MoJo Author Feeds: Jaeah Lee | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/rss/authors/90086 http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en Restaurant CEOs Make More Money in Half a Day Than Their Employees Make in a Year http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/07/epi-study-restaurant-ceo-minimum-wage-workers-pay-gap <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/AP06051809796_top.jpg"><div class="caption">Richard Drew/AP</div> </div> <p>Last year, according to <a href="http://www.epi.org/publication/top-restaurant-industry-ceos-721-times-minimum/" target="_blank">a new analysis</a> from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the CEOs of America's top 25&nbsp;restaurant corporations, including McDonald's, Burger King, the Cheesecake Factory, Chipotle, and Jack in the Box, took home an average of 721 times the money minimum-wage workers did, and 194 times the take-home pay of the typical American worker in a production or nonsupervisory job. Restaurants and food services employ <a href="http://www.bls.gov/cps/minwage2013.pdf" target="_blank">nearly half</a> of all American workers who earn the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per&nbsp;hour (or less).</p> <p>The report "confirms what we have long known," Cherri Delesline, a McDonald's crew member and mother of four in Charleston, South Carolina, told <em>Mother Jones</em>. Since November 2012, she and hundreds of other fast-food workers <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/05/fast-food-strikes-international-minimum-wage" target="_blank">have gone on strike</a> in 150 American cities and 80 foreign cities, demanding they be paid $15 per hour.&nbsp;"While CEOs make millions of dollars in profits, we still can't afford to pay our rent or buy clothes for our children," says Delesline, whose hourly pay is $7.35.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="400" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="//mjdwcharts.s3.amazonaws.com/c6M8t/2/index.html" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>"It's a picture of uncontrolled greed," EPI vice president Ross Eisenbrey says. "How can it be that the CEOs are making more in half a day than many of their workers are making in an entire year&mdash;and yet they can't afford to raise the pay of those workers?" CEO pay has been out of control across all business sectors since at least the late-1980s, he adds. From 1978 to 2013, for instance, average CEO compensation, adjusted for inflation, <a href="http://www.epi.org/publication/ceo-pay-continues-to-rise/" target="_blank">soared nearly 1,000 percent</a>, while the <a href="http://www.epi.org/publication/methodology-measuring-ceo-compensation-ratio/" target="_blank">typical worker's pay</a> increased by just over 10 percent.</p> <p>Roughly 1 in 10 American workers are employed by restaurants, according to the National Restaurant Association. The industry, the trade group predicts, will see <a href="http://www.restaurant.org/News-Research/Research/Facts-at-a-Glance" style="line-height: 24px;" target="_blank">$683 billion</a>&nbsp;in sales this year&mdash;up 17 percent over 2010. But a greater share of those revenues has been flowing to top executives. As this interactive graph shows, CEO compensation at America's top restaurant chains has ballooned since 2008, while the annual take of their lowest-paid workers has largely flatlined. (This analysis&nbsp;assumes tipped workers reach the federal minimum wage through base pay and tips, although that <a href="http://www.epi.org/publication/waiting-for-change-tipped-minimum-wage/" target="_blank">isn't always the case</a>, as <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/05/minimum-wage-tip-map-waiters-waitresses-servers" target="_blank">we've reported</a> previously.)</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="400" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="//mjdwcharts.s3.amazonaws.com/yAfME/3/index.html" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>While the recent strikes have pressured a few chains to consider <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/04/mcdonalds-ceo-minimum-wage-hike_n_5445539.html" target="_blank">raising&nbsp;their wages</a>, some executives argue that raising pay would hurt business, and franchise owners <a href="http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2013/09/01/workers-protests-highlight-fast-food-economics/4nYqt8xRm9J73vASTzcSXM/story.html" target="_blank">say</a> their thin profit margins can't bear any increases. Just last week, Andy Puzder, CEO of the conglomerate that owns Carl's Jr. and Hardee's, <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/news/the-downside-of-minimum-wage-hikes-200357186.html" target="_blank">told Yahoo Finance</a> that raising the federal minimum would force companies like his to raise prices and ultimately reduce job opportunities for young and inexperienced workers. You can't solve the problem, he said, "by having the government artificially mandate a wage increase when there's no economic growth to support that."