this week, Alaska became the <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/02/24/388673136/marijuana-is-now-legal-in-alaska-the-third-u-s-state-to-ok-pot" target="_blank">first red state</a> to legalize pot, and Washington D.C. is preparing to do the same in just a few days. The <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/12/department-justice-congress-war-medical-marijuana" target="_blank">recent passage of the $1.1 trillion</a> federal spending bill marked a huge step towards ending the war on medical marijuana with the inclusion of an amendment preventing the Department of Justice from using funds to prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries.</p> <p>Researchers behind the study said their results should encourage lawmakers to move away from the "current prohibition approach" under federal law, and opt for a more "strict regulatory approach" instead. The study also suggested a "risk management prioritization" that emphasizes a focus on alcohol and tobacco, rather than illicit drugs.</p></body></html> MoJo Marijuana Tue, 24 Feb 2015 21:26:24 +0000 Inae Oh 270856 at http://www.motherjones.com Walmart Is Finally Raising Its Minimum Wage http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/02/walmart-minimum-wage-hike <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Thursday, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/20/upshot/as-walmart-gives-raises-other-employers-may-have-to-go-above-minimum-wage.html?hp&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;module=second-column-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news&amp;_r=0&amp;abt=0002&amp;abg=1" target="_blank">announced</a> the company would be raising its baseline pay to at least $9 an hour beginning this spring and then up to $10 an hour by February 2016, a move that will affect an estimated 500,000 employees.</p> <p>The decision, announced in both a <a href="http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150219005629/en/Walmart-announces-Q4-underlying1-EPS-1.61-additional#.VOYNisbDEnL" target="_blank">press release</a> and during a quarterly earnings call Thursday morning, follows years of mounting public pressure from both outside and within Walmart to boost its notoriously low wages and improve labor practices. The company has repeatedly responded to such criticism by pointing out that it pays more than the federal minimum wage, currently $7.25 per hour; of course, 29 states require a higher minimum wage. (An estimated 6,000 Walmart employees currently make the federal minimum.)</p> <p>While McMillon&nbsp;described the move as a moral decision to&nbsp;do <a href="http://blog.walmart.com/in-letter-to-associates-walmart-ceo-doug-mcmillon-announces-higher-pay" target="_blank">"the right thing,"</a> Ohio University economics professor Richard Vedder said the move is more an indication of an improving economy than anything else.&nbsp;</p> <p>"While the economy isn't exactly booming right now, it is doing very well, with labor markets tightening and the unemployment rate continuing to fall," Vedder said<span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 24px;">.&nbsp;"That means it's becoming increasingly difficult for Walmart to attract good, dependable workers than it was two to three years ago. Right now, they are thinking the economy will continue to boom, and they need to stay competitive."</span></p> <p>"Could they afford to go further and still remain hugely profitable? Probably, but would that be good policy is another question," Vedder added, referring to the reaction by Walmart stockholders today:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" height="349" src="/files/walmart%20stock.png" width="390"></div> <p>The nation's largest private retailer, Walmart recently admitted that <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/11/elizabeth-warren-walmart-black-friday-protest" target="_blank">825,000 of its 1.4 million employees</a> earn only $25,000 annually, with 600,000 part-time workers on Medicaid and other food assistance programs. Walmart employees have staged strikes protesting their low wages, with advocacy groups demanding the retailer raise its minimum wage to $15. The company says that with the new increase, the average hourly wage will rise to $13 from $12.85.</p> <p>While welcoming the move on Thursday, some say it is still not enough. "When compared to the $16 billion in profit that the company rakes in annually, Walmart's promise of $10 an hour, which even for a full-time worker is not enough to keep a family of four out of poverty, is meager," Christine Owens, director of the National Employment Law Project, told the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/20/business/walmart-q4-earnings.html?hp&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;module=second-column-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news" target="_blank"><em>New York Times</em>.</a></p> <p>A more substantial change could come from McMillon's announcement, also on Thursday, pledging to bring scheduling enhancements for part-time workers currently struggling under <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/wal-marts-fixed-scheduling-promise-2015-2" target="_blank">unpredictable work hours.</a> Last August, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/15/us/starbucks-to-revise-work-scheduling-policies.html" target="_blank">Starbucks</a> announced the company would be improving scheduling policies to address such concerns.</p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 24px;">"Walmart has been attacked over the years as being uncaring and tactless," Vedder said.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 24px;">"This is a chance to win some points with the American public. By waging their raises they can appear more compassionate than previously viewed, especially when they aren't put under the gun by federal law to do so."</span></p></body></html> MoJo Corporations Economy Thu, 19 Feb 2015 20:19:39 +0000 Inae Oh 270616 at http://www.motherjones.com Eric Holder Wants All Executions Put on Hold http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/02/eric-holder-endorses-moratorium-death-penalty <!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/4NrmiFWH3tA" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Attorney General Eric Holder has called for a <a href="http://thehill.com/regulation/administration/232979-holder-calls-for-halt-to-us-executions" target="_blank">nationwide moratorium</a> on the death penalty until the Supreme Court makes a decision on the constitutionality of certain lethal injection methods later this year, saying on Tuesday that he opposes capital punishment because he believes the odds of eventually making a mistake and executing an innocent individual are "inevitable."</p> <p>Here's some of what Holder had to say at a luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington:</p> <blockquote> <p>It is one thing to put somebody in jail for an extended period of time, have some new test that you can do and determine that person was, in fact, innocent. There is no ability to correct a mistake where somebody has, in fact, been executed. And that is, from my perspective, the ultimate nightmare&hellip;I think fundamental questions about the death penalty need to be asked. And among them, the Supreme Court's determination as to whether or not lethal injection is consistent with our Constitution is one that ought to occur.</p> </blockquote> <p>Holder, who stressed that he was speaking personally and not for the Obama administration, has voiced his opposition to the death penalty before. In November, the attorney general told <a href="https://www.themarshallproject.org/2014/11/17/eric-holder-on-his-legacy-his-regrets-and-his-feelings-about-the-death-penalty" target="_blank">the Marshall Project</a> that there is always the possibility that a jury will sentence the wrong person to death. "We have the greatest judicial system in the world," he said, "but at the end of the day it's made up of men and women making decisions, tough decisions. Men and women who are dedicated, but dedicated men and women can make mistakes."</p> <p>The Supreme Court agreed last month to hear <a href="http://www.scotusblog.com/2015/01/court-to-rule-on-lethal-injection-protocols/" target="_blank">an appeal by death row inmates </a>in Oklahoma who say the state's lethal injection methods violate the Constitution. In April, the state <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/04/oklahomas-botched-execution-lethal-injection-facts" target="_blank">botched the execution</a> of 38-year-old Clayton Lockett, who reportedly writhed in pain after receiving a three-drug combination and died 43 minutes later. The court is expected to rule by the end of June.