</p> <p>Puzder&mdash;whose compensation totaled&nbsp;<a href="http://www.forbes.com/profile/andrew-puzder/" style="line-height: 24px;" target="_blank">nearly $4.5 million</a>&nbsp;in 2012, or&nbsp;294&nbsp;times what&nbsp;minimum-wage workers made that year&mdash;claimed that "if government gets out of the way, businesses will create jobs&hellip;Wages will go up and the country will go back to a state of prosperity instead of what we're in now."</p> <p>Actually, the financial information company&nbsp;<a href="http://www.inc.com/sageworks/restaurant-industry-report.html" style="line-height: 24px;" target="_blank">Sageworks&nbsp;reports</a>&nbsp;that the restaurant industry fared pretty well during the recession, growing at about&nbsp;5 percent annually since 2009. And the majority of fast-food workers aren't teenagers: <a href="http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/fast-food-workers-2013-08.pdf" target="_blank">More than 60 percent</a> are 20 or older, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research. As <em>Huffington Post</em>'s Jillian <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/07/andy-puzder-minimum-wage_n_5563975.html" target="_blank">Berman points out</a>, more adults are working in fast food not because they can live off the wages, but simply because they have no better alternatives.</p> <p>Meanwhile, a new study finds that <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/why-small-business-owners-support-a-higher-minimum-wage/" target="_blank">61 percent</a> of small business owners favor a minimum wage hike to keep pace with cost of living, supporting <a href="http://www.dol.gov/minwage/mythbuster.htm" target="_blank">previous findings</a> on the topic. Some national retail companies, such as <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/nicoleleinbachreyhle/2014/06/26/ikea-joins-movement-minimum-wage-increase/" target="_blank">Ikea and Gap</a>, have also chosen to raise their starting wage. Likewise wholesale merchandiser Costco, where entry-level employees get $11.50 an hour. "We know it's a lot more profitable in the long term to minimize employee turnover and maximize employee productivity, commitment, and loyalty," CEO Craig Jelinek&nbsp;said in a <a href="http://www.businessforafairminimumwage.org/news/00272/costco-eileen-fisher-and-small-business-owners-nationwide-support-fair-minimum-wage-act-i" target="_blank">statement</a> supporting of a bill that would raise the federal minimum wage&mdash;to just over $10.</p> <p>Here's a list of the 25 CEOs EPI analyzed, and what they made last year.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="820" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="//mjdwcharts.s3.amazonaws.com/bVNiK/2/index.html" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="70%"></iframe></p></body></html> Politics Charts Interactives Corporations Income Inequality Labor Top Stories Mon, 14 Jul 2014 10:00:07 +0000 Jaeah Lee 255796 at http://www.motherjones.com Inside Yingli, the Giant Chinese Solar Company Sponsoring the World Cup http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/07/yingli-chinese-solar-sponsor-world-cup <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/w7q9rV6LViI?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>It takes about&nbsp;two hours by car from the Chinese capital Beijing&nbsp;to get to the&nbsp;smog-blanketed city of&nbsp;Baoding. I don't mean to be rude, but it's nothing much to speak of,&nbsp;typical of the Northeast's expanse of industrial wastelands, threaded together by super-highways.</p> <p>So we were surprised to find that Baoding&mdash;where air pollution registers at <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/12/china-smog-pollution-beijing" target="_blank">hazardous levels</a> for more than a quarter of the year&mdash;was also home to the sprawling campus of the world's top solar panel manufacturer, Yingli. We had landed, it seemed, in the very epicenter of China's clean tech revolution.&nbsp;After weeks of negotiations, my colleague Jaeah Lee and I were finally granted access to film this exclusive footage at Yingli's&nbsp;headquarters in the fall of 2013. What awaited inside blew our socks off: acres of high-tech solar wizardry attended to by an impressive fleet of skilled workers, and an understandably boastful management.</p> <p>In the video above, we take you behind-the-scenes of Yingli, and put a face to the name you've been seeing in the background of World Cup games: In&nbsp;2010,&nbsp;Yingli became the first renewable energy company, and the first Chinese company, to partner with the tournament.</p></body></html> Environment Video China Climate Change Climate Desk Energy International Top Stories World Cup 2014 Fri, 11 Jul 2014 10:00:10 +0000 James West and Jaeah Lee 255916 at http://www.motherjones.com From the Mao Generation to the Me Generation: Tales From the New China http://www.motherjones.com/media/2014/05/china-evan-osnos-age-of-ambition-book-interview <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/evan3_0.