</p> <p>As my colleague Stephanie Mencimer has reported, states are <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/04/double-execution-tonight-ok-using-secret-experimental-drug-protocol" target="_blank">searching for new capital punishment methods</a> after losing access to sodium thiopental, an anesthetic traditionally used in lethal injections. The only US manufacturer of the drug stopped producing it in 2011, while suppliers in Europe who object to the death penalty will no longer export it to the United States. In a bid to find other options, some states have used untested combinations or bought from unregulated compounding pharmacies, while lawmakers in Utah have even voted to <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/utah-firing-squad-proposal-faces-key-vote-friday-28951341" target="_blank">bring back the firing squad</a> for executions. In Ohio, lawmakers passed a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/11/ohio-lethal-injection-execution-secrecy" target="_blank">"secret execution" law</a> that exempts from public records searches the names of suppliers of lethal injection drugs.</p> <p>Meanwhile, also on Tuesday, the Florida Supreme Court <a href="http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-jerry-correll-death-row-orlando-killer-20150217-story.html" target="_blank">stayed the execution</a>&mdash;scheduled for next week&mdash;of a death row inmate convicted of killing four people in Orlando in 1985, pending a decision from the high court.</p></body></html> MoJo Video Crime and Justice Prisons Supreme Court Wed, 18 Feb 2015 21:00:33 +0000 Samantha Michaels 270571 at http://www.motherjones.com Clinton Courts Warren http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/02/hillary-clinton-liz-warren-nice-little-chat <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Back in December, Hillary Clinton and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) reportedly met in private for what is being described as a "cordial and productive" conversation inside Clinton's Washington D.C. residence. <em>The New York Times'&nbsp;</em>Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin have the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/02/17/hillary-clinton-met-with-elizabeth-warren-in-december/?_r=0" target="_blank">scoop</a>, published Tuesday, which makes clear Clinton did not ask for Warren's endorsement, but instead sought the senator's thoughts on a number of policy issues.</p> <p>News of the one-on-one conversation comes not only as Clinton continues to build a formidable 2016 campaign team&mdash;most recently with the hire of <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2015/02/mandy-grunwald-joins-hillary-clinton-team-114949.html" target="_blank">Mandy Grunwald,</a> a longtime Clinton confidant who had lately been advising Warren&mdash;but also as liberal activist groups urge the Massachusetts senator to challenge her for the Democratic nomination.&nbsp;While Clinton, who has yet to formally announce her candidacy, is widely viewed as the party's frontrunner, a possible run by Warren and her trademark populist message would <a href="http://www.newrepublic.com/article/115509/elizabeth-warren-hillary-clintons-nightmare" style="line-height: 2em;" target="_blank">certainly complicate</a> her campaign.</p> <p>Despite calls for her to run, however, Warren has repeatedly said she will not be seeking the nomination.&nbsp;But a sit-down at Clinton's home, sans political aides and initiated by Clinton, is the most clear signal Clinton is well aware she will be needing Warren's deeply popular economic liberalism in order to be successful come 2016, especially at a time when even <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-01-26/why-republicans-are-talking-about-income-inequality" target="_blank">Republicans appear to be freely borrowing</a> from the senator's populist platform.</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Tue, 17 Feb 2015 23:00:20 +0000 Inae Oh 270496 at http://www.motherjones.com Why Is This US Attorney So Gung-Ho on Prosecuting a Respected Medical-Pot Dispensary? http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/02/melinda-haag-weird-federal-war-oakland-harborside-pot-dispensary <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Several California congressional representatives issued a statement Friday accusing the Department of Justice of "not acting within the spirit or letter of the law" in its pursuit of a three-year-old legal case aimed at shutting down Harborside Health Center, one of the country's largest and most respected pot dispensaries.</p> <p>"As Members of Congress we have watched the public acceptance of medical marijuana develop and grow while the Federal policy on it stagnates," <a href="http://www.harborsidehealthcenter.com/pdf/Harborside_Statement.pdf" target="_blank">wrote</a> Reps. Sam Farr, Dana Rohrabacher, and Barbara Lee.</p> <p>In 2012, US Attorney Melinda Haag initiated civil forfeiture proceedings against Harborside, which does $25 million a year in sales, on the grounds that it had grown too big. The move came as shock to many in California's medical marijuana industry; Harborside was widely viewed as one of the state's most ethical and legally compliant dispensaries. A few months later, the City of Oakland sued to block Haag's case, arguing that shutting down Harborside would create a public health crisis.</p> <p>The following year, the Justice Department issued a memo laying out a more permissive federal policy on pot, and federal prosecutors dropped similar civil forfeiture proceedings against several dispensaries in Los Angeles. But in Northern California, Haag pressed on with her case against Harborside and the Berkeley Patients Group, another large, well-respected dispensary.</p> <p>Motivated in part by Haag's prosecutions, Reps. Farr and Rohrabacher <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/12/department-justice-congress-war-medical-marijuana" target="_blank">won a provision</a> in December's federal appropriations bill that blocks the DOJ from spending money to prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries or patients that abide by state laws. The move was expected to be the nail in the coffin for Haag's pot cases. But on February 3, she appeared before 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/03/harborside-melinda-haag-appeal_n_6608768.html" target="_blank">push the case forward</a>, arguing that the City of Oakland shouldn't be allowed to challenge the proceedings.</p> <p>"It's clear now that Melinda Haag is the real criminal in the Harborside case," says Harborside founder Steven DeAngelo. Haag's office could not immediately be reached for comment.</p> <p>The DOJ's ongoing pursuit of the case has led to much debate about Haag's motivations. Some observers wonder if she's simply a dyed-in-the-wool drug warrior. Others speculate that the DOJ sees the case as a way to continue to discourage the expansion of marijuana businesses in California, where pot laws are notoriously loose and decentralized.</p> <p>"It can be dismaying to me as a businessperson to have these persistent attacks keep coming at Harborside and see most of the rest of the industry not similarly targeted," DeAngelo says. "But I did not get into this industry to make lots of money, I got into this to make cannabis legal. And I think we are gong to win."</p></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties Top Stories marijuana Tue, 17 Feb 2015 21:29:06 +0000 Josh Harkinson 270511 at http://www.motherjones.com 5 States Where Republicans Are Getting Serious About Criminal Justice Reform http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/02/republican-states-criminal-prison-reform <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A growing group of conservatives <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/02/conservatives-prison-reform-right-on-crime" target="_blank">are stepping back</a> from their traditional "tough on crime" stance and taking a lead on reforming the criminal justice system. There's even <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/01/5-areas-where-we-could-see-real-bipartisan-reform-criminal-justice" target="_blank">talk that</a> congressional Republicans and Democrats could come together on the issue: Earlier this week, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee <a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/232325-senators-unveil-prison-reform-bill" target="_blank">introduced</a> a bipartisan prison reform bill. (Though it seems to have <a href="http://www.vox.com/2015/2/12/8019711/corrections-act-prison-race" target="_blank">considerable flaws</a>.)</p> <p>At the state level, Republicans have <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/08/02/627751/three-republican-governors-embrace-prison-reform-saving-hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars/" target="_blank">already</a> been taking on the issue. Here are five states where Republican governors and their fellow GOP lawmakers are taking on broken prison systems and the harsh laws that have fueled the incarceration boom:</p> <p><strong>Nebraska:</strong> Members of Nebraska's legislature have introduced several bills that address the state's overcrowded prisons. These include two bills <a href="http://www.omaha.com/news/legislature/bills-to-reform-prison-sentencing-procedures-debated-at-state-capitol/article_891d53e3-d59d-5a00-bb5e-fe8a699ef1f5.html" target="_blank">introduced Wednesday</a>, which would do away with mandatory minimum sentences for a slew of crimes (including distributing cocaine and heroin) and limit Nebraska's "three-strikes" law to violent crimes. While the Cornhusker State's legislature is nonpartisan, a majority of bills' cosponsors are affiliated with the Republican Party, including Sen. Jim Smith, the head of the state branch of the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/category/secondary-tags/alec" target="_blank">American Legislative Exchange Council</a>.&nbsp; Republican Governor Pete Ricketts <a href="http://nebraskaradionetwork.com/2015/01/26/senators-say-gov-ricketts-on-board-with-prison-reform-audio/" target="_blank">reportedly supports</a> the push for prison reform, as does the Omaha-based Platte Institute, a conservative think tank that recently <a href="http://www.ketv.com/politics/platte-institute-aclu-support-prison-reform-plan/31194784" target="_blank">released recommendations</a> for decreasing incarceration that have drawn support from the Nebraska ACLU.</p> <p><strong>Utah:</strong> Republican state Representative Eric Hutchings is <a href="http://www.sltrib.com/home/2164869-155/treatment-breaks-on-drug-crimes-urged" target="_blank">sponsoring</a> legislation that aims to reduce Utah's prison population and decrease recidivism. The bill, which has yet to be publicly released, would decrease the charge for drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor. Governor Gary Herbert, also a Republican, has <a href="http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865621631/Criminal-justice-reform-groups-rally-for-a-system-that-helps-not-hinders.html?pg=all" target="_blank">put aside</a> $10.5 million for recidivism reform.</p> <p><strong>Illinois:</strong> Governor Bruce Rauner's agenda <a href="http://www.kfvs12.com/story/28024513/rauner-says-he-wants-more-prison-guards-changes-to-parole" target="_blank">includes a plan</a> to keep nonviolent offenders out of prison by instead sending them to community programs. Earlier this week, he <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/chi-rauner-looking-at-criminal-justice-system-overhaul-20150211-story.html" target="_blank">created a commission</a> of lawmakers, cops, and activists to recommend reforms to the state's criminal justice system. More details about his plan will come out when he releases his<strong> </strong>2016 budget recommendations next week.</p> <p><strong>Alabama:</strong> The legislature-appointed Alabama Prison Reform Task Force is <a href="http://www.abc3340.com/story/27978534/state-senator-cam-ward-warns-of-mass-release-of-violent-inmates-if-prison-problems-arent-solved" target="_blank">gearing up to propose a new bill</a> for the next legislative session, which begins in March. Led by Republican state Senator Cam Ward, an outspoken <a href="http://www.camward.com/budget_business_safety_key_issues_legislators" target="_blank">Second Amendment defender</a>, the task force is seeking ways to cut down the state's prison population, which is more twice its intended size. One of Ward's ideas? Making re-entry easier by <a href="http://www.al.com/news/mobile/index.ssf/2014/12/legislators_could_see_prison_b.html" target="_blank">throwing out</a> draconian laws for ex-felons, like those preventing them from getting driver's licenses.</p> <p><strong>Georgia:</strong> A similar task force, the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform, has been recommending reforms to lawmakers. Formed in 2011 by Republican Governor Nathan Deal, the group has pushed the state to&nbsp;<a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/05/03/1958531/georgia-to-lock-up-fewer-people-and-cut-costs-after-passing-sweeping-prison-reform/" target="_blank">stop imprisoning</a> juveniles and <a href="http://www.ajc.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/governor-to-sign-sweeping-justice-reform-bill/nQTTQ/" target="_blank">reform sentencing</a> for nonviolent offenders, which <a href="http://www.politifact.com/georgia/statements/2014/mar/19/nathan-deal/georgia-sentencing-reforms-pays-budget-deal-says/" target="_blank">slashed</a> $20 million off the cost to house inmates in Georgia. The council's <a href="http://investigations.blog.ajc.com/2015/02/05/criminal-justice-reform-proposals-to-be-unveiled-friday/" target="_blank">current agenda</a> includes initiatives to improve reentry for ex-felons.</p></body></html> MoJo Crime and Justice Prisons The Right Fri, 13 Feb 2015 19:04:07 +0000 Luke Whelan 270291 at http://www.motherjones.com Ruth Bader Ginsburg: "I Wasn't 100 Percent Sober" During SOTU Address http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/02/ruth-bader-ginsburg-i-wasnt-100-percent-sober-during-sotu-address <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Contrary to earlier <a href="https://twitter.com/rach_ic/status/557867820298825729" target="_blank">speculation</a> that she had power-napped through last month's State of the Union Address because it was just so damn dull, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg revealed on Thursday it was actually due to the fact she wasn't exactly "100 percent sober."</p> <p>The <a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/232735-ginsburg-wasnt-100-percent-sober-during-state-of-the-union" target="_blank">81-year-old justice</a> told a crowd of George Washington University students:</p> <blockquote> <p>The audience for the most part is awake, because they're bobbing up and down, and we sit there, stone-faced, sober judges. But we're not, at least I wasn't, 100 percent sober. Because before we went to the State of the Union, we had dinner together... Justice Kennedy brought in... it was an Opus something or other, very fine California wine, and I vowed this year, just sparkling water, stay away from the wine, but in the end, the dinner was so delicious, it needed wine.</p> </blockquote> <p>According to Ginsburg, she was thankfully flanked by colleagues, who, like any good friends, casually nudged her awake when they noticed her dozing off. Watch below:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/i_s946MaOyU" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> MoJo Video Supreme Court Fri, 13 Feb 2015 17:21:03 +0000 Inae Oh 270361 at http://www.motherjones.com Real Talk on Cops and Race From the Head of the FBI http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/02/fbi-director-delivers-powerful-call-change-police-race-relations <!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/sbx4HAm6Rc8?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>In a rare and candid <a href="http://www.fbi.gov/news/speeches/hard-truths-law-enforcement-and-race" target="_blank">speech</a> on Thursday, FBI director James Comey urged police officers to begin engaging in honest conversations about broken race relations in America, saying it was time for officers to stop resorting to "lazy mental shortcuts" that have too often lead to the mistreatment of minorities.</p> <p>"Those of us in law enforcement must re-double our efforts to resist bias and prejudice," <a href="http://www.fbi.gov/news/speeches/hard-truths-law-enforcement-and-race" target="_blank">Comey</a> said in an address to Georgetown University. "We must better understand the people we serve and protect&mdash;by trying to know, deep in our gut, what it feels like to be a law-abiding young black man walking on the street and encountering law enforcement. We must understand how that young man may see us."