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Evan Osnos in New York City, May 2014. </strong>James West</div> </div> <p>When Evan Osnos first arrived in Beijing as a college student in 1996, China was a different country. The economy was smaller than Italy's. The Internet was a nascent, little-known thing. Despite nearly 20 years of economic reforms and opening up to the West, Chinese people still rejected imports like Hollywood and McDonald's.</p> <p>"Cameras had failed to convey how much closer it was, in spirit and geography, to the windswept plains of Mongolia than to the neon lights of Hong Kong," Osnos writes of that time in <em><a href="http://www.evanosnos.com/Books.html" target="_blank">Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China</a></em>, his new book on modern China. Soon, everything would change.</p> <p>Two years later, Osnos returned for a summer to find that a feverish desire to consume&mdash;houses, Cokes, meat&mdash;had taken hold. A new magazine called the <em>Guide to Purchasing Upscale Goods</em> published stories with titles like "After the Divorce, Who Gets the House?" A new Communist Party slogan proclaimed "Borrow Money to Realize Your Dreams."</p> <p>By the time Osnos relocated to China in 2005, first as a reporter for the <em>Chicago Tribune</em> and later as one for the <em>New Yorker</em>, "China was building the square-foot equivalent of Rome every two weeks."</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/book-cover-2.jpg"></div> <p>How does one tell the story of a place changing so rapidly that the outside observer can hardly keep up? In his book, released just last week,&nbsp;Osnos argues that the country's remarkable growth has unleashed an age of possibility for Chinese citizens, an unprecedented fervor for chasing dreams and soul-searching. For eight years, Osnos followed the lives of Chinese people tugged by these tides of change: A peasant's daughter turned online dating tycoon, a young political scientist and ardent defender of China's one-party system, a street sweeper moonlighting as a poet, a political dissident revered abroad but erased at home, corrupt officials that make Washington look like child's play.</p> <p>Through these stories Osnos traces the cadence of everyday life that often gets lost amid modern China's played-out superlatives. Now living in Washington, DC, Osnos spoke to <em>Mother Jones</em> about his run-ins with the Great Firewall, overnight moguls, pollution, and why now's the golden age for foreign correspondents in China.</p> <p><em><strong>Mother Jones</strong></em>: What are the most notable ways China has changed since you first visited?</p> <p><strong>Evan Osnos</strong>: This is one of the things that's thrilling about China's metamorphosis, which is really what it is. It's how physical it is. When I lived in Beijing in 1996, it was a horizontal city. If you wanted to go out for a burger, if you wanted to really treat yourself, you went to this place called the Jianguo Hotel. The architect had proudly described it as a perfect replica of a Holiday Inn that he had seen in Palo Alto, California. It's exactly what you would imagine a Palo Alto Holiday Inn looks like.</p> <p>Now, of course, 40 percent of the skyscrapers under construction worldwide are in China. It's rare, if you look back through history, there are these moments&mdash;we had one in the United States, there was one in the UK&mdash;where countries just physically transform themselves. That was quite striking.</p> <p><strong>MJ</strong>: In your book, you also talk about China's intangible transformations.</p> <p><strong>EO</strong>: In the end, it was the non physical transformation that became the subject of this book. It was this very private, and in some ways kind of intimate, change in the way people saw themselves as citizens, as members of the society. Traditionally you saw yourself as a member of a group: the family, then the village, then the factory, and then of course&nbsp;the country at large.</p> <p>I think a generation ago, people in China would have always talked about the collective. Today, the Chinese call it the "Me" generation, because that's exactly what it is, people who are able and quite determined to think about their own lives in ways that are specific, idiosyncratic, and infused with personal choice. They imagine themselves to be the actor at the center of this drama. That's a transformation. It's meaningful in all kinds of ways&mdash;politically, economically, socially.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/AP850413027Wangfujing1985_0.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Sunday shoppers stroll Wangfujing Street, Beijing, April 1985. </strong>Neal Ulevich/AP</div> </div> <p><strong>MJ</strong>: In a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/03/opinion/sunday/chinas-censored-world.html?