</p> <p>The speech follows the high-profile police killings of two unarmed black men, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/11/ferguson-darren-wilson-grand-jury-decision-reaction" target="_blank">Michael Brown</a> and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/12/grand-jury-doesnt-indict-staten-island-cop-death-eric-garner" target="_blank">Eric Garner</a>, and the widespread anger expressed over the lack of grand jury indictments against the officers in both deaths. The fatal shootings sparked massive protests across the country, with demonstrators demanding for police reform.</p> <p>On Thursday, Comey referred to both Brown and Garner, along with the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/21/nyregion/two-police-officers-shot-in-their-patrol-car-in-brooklyn.html" target="_blank">two NYPD officers</a> who were shot execution-style in their patrol car in December. Calling their deaths a "crossroads," Comey said it was time for law enforcement agencies to acknowledge that a large portion of police history "is not pretty" and rife with instances of persisting, unconscious prejudices.</p> <p>Comey's rationale aligns with <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/11/science-of-racism-prejudice" target="_blank">psychological studies</a> indicating that even in the absence of overt racist views, individuals&ndash;particularly police officers&ndash;often act with bias, especially in instance where a split-second decision is required.&nbsp;</p> <p>"If we can&rsquo;t help our latent biases, we can help our behavior in response to those instinctive reactions, which is why we work to design systems and processes that overcome that very human part of us all," he said. "Although the research may be unsettling, what we do next is what matters most."</p> <p>Read the full speech below (emphasis ours):</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/mojo/2015/02/fbi-director-delivers-powerful-call-change-police-race-relations"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> MoJo Race and Ethnicity Top Stories Thu, 12 Feb 2015 21:15:50 +0000 Inae Oh 270301 at http://www.motherjones.com The Internet Is Freaking Out About This Video of Obama Using a Selfie Stick http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/02/obama-selfie-stick-buzzfeed <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><em><a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewgauthier/the-president-uses-a-selfie-stick#.emwJg0MV9x" target="_blank">BuzzFeed</a></em> got Obama to use a selfie stick. Here is the video.</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/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script><div class="fb-post" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=1631492713658271" data-width="630"> <div class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore">&nbsp;</div> </div> <p>Why is a selfie stick news? Because when the president does it, it's news.</p></body></html> MoJo Thu, 12 Feb 2015 18:06:31 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 270261 at http://www.motherjones.com Ruth Bader Ginsburg: America Is Ready to Accept a Pro-Gay-Marriage SCOTUS Ruling http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/02/ruth-bader-ginsburg-believes-americans-are-ready-accept-scotus-gay-marriage-ruling <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In a new interview with <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-12/ginsburg-says-u-s-ready-to-accept-ruling-approving-gay-marriage-i61z6gq2" target="_blank">Bloomberg</a> on Wednesday,&nbsp;Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said she believes Americans are set to accept a constitutional decision&nbsp;legalizing gay marriage in the country, saying it would "not take a large adjustment" for people to eventually come around on the issue.&nbsp;</p> <p>"I think it's doubtful that it wouldn't be accepted," Ginsburg said. "The change in people's attitudes on that issue has been enormous."</p> <p>The justice's comments are yet another indication the Supreme Court will rule in favor of gay marriage this June, when justices will hear a monumental&nbsp;case deciding if&nbsp;the Constitution provides the right for same-sex marriages.</p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 24px;">"In recent years, people have said, 'This is the way I am,'"&nbsp;Ginsburg added.&nbsp;"And others looked around, and we discovered it's our next-door neighbor&ndash;we're very fond of them or it's our child's best friend, or even our child. I think that as more and more people came out and said that 'this is who I am,'&nbsp;the rest of us recognized that they are one of us."</span></p> <p>Earlier this week, President Obama said he thinks the&nbsp;court will make a historic&nbsp;<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/10/obama-supreme-court-gay-marriage_n_6657198.html" style="line-height: 2em;" target="_blank">"shift"</a>&nbsp;in this summer's&nbsp;ruling and that it's time to recognize "same-sex couples should have the same rights as anybody else."&nbsp;</p> <p>In the court's decision not to block gay marriage in Alabama on Monday, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/10/us/justice-thomass-dissent-hints-of-supreme-courts-intentions-on-same-sex-marriage.html" target="_blank">Justice Clarence Thomas</a> wrote in his dissent that the ruling offered another&nbsp;"signal" that gay rights advocates will be similarly successful this summer. Despite the decision, however, several Alabama counties <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/02/republicans-need-speak-about-alabama-gay-marriage-ruling" target="_blank">still refused</a> to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Even with such defiant opposition, Ginsburg&nbsp;maintained a positive outlook.&nbsp;</p> <p>"One way or another it will be decided before we leave town in June."</p></body></html> MoJo Gay Rights Supreme Court Top Stories Thu, 12 Feb 2015 14:46:34 +0000 Inae Oh 270241 at http://www.motherjones.com In the Nation's Capital, Fewer Than Half of Black Males Graduate From High School http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/02/fewer-than-50-percent-black-males-graduate-washington-dc <!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/ZDRB91izZ8w" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>The term "black lives matter" has become the battle cry for Americans outraged by the recent deaths of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and other unarmed black men at the hands of police. Indeed, the folks at the Schott Foundation for Public Education aim to help make those lives matter before they come to a premature end. <em>Black Lives Matter, </em>its fifth annual report on the state of black youth in the public schools, looks at suspension and graduation rates and points to some alarming trends.</p> <p>For example, according to the report, 15 percent of black males nationwide have been suspended from school, versus only 5 percent of white boys. Missouri, Michigan, and Florida have some of the highest suspension rates for black boys: greater than 20 percent. These findings parallel a March 2013 study by the Discipline Disparities Research-to-Practice Collaborative, which <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/13/school-discipline-race_n_4952322.html" target="_blank">found</a> that black students and students with disabilities are suspended at "hugely disproportionate rates."</p> <p>All of this information is presented in the context of the school-to-prison pipeline; <a href="http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/01/10/17suspend.h32.html" target="_blank">data</a> has shown suspensions increase the likelihood of students dropping out, and many end up in the criminal justice system. In 2013, <a href="http://www.sese.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Sent-Home-and-Put-Off-Track.pdf" target="_blank">researchers</a> at Johns Hopkins University found that about 75 percent of Florida ninth graders who were never suspended as freshman graduated from high school. Those suspended once had a 52 percent graduation rate. For those suspended multiple times, the rate was just 38 percent.</p> <p>Nationally, the Schott report notes, only 59 percent of black males graduate from high school, versus 80 percent of white males. The worst rates were found in Washington, DC, and in Nevada&mdash;both had graduation rates of less than 50 percent for black males.</p> <p>That's a bleak picture. But the report also aims to highlight the achievements of young black men who graduate from high school, such as the more than two million with four-year college degrees and those who have left significant marks in the world of business, finance, science, and the arts.</p> <p>The high suspension and low graduation rates received national attention last January: President Barack Obama rolled out his first "school discipline guidelines," which hold schools legally responsible for the disparate impact of their disciplinary actions on different races. In February 2014 the president announced his "My Brother's Keeper" initiative. With more than $200 million in foundation support, it aims to help black youths finish school and stay out of the criminal justice system.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Schott report comes one week after the publication of <a href="http://www.law.columbia.edu/null/download?&amp;exclusive=filemgr.download&amp;file_id=613546" target="_blank"><i>Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected</i></a><i>,</i> a new report from Columbia Law School that highlights an even greater disparity in the rates of punishment for black girls: Crunching data from the Department of Education, the authors found that black girls are suspended six time<i>s</i> more often than white girls, whereas black boys were suspended three times as often as white boys.</p> <p>"We must challenge the assumption,"&nbsp;says Columbia Law School professor <a href="http://www.law.columbia.edu/fac/Kimberl%C3%A9_Crenshaw" target="_blank">Kimberl&eacute; Crenshaw</a>, the report's lead author, "that the lives of girls and women&mdash;who are often left out of the national conversation&mdash;are not also at risk."</p></body></html> MoJo Education Race and Ethnicity Top Stories Thu, 12 Feb 2015 11:00:09 +0000 Allie Gross 270221 at http://www.motherjones.com Montana GOP Legislator Wants to Ban Yoga Pants http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/02/montana-legislator-wants-ban-yoga-pants <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Montana Republican state Rep. David Moore has a plan to guide America out of the darkness&mdash;ban yoga pants.</p> <p>Moore, who is upset that group of naked bicyclists pedaled through Missoula last year, decided that what his state really needs right now is tighter regulations on trousers. His proposed bill, <a href="http://leg.mt.gov/bills/2015/billpdf/HB0365.pdf" target="_blank">HB 365</a>, would outlaw not just nudity, but also "any device, costume, or covering that gives the appearance of or simulates the genitals, pubic hair, anus region, or pubic hair region." Per the <a href="http://billingsgazette.com/news/government-and-politics/montana-lawmaker-seeks-to-outlaw-yoga-pants/article_71538ba2-d529-5ec3-a289-108de20e9398.html#utm_source=billingsgazette&amp;utm_campaign=hot-topics-2&amp;utm_medium=direct" target="_blank"><em>Billings Gazette</em></a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>The Republican from Missoula said tight-fitting beige clothing could be considered indecent exposure under his proposal.</p> <p>"Yoga pants should be illegal in public anyway," Moore said after the hearing.</p> <p>Moore said he wouldn&rsquo;t have a problem with people being arrested for wearing provocative clothing but that he'd trust law enforcement officials to use their discretion. He couldn&rsquo;t be sure whether police would act on that provision or if Montana residents would challenge it.</p> <p>"I don't have a crystal ball," Moore said.</p> </blockquote> <p>Merlin's pants! According to the <em>Great Falls Tribune</em>, Moore elaborated that he also <a href="http://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/news/politics/2015/02/10/montana-lawmaker-seeks-outlaw-provocative-clothing/23195699/" target="_blank">believes</a> Speedos should be illegal.</p> <p>HB 365 continues a miraculous stretch for the Montana legislature. Just last December the Republican-controlled legislature issued new dress-code guidelines for the state capitol, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/14/us/politics/montana-dress-code-has-female-legislators-sporting-new-look-clenched-jaws.html" target="_blank">advising</a> women that they should "should be sensitive to skirt lengths and necklines."</p> <p><strong>Update: </strong>Moore's bill has been <a href="http://billingsgazette.com/news/government-and-politics/bill-to-ban-provocative-clothing-in-montana-tabled/article_4bb16307-51ef-524f-8039-def2883fad93.html" target="_blank">tabled</a>.</p></body></html> MoJo Human Rights Wed, 11 Feb 2015 15:46:06 +0000 Tim Murphy 270181 at http://www.motherjones.com Man Arrested for Fatal Shootings of Three Muslim Students Near University of North Carolina http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/02/three-muslim-students-fatally-shot-unc-chapel-hill <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><em><strong>Update, February 11, 2015, 11:24 a.m.:</strong></em> In a statement, police say the shootings may have stemmed from a <a href="http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2015/02/11/5507770/chapel-hill-police-arrest-man.html#.VNuCCmR4oeE" target="_blank">parking dispute</a>. "Our preliminary investigation indicates that the crime was motivated by an ongoing neighbor dispute over parking. Hicks is cooperating with investigators," a police spokesman said Wednesday.</p> <p>A 46-year-old man was arrested for the fatal shootings of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/12/us/shooting-deaths-university-of-north-carolina-murder-charges.html?hp&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;module=first-column-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news&amp;assetType=nyt_now" target="_blank">three Muslim students</a> inside an apartment complex near the University of North Carolina on Tuesday.&nbsp;</p> <p>Police say Craig Hicks was charged with three counts of first-degree murder. The <a href="http://www.alertcarolina.unc.edu/go/doc/1395/2460590/" target="_blank">victims</a> are Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha. The sisters were reportedly enrolled at North Carolina State University; Barakat was a student at Chapel Hill's school of dentistry.</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>This <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ChapelHillShooting?src=hash">#ChapelHillShooting</a> has cast a shadow over this beautiful city of mine. RIP Deah, Yusor and Razan <a href="http://t.co/vM7c9GYaRi">pic.twitter.com/vM7c9GYaRi</a></p> &mdash; Adeyemi Adenola MD (@dradenolawhyte) <a href="https://twitter.com/dradenolawhyte/status/565431832452562944">February 11, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><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/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script><div class="fb-post" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153033291963449&amp;set=a.438093403448.210079.580418448&amp;type=1" data-width="466"> <div class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153033291963449&amp;set=a.438093403448.210079.580418448&amp;type=1">Post</a> by <a href="https://www.facebook.com/yabusalha">Yusor Abu-Salha</a>.</div> </div> </center> <p>Spencer turned himself into police Tuesday night "without incident," <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/02/11/reports-3-young-muslims-slain-in-chapel-hill-shooting-n-c-man-charged/" target="_blank">according</a> to Chatham County Sgt. Kevin Carey. While officials are still investigating a motive behind the murders, news of the students' deaths quickly sparked alarm over concerns of racial bias. The hashtag #MuslimLivesMatter was also created.</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>They were doing such amazing things, they didn't deserve this. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CapitolHillshooting?src=hash">#CapitolHillshooting</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MuslimLivesMatter?src=hash">#MuslimLivesMatter</a> <a href="http://t.co/jFrTTS0pZp">pic.twitter.com/jFrTTS0pZp</a></p> &mdash; Jade (@tkozarry) <a href="https://twitter.com/tkozarry/status/565521209744297985">February 11, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><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/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script><div class="fb-post" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152554500691714&amp;set=a.10150092997771714.274253.703106713&amp;type=1" data-width="466"> <div class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152554500691714&amp;set=a.10150092997771714.274253.703106713&amp;type=1">Post</a> by <a href="https://www.facebook.com/deah.barakat">Deah Barakat</a>.