_r=0" target="_blank">recent op-ed</a> in the <em>New York Times</em>, you wrote about trying to publish a Chinese edition of this book. Local publishers wanted to significantly revise or censor politically sensitive sentences. Were you surprised at by this, given the book prominently features Tiananmen and the June 4th protests, and dissidents like <a href="https://www.google.com/search?q=chen+guangcheng&amp;ie=utf-8&amp;oe=utf-8&amp;aq=t&amp;rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&amp;client=firefox-a&amp;channel=fflb" target="_blank">Chen Guangcheng</a>, <a href="https://www.google.com/search?q=liu+xiaobo&amp;ie=utf-8&amp;oe=utf-8&amp;aq=t&amp;rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&amp;client=firefox-a&amp;channel=sb" target="_blank">Liu Xiaobo</a>, and <a href="https://www.google.com/search?q=shi+tao&amp;ie=utf-8&amp;oe=utf-8&amp;aq=t&amp;rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&amp;client=firefox-a&amp;channel=sb" target="_blank">Shi Tao</a>?</p> <p><strong>EO</strong>: After I had written the book in English, the question I'd been thinking about for a long time is how to get this to a Chinese audience. Chinese readers are buying books in translation, particularly non-fiction about China, in large numbers. That's exciting and important&mdash;it actually feels like a fair trade: I've been there writing about their country, and I like the idea of being able to put my story back into their hands, partly for accountability's sake. If they say this doesn't ring true, then I've learned something.</p> <p>The problem is that in order to publish a book in mainland China, you have to agree to be subject to censorship. That's the nature of the system. I don't challenge that system on its face. It's their system. But as an author I have a choice to make whether I'll participate or I won't. And when they came back and said 'Here are the cuts you have to make. You won't be able to talk about dissidents like Chen Guangcheng or Ai Weiwei, we don't want you to talk about Chinese history in a certain way.'</p> <p>I decided that that's not something that I can do. If I give a portrait to the Chinese public of themselves that's not actually how I see the world and how they look to me, that's not an honest accounting. It would be as odd as if somebody came to the United States and wrote a book about the last 100 years and said, 'You know, I don't want to write about the Civil Rights Movement because it's sensitive, awkward, and uncomfortable. So let's just not talk about that.' I felt like I couldn't do the equivalent in Chinese.</p> <p><strong>MJ</strong>: One of the themes you return to throughout the book is how decades of economic development has unleashed a sense of ambition among Chinese citizens, to seek fortune, information, and a sense of self. But as you point out, these forces have run up against limits under China&rsquo;s authoritarian regime. When did these limits first become clear to you?</p> <p><strong>EO</strong>: When I first moved there, I was overwhelmed by the sense of aspiration. All of a sudden, people who had never really had the opportunity to define their own goals in life had embraced that. There was a woman named Gong Haiyan who I wrote about when she was just out of graduate school, and all of a sudden she was taking her company public on the stock exchange, and got very wealthy. That seemed like in its own way a symbol of this moment in China.</p> <p>Then over and over I started running into people whose aspirations had led them into a confrontation with the state, Ai Weiwei being perhaps the most dramatic example. He was obviously using his art in a way that he thought was going to advance certain political objectives. He found out he couldn't do that, and in some sense my interactions with Ai Weiwei focused my attention on that confrontation, on that collision.</p> <p>It wasn't just unfolding in the lives of people as unusual as Ai Weiwei, it was in fact unfolding in microscopic ways all over the country. For instance, if you're a small-time entrepreneur, and you're in a city in which you need a license to operate a business, and you discover that you can't get a license to operate that business unless you know somebody.</p> <p><strong>MJ</strong>: Give us an example of how the Chinese government's restrictions on access to information, like the Great Firewall of China, got in the way of your reporting.</p> <p><strong>EO</strong>: If you're trying to write about what the Chinese people are talking about, you can sometimes get a distorted picture if you go online and look at the conversation on social media. You'll discover that people are not really talking about <a href="https://www.google.com/search?q=bo+xilai&amp;ie=utf-8&amp;oe=utf-8&amp;aq=t&amp;rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&amp;client=firefox-a&amp;channel=sb" target="_blank">Bo Xilai</a>&mdash;the big corruption case of a couple of years ago&mdash;or you might find that people are not talking about the latest political rumors the way you would expect them to. The truth is, they are talking about them, but they're being censored and they're being removed in real time.</p> <p>For some of us as foreigners, we can go to China and it is a wonderful place. It's a place I love and it's been a part of my life for 20 years and it will continue to be. But if you go to China and all you see is these new skyscrapers and this sense of progression and openness, you're not seeing the country as it truly is.</p> <p><strong>MJ</strong>: You've written a lot about China's crackdown on the web. Has the Internet actually expanded creative and individual freedom in China, or has it merely created the illusion of freedom?</p> <p><strong>EO</strong>: Great question. There's no question that the internet has created a greater sense of intellectual possibility. The greatest example is somebody I met towards the end of my time there, a guy I write about in the book, who's a street sweeper. When you meet him, you think 'I understand the contours of his life. He's not a person with an intellectual outlet.' He said to me, 'Everybody thinks that I don't have an education. And what they don't know, what they don't understand, is that I'm a poet. I'm the host of a forum online for modern Chinese poetry.' At first I thought the guy was unhinged. And then I went online and discovered that it was true. He really did have an entire universe that he had created and was a part of. There were people that he knew, and there were poetry competitions that he'd won.</p> <p>This was really important in understanding what the Internet allows people to do. There are limitations, but I think there's a danger in imagining that the limitations means that there's not substance.</p> <p><strong>MJ</strong>: His poetry was quite good!</p> <p><strong>EO</strong>: He was ambitious in his poetry. He was not doing small bore stuff. He saw himself as a descendent of Mao, and Mao, after all, was a poet. He really believed that there was nobility and dignity in trying to put ideas to paper. It simply wasn't available to him before the internet. If we think the internet is transformative for us in the United States, imagine how transformative it is for people in China who are otherwise living in these fairly isolated areas.</p> <p><strong>MJ</strong>: What did you find most challenging about writing about the complexities of life in modern China for an American audience?</p> <p><strong>EO</strong>: You have to figure out a way as a writer to capture idiosyncrasy, what is it that makes it distinctive without making it overly exotic. It's very easy when you're a writer talking about this very distant place to take the names of streets and translate them back into English, and make them sound almost other worldly. I used to live on Cotton Flower Alley, for instance, and I lived next to Pineapple Junction.</p> <p>There is a way of over-exotifying a place, when in fact my goal is that by describing Chinese people as they are, and as they really live, that I will allow American readers to see them as they appear to me: they're much, much more like us than I think we ever imagined them to be.</p> <p><strong>MJ</strong>: What have you found to be the biggest shortcomings in the outside world's view of China?</p> <p><strong>EO</strong>: It's funny, actually, I'm sort of complimentary of the journalism on China these days. This is not just because the folks doing it are my friends. As much as we talk about the troubles that foreign journalists have in China today&mdash;and they're substantial&mdash;this is a golden age for foreign correspondents in China because technology allows us to travel the country faster and farther than we ever have before, and it allows you to be in touch with the rest of the world, so you can understand what the rest of the world understands about China, and what they don't.</p> <p>And also I think the journalists who are there are self selecting. Nobody gets sent to China these days. You go because you've fought hard to get there: You've probably studied the language, you've studied the place. So there's people there who are determined to capture it.</p> <p>Inevitably, our image of China just simply can't keep up with the changes inside the country. Everything is happening in China at exponential speed. Maybe you would have said, five years ago, that people in China were feeling good about their economic status. If you said that today, people on the ground in Beijing would say you're out of touch, because it's changed substantially. It's hard to keep up.</p> <p><strong>MJ</strong>: So just how bad was the air pollution?</p> <p><strong>EO</strong>: Over the last few years air quality has reached a kind of tipping point in the public consciousness where conditions that people used to accept, they no longer accept. Part of that is that they feel the effects on their health, and part of that is about information: They now have access to numbers that were never available before. They're about to read what it is that they're inhaling. But really, more importantly&mdash;and I think this is critical&mdash;they know what their children are inhaling. That's had a metabolic effect on the politics of pollution.