</div> </div> </center> <p>On Wednesday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations urged police to investigate the murders as a possible hate crime. An <a href="http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?ca=cf1b5307-c81f-4227-a898-0fb41a818c11&amp;c=d266b6a0-10fb-11e4-9c3b-d4ae5292c426&amp;ch=d26c0dd0-10fb-11e4-9c3b-d4ae5292c426" target="_blank">official statement </a>from the council specifically addressed Spencer's Facebook account, in which he allegedly called himself an "anti-theist" and spoke out against "radical Christians and radical Muslims."</p> <p>"Based on the brutal nature of this crime, the past anti-religion statements of the alleged perpetrator, the religious attire of two of the victims, and the rising anti-Muslim rhetoric in American society, we urge state and federal law enforcement authorities to quickly address speculation of a possible bias motive in this case," CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in the statement.</p> <p>"Our heartfelt condolences go to the families and loved ones of the victims and to the local community."</p> <p><strong>Correction: </strong><em>An earlier version of this story misstated the alleged shooter's name. This has since been corrected.</em></p></body></html> MoJo Guns Religion Wed, 11 Feb 2015 15:27:00 +0000 Inae Oh 270176 at http://www.motherjones.com Here Is the First Lawsuit Over Concussions in Pop Warner Football http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/02/pop-warner-football-concussions-complaint <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In the past year, both the <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-31269252" target="_blank">NFL</a> and the <a href="http://www.ncaa.com/news/ncaa/article/2014-07-29/ncaa-reaches-proposed-settlement-concussion-lawsuit" target="_blank">NCAA</a> have settled multimillion-dollar lawsuits over&nbsp;concussions and football-related trauma, and complaints&nbsp;have even trickled down to the <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/01/us/concussion-lawsuit-high-school-football/" target="_blank">high school level</a>. Next up in the legal crosshairs? Youth football.&nbsp;</p> <p>On Thursday, Debra Pyka, the mother of Joseph Chernach, a 25-year-old Wisconsin man&nbsp;who committed suicide in 2012, <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/lindseyadler/wisconsin-family-sues-pop-warner-football-after-player-commi#.xmygExwmo" target="_blank">filed a wrongful death&nbsp;lawsuit</a> against Pop Warner, claiming that cognitive damage from his three years&nbsp;in organized youth football was responsible for his&nbsp;death. The lawsuit claims&nbsp;Chernach suffered from postconcussion syndrome and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease most often associated with former NFL players, as a result of "numerous" concussions he sustained starting when he was 11.&nbsp;</p> <p>Chernach did not play football beyond high school; <em>BuzzFeed</em> <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/lindseyadler/youth-football-brain-disease-suicide#.edLbLoyrD" target="_blank">reported in December</a> that in a university examination of the brains of&nbsp;19 people&nbsp;who played youth and high school football, Chernach was one of four people to test positive for CTE.&nbsp;</p> <p>The fatal combination altered Chernach's "cognition, behavior, and mood" in the years leading up to his death, according to the lawsuit:</p> <div class="DC-note-container" id="DC-note-202533">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/notes/loader.js"></script><script> dc.embed.loadNote('//www.documentcloud.org/documents/1658063-joseph-chernach-suit-against-pop-warner/annotations/202533.js'); </script><div class="DC-note-container" id="DC-note-202534">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/notes/loader.js"></script><script> dc.embed.loadNote('//www.documentcloud.org/documents/1658063-joseph-chernach-suit-against-pop-warner/annotations/202534.js'); </script><p>Pyka's lawsuit came eight days&nbsp;after Boston University researchers <a href="http://www.espn.go.com/pdf/2015/0128/otlBUfootballstudy.pdf" target="_blank">released a study</a> on former NFL players who'd played football before age 12. The study, published in <em>Neurology</em>, showed that repeated hits earlier in their careers could raise the odds of cognitive decline as adults.&nbsp;</p> <p>Dr. Julian Bailes, chairman of Pop Warner's medical advisory committee, dismissed the BU study, telling <a href="http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/12243012/ex-nfl-players-played-tackle-football-youth-more-likely-thinking-memory-problems" target="_blank">ESPN's <em>Outside the Lines</em></a> that the effects on former professional athletes and those who never made it to that level are incomparable. The study's lead author, Dr. Robert Stern, countered that although the study&nbsp;does not show what happens to those beyond the professional level, it "does suggest something that I think makes logical sense. The logic is you shouldn't hurt your brain over and over and over again as a child."</p> <p>This isn't the first high-profile lawsuit brought against Pop Warner over on-field injuries.&nbsp;Last March, the family of 16-year-old Donnovan Hill, who suffered a spinal injury in 2011 while making a tackle during a game, <a href="http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2014/03/donnovan_hill_pop_warner_suit.php" target="_blank">refiled&nbsp;a personal-injury complaint</a> against Pop Warner and Hill's coaches in California. Among other things, Hill's lawyers <a href="http://www.hbsslaw.com/cases-and-investigations/cases/Pop-Warner" target="_blank">argued</a> that his coaches improperly taught him to tackle head-first. (Pop Warner later implemented rules <a href="http://www.popwarner.com/safety/practice_contact.htm" target="_blank">limiting contact</a> during practice and banning head-to-head contact.)</p> <p>Meanwhile, participation in youth football <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303519404579350892629229918" target="_blank">has dwindled</a> since 2008, in part due to the fear of on-field injuries. An <a href="http://aspenprojectplay.org/sites/default/files/espnw-Aspen%20Institute%20Project%20Play%20Survey%20of%20Parents%20on%20youth%20sports%20issues.pdf" target="_blank">espnW/Aspen Institute Project survey</a> last September found that 82.3 percent of parents surveyed considered preventing their children from playing football as a result of those risks. &nbsp;</p> <p>Read the rest of the&nbsp;complaint below:</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-1658063-joseph-chernach-suit-against-pop-warner">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/viewer/loader.js"></script><script> DV.load("//www.documentcloud.org/documents/1658063-joseph-chernach-suit-against-pop-warner.js", { width: 630, height: 540, sidebar: false, text: false, container: "#DV-viewer-1658063-joseph-chernach-suit-against-pop-warner" }); </script><noscript> <a href="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1658063/joseph-chernach-suit-against-pop-warner.pdf">Chernach suit against Pop Warner (PDF)</a> <br><a href="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1658063/joseph-chernach-suit-against-pop-warner.txt">Chernach suit against Pop Warner (Text)</a> </noscript> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Health Sports concussions NFL Tue, 10 Feb 2015 11:25:09 +0000 Edwin Rios 270026 at http://www.motherjones.com The Closer Republican and Democratic Senators Sit, the More They Disagree http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/02/senate-seating-partisan-closeness-study <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Over the years, various would-be reformers have called for the elimination of the tradition of congressional Republicans and Democrats sitting on <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/01/16/132975246/Crossing-The-Aisle-Literally-For-The-State-Of-The-Union" target="_blank">opposite sides of the aisle</a>. If partisan adversaries move closer together physically, the thinking goes, perhaps they'll find more common ground politically.</p> <p>If only it were that easy. In fact, seating Republicans and Democrats closer together might make the situation worse, according to a <a href="http://asr.sagepub.com/content/80/1/192.abstract" target="_blank">new study</a> by researchers at the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Toronto. Published in the <em>American Sociological Review</em>, the paper examines how US senators' voting behavior is affected by the level of interaction between lawmakers. Specifically, how does voting behavior change when senators of different parties sit closer together on the chamber floor or join more committees with each other?</p> <p>The study's coauthors, business profs <a href="http://www.rotman.utoronto.ca/FacultyAndResearch/Faculty/FacultyBios/Liu.aspx" target="_blank">Christopher Liu</a> of the University of Toronto and <a href="http://facultybio.haas.berkeley.edu/faculty-list/srivastava-sameer" target="_blank">Sameer Srivastava</a> of UC-Berkeley, looked at voting behavior in the Senate from 1973 to 2009. Their findings: Senators from the same party tended to converge in their voting behavior when they interacted more. If they sat closer together or joined more of the same committees, they later voted similarly. But under the same conditions, senators from different parties who interacted more tended to vote differently. In other words, when Republicans and Democrats sit closer together, their votes move further apart.</p> <p>In a polarized setting like the Senate, the study explains, "conflicting identities will become more salient, and the normative pressure to move further apart in their thoughts and actions will intensify." <a href="http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-02/uoc--ky020115.php" target="_blank">Translation</a>: "Sometimes keeping some distance is the better option."</p> <p>Srivastava says these polarizing effects are stronger and statistically significant when pairs of senators sit less than 33 feet from each other. Beyond that distance, the effects taper off. And, he adds, on the committee level, greater interaction only exacerbated the ideological division between pairs of Republicans and Democrats who joined committees with a history of political divisiveness. Yet in committees where members regularly cosponsored bills across party lines, greater interaction did not drive them apart.</p> <p>Inside the&nbsp;52-by-85-foot US Senate chamber, each senator sits at an assigned desk. Seats are reassigned every two years. The desks are moved to new positions, with senators choosing their spots according to seniority. <a href="https://www.senate.gov/vtour/sdesk.htm" target="_blank">By tradition</a>, Republicans sit on the left side of the main podium, and Democrats sit on the right. During the moving process, some senators shift closer toward the opposing side, while others shift farther away.</p> <p>Srivastava stresses that the study is intended only to demonstrate a social phenomenon that might also hold true in high-stakes situations beyond Capitol Hill. For example, in a corporate setting, similar dynamics might be seen after a high-profile and contentious merger that brings opposing executives onto the same board.</p> <p>The study does not lay out any quick fixes for a more cooperative Congress. There's no magic distance between adversaries that will foster greater compromise. But Srivastava does offer one suggestion: Since the polarizing effects described in the study only apply to situations with opposing and <em>public </em>identities, lawmakers may get along better behind closed doors. "Moving some of the interactions into more private settings could help, possibly," he explains. But in the end, he says, the main obstacle to compromise may not be where senators sit, but the personalities and beliefs they bring to the room in the first place.</p></body></html> MoJo Congress Top Stories Tue, 10 Feb 2015 11:00:08 +0000 Samantha Michaels 269911 at http://www.motherjones.com Please Keep Asking Ruth Bader Ginsburg, "How Many Women on the Supreme Court Are Enough?" http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/02/ruth-bader-ginsburg-women-supreme-court <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>When speaking to students at Georgetown University earlier this week, <a href="http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/will-enough-women-supreme-court-justice-ginsburg-answers-question/" target="_blank">Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg</a>&nbsp;said she is regularly asked when she believes there will be "enough" women sitting on the Supreme Court.</p> <p>While most of us would respond with nothing more than a groan or an eye roll<em> (Did you really just ask me that?)</em>, Ginsburg was equipped with the perfect answer, which you can watch below. (Bonus: Ginsburg also revealed that if God were to grant her any talent in the world, it would be to become a "great diva.")</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="462" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no" seamless="" src="http://video.pbs.org/viralplayer/2365419697" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> MoJo Video Sex and Gender Supreme Court Fri, 06 Feb 2015 22:15:25 +0000 Inae Oh 269841 at http://www.motherjones.com California Bill Seeks to Get All Children Vaccinated http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/02/california-bill-vaccine-exemption%20 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On the heels of an ongoing measles outbreak that has ignited a national debate over childhood vaccinations, California lawmakers introduced a bill on Wednesday seeking to put an end to the use of <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/f92bff5a295f458f9fbd05a78548ae2d/california-lawmakers-aim-limit-vaccine-exemptions" target="_blank">personal belief exemptions</a>&mdash;which allow parents to opt out of vaccinating their children&mdash;in the state.</p> <p>The proposed legislation would essentially require all school children to get vaccinated, unless immunization puts the child's health at risk.</p> <p>"We shouldn't wait for more children to sicken or die before we act," Rep. Richard Pan (D-Santa Monica) said at a press conference on Wednesday. "Parents are letting us know our current laws are insufficient to protect their kids."</p> <p>The current outbreak started in Disneyland and has since spread to 14 states, with at least <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/measles/cases-outbreaks.html" target="_blank">102 cases</a> reported, according to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. California is one of 20 states that allow for such waivers, which public health officials have cited as a primary cause for the recent reemergence of the highly contagious disease. Only <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/04/opinion/sutter-vaccine-mississippi-california/" target="_blank">92.3 percent</a> of children in California are vaccinated, and many of the state's more affluent neighborhoods report even lower rates.</p> <p>While Gov. Jerry Brown&nbsp;previously signed bills permitting more parental choice on the matter, a spokesperson for the governor indicated he would be open to possible changes.</p> <p>"The governor believes that vaccinations are profoundly important and a major public health benefit and any bill that reaches his desk will be closely considered," Evan Westrup <a href="http://www.mercurynews.com/health/ci_27458564/legislation-introduced-repeal-opt-out-provision-vaccination-law" target="_blank">said. </a></p> <p>Also on Wednesday, Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein released a <a href="http://www.boxer.senate.gov/press/release/boxer-feinstein-urge-california-health-and-human-services-secretary-to-reconsider-states-policy-on-vaccine-exemptions/" target="_blank">joint statement</a> calling upon California officials to consider tightening the state's vaccination policies and ending the both personal belief and religious exemptions.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/vaccinemap.png"></div> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Health Thu, 05 Feb 2015 18:39:28 +0000 Inae Oh 269666 at http://www.motherjones.com A California Lawmaker Is Trying (Again) to Force Washington's NFL Team to Change Its Racist Name http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/02/washington-redskins-football-congress-bill <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Washington's pro football team faces yet another challenge over its name and logo, this time from Congress.&nbsp;</p> <p>On Tuesday, Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.)&nbsp;<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/03/redskins-trademarks-bill_n_6609090.html" target="_blank">introduced a bill</a> that would revoke existing and future trademarks on the&nbsp;team's offensive name. The legislation would also declare the word "redskins" a disparaging term when used in reference to Native Americans, making it impossible to trademark under the Lanham Act, which prohibits trademarks that brings people into <a href="http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/1052" target="_blank">"contempt, or disrepute." </a>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>"It is unbelievable to me that, in the 21st century, a prominent NFL franchise is calling itself by a racial slur," Honda said <a href="http://honda.house.gov/news/press-releases/congressman-honda-introduces-legislation-to-remove-trademark-protection-for" target="_blank">in a statement</a>. "Allowing trademark protection of this word is akin to the government approving its use. Removing that trademark will send a clear message that this name is not acceptable."</p> <p>Honda, who <a href="https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr1278" target="_blank">cosponsored a similar bill</a> in 2013, is part of a group of lawmakers who have put pressure on the NFL and the team's owner, Dan Snyder, to change the team's name. Last September, for example, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)&nbsp;raised bills in the <a href="http://norton.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/norton-introduces-bill-to-strip-nfl-of-its-tax-exempt-status-for-use-of" target="_blank">House</a> and <a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/senate-bill/2884/text" target="_blank">Senate</a> that would revoke the NFL's tax-exempt status if <a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/senate-bill/2884/text" target="_blank">it were to "promote"</a> the use of the R-word. <a href="https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/s2884" target="_blank">Both</a> <a href="https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr5690" target="_blank">bills</a> failed to make it to a vote.&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, the team is in the middle of a lawsuit&nbsp;over its trademark registration, after the US Patent and Trademark Office's appeal board <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/us-patent-office-cancels-redskins-trademark-registration-says-name-is-disparaging/2014/06/18/e7737bb8-f6ee-11e3-8aa9-dad2ec039789_story.html" target="_blank">ruled</a> that its name and logo violated the Lanham Act and determined the team should lose its trademark protections. While the team has argued the law is "unconstitutionally vague," the <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/justice-department-intervenes-in-redskins-trademark-protection-lawsuit/2015/01/09/5840c07c-9815-11e4-8005-1924ede3e54a_story.html" target="_blank"><em>Washington Post</em> reported</a> that the US Justice Department will defend its constitutionality.&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course, Snyder has promised to never change his team's name, insisting that the moniker is a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/08/dumb-quotes-dan-snyder-washington-redskins" target="_blank">term of respect</a> rather than a racial slur.<strong>&nbsp;</strong>So far, calls from <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/10/dan-snyder-washington-redacted-letter-fans-native-americans" target="_blank">prominent Native American groups</a>, as well as the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/10/timeline-history-offensive-sports-mascots-redskins-snyder" target="_blank">grim history of racist team names</a> in other professional sports, haven't yet persuaded him that he's wrong. It's unlikely Congress will, either.</p></body></html> MoJo Congress Race and Ethnicity Sports Thu, 05 Feb 2015 15:23:40 +0000 Edwin Rios 269641 at http://www.motherjones.com These Badass Russian Lesbians Just Took the Best Selfie Ever—Because It Actually Matters http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/02/lesbian-couple-russia-anti-gay-lawmaker-milonov-plane-kissing-selfie <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>When Kseniya, the head of a lesbian night club in St. Petersburg, Russia, and her partner boarded their flight home from Moscow this week, they weren't expecting to run into one of their local politicians&mdash;much less the lawmaker who's been trying to make their lives hell. The women realized that Vitaly Milonov, a key architect of <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/08/sochi-olympics-putin-anti-gay-law-explained" target="_blank">Russia's infamous</a> "<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/02/world-congress-families-russia-gay-rights" target="_blank">gay propaganda</a>" bill, was sitting one row behind them on their Aeroflot flight, and decided this would be the perfect moment for a kissing selfie (Milonov is the redhead with the glasses):</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-version="4" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px);"> <div style="padding:8px;"> <div style=" background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;"> <div style=" background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAAGFBMVEUiIiI9PT0eHh4gIB4hIBkcHBwcHBwcHBydr+JQAAAACHRSTlMABA4YHyQsM5jtaMwAAADfSURBVDjL7ZVBEgMhCAQBAf//42xcNbpAqakcM0ftUmFAAIBE81IqBJdS3lS6zs3bIpB9WED3YYXFPmHRfT8sgyrCP1x8uEUxLMzNWElFOYCV6mHWWwMzdPEKHlhLw7NWJqkHc4uIZphavDzA2JPzUDsBZziNae2S6owH8xPmX8G7zzgKEOPUoYHvGz1TBCxMkd3kwNVbU0gKHkx+iZILf77IofhrY1nYFnB/lQPb79drWOyJVa/DAvg9B/rLB4cC+Nqgdz/TvBbBnr6GBReqn/nRmDgaQEej7WhonozjF+Y2I/fZou/qAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;">&nbsp;</div> </div> <p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"><a href="https://instagram.com/p/yh80cFlgsa/" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_top">&ETH;&#154;&Ntilde;&#130;&ETH;&frac34; &Ntilde;&#130;&ETH;&deg;&ETH;&frac14; &ETH;&frac12;&ETH;&deg; &ETH;&middot;&ETH;&deg;&ETH;&acute;&ETH;&frac12;&ETH;&micro;&ETH;&frac14; &Ntilde;&#132;&ETH;&frac34;&ETH;&frac12;&ETH;&micro;??? &ETH;&#156;&ETH;&#152;&ETH;&#155;&ETH;&#158;&ETH;&#157;&ETH;&#158;&ETH;&#146;! &ETH;&deg; &ETH;&frac12;&ETH;&deg;&ETH;&frac14; &ETH;&iquest;&ETH;&frac34;&Ntilde;&#133;&ETH;&micro;&Ntilde;&#128;! &ETH;&#156;&Ntilde;&#139; &ETH;&raquo;&ETH;&micro;&Ntilde;&#130;&ETH;&cedil;&ETH;&frac14; &ETH;&sup2; &ETH;&raquo;&Ntilde;&#142;&ETH;&plusmn;&ETH;&cedil;&ETH;&frac14;&Ntilde;&#139;&ETH;&sup1; &ETH;&ordm;&ETH;&raquo;&Ntilde;&#131;&ETH;&plusmn; "&ETH;&#152;&ETH;&frac12;&Ntilde;&#132;&ETH;&cedil;&ETH;&frac12;&ETH;&cedil;&Ntilde;&#130;&ETH;&cedil;"</a></p> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A photo posted by &ETH;&frac14;&ETH;&frac34;&Ntilde;&#143;&ETH;&plusmn;&ETH;&micro;&Ntilde;&#129;&ETH;&ordm;&ETH;&frac34;&ETH;&frac12;&ETH;&micro;&Ntilde;&#135;&ETH;&frac12;&ETH;&frac34;&Ntilde;&#129;&Ntilde;&#130;&Ntilde;&#140; (@infinitykseniya) on <time datetime="2015-01-31T19:43:07+00:00" style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;">Jan 31, 2015 at 11:43am PST</time></p> </div> </blockquote> <script async defer src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The caption says: "Who's that behind us??? MILONOV! And we don't give a shit! We're flying to our favorite nightclub, 'Infinity'"</p> <p>In a <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/russian-mp-says-homosexuals-mentally-ill-lesbian-selfie-223041825.html;_ylt=AwrTcdyLcdJUDh8A724nnIlQ" target="_blank">statement to AFP</a> yesterday, Milonov said the couple's selfie "shows that all LGBT people are mentally ill." (Yes, solid reasoning.) Kseniya later <a href="https://meduza.io/en/shapito/2015/02/02/kissing-girls-photobomb-russia-s-leading-homophobe" target="_blank">posted more information</a> about the encounter, along with more photos, on her Vkontakte page:</p> <p>"Lots of people are asking me about my last post: Did we really go and kiss in front of Milonov? Was it really Milonov? Maybe it was just somebody who looked like him? What was the flight like? And so on. Here are my answers: Yes it was really Milonov! As fate would have it, he was sitting in the row right behind us. The whole flight from Moscow to St. Petersburg, Milonov said nothing to us. We staged the photo shoot in front of him, and he hid behind his tablet when he realized. We're all super happy. Him&mdash;probably not so much."</p></body></html> MoJo Wed, 04 Feb 2015 20:24:25 +0000 Hannah Levintova 269626 at http://www.motherjones.com