</p> <p>The entire Chinese political enterprise is founded on a bargain: 'we will make your lives better, if you'll allow us to stay in power.' That has been the bargain for the last 30 years. In order to maintain power, the party basically has to ensure that people still believe that their lives are getting better.</p> <p>I think a few years ago people defined "getting better" in a different way than they do today. It used to be that if your income was getting a little bit higher every year, you were reasonably satisfied. Today, people are thickening their conception of what it means to live a good life. And they're demanding more things, like clean air for instance, and safe water.</p> <p><strong>MJ</strong>: In a <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2014/05/06/writing-china-evan-osnos-age-of-ambition/" target="_blank">recent interview</a> with the <em>Wall Street Journal</em>, you recalled speaking at a conference a few years back where you warned that corruption was going to be a bigger issue. You said that back then a lot of people disagreed with you. But you turned out to be right. If you had to guess, what emerging issues do you expect will be important in the coming years?</p> <p><strong>EO</strong>: We should be humble about our ability to predict this place. The longer you're there, the less comfortable you are making predictions, because you realize just how hard it is to get it right.</p> <p>But I do think that if I was making a list of the issues that are going to be the most important in China's future, the environment is really near the top. It's an issue that in the past was not a political factor, and all of a sudden it's become a political factor. I think that changes where the country can go, because all of a sudden they have to figure out how to reward people in different ways: They can't allow the economy to grow at the kind of unbridled speed that it had before.</p> <p>Anybody who's spent a lot of time there has seen people who are just willing to do absolutely everything in order to will themselves from one place in life to another place in life. In China today, if you're not moving forward, then you are moving backwards. That's still the dominant ethos. That's not going to change.</p></body></html> Media Interview China Top Stories Sat, 24 May 2014 06:08:14 +0000 Jaeah Lee and James West 252521 at http://www.motherjones.com Map: Which States Allow Gay Marriage? http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/05/gay-marriage-states-legal-map <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><em><strong>Latest update, July 28:</strong> On Monday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court&rsquo;s February ruling which found Virginia&rsquo;s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. However the court's decision will not go into <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/chrisgeidner/federal-appeals-court-strikes-down-virginia-same-sex-marriag" target="_blank">effect immediately</a>. You can read the full opinion <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/documents/1236625-usca4-ssm-20140728" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p> <p>Just a few years ago, the fight for marriage equality looked incredibly bleak. More than half of all states had banned same-sex marriage through ballot initiatives or legislation, with some states going so far as to inscribe same-sex marriage bans into their constitutions.</p> <p>Supporters of marriage equality today are reversing the situation at an astonishing pace. A <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/12/the-marriage-plot-inside-this-years-epic-campaign-for-gay-equality/265865/">massive </a><a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/12/the-marriage-plot-inside-this-years-epic-campaign-for-gay-equality/265865/">2012 campaign</a> by marriage equality activists to reverse the pattern of defeat they'd suffered at the ballot box, as well as the Supreme Court's 2013 decision to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/26/supreme-court-doma-decision_n_3454811.html">strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act </a>have proven to be major catalysts for change.</p> <p>But progress has been uneven. Depending on the state, the right to same-sex marriage relies on voters approving a new constitutional amendment, legislators repealing a law, or judges striking down the ban (and the judge's decision surviving the appeals process). States with domestic partnerships or civil unions don't offer nearly the same protections for couples as states that recognize same-sex marriage. For instance, Wisconsin law allows domestic partnerships but makes it <a href="http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/765.pdf">illegal</a> for same-sex couples to travel out of state to marry. Couples who do so, and continue living in Wisconsin, risk <a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2014/0203/Same-sex-marriage-Four-Wisconsin-couples-challenge-state-ban-video">a $10,000 fine and nine months in prison</a>.</p> <p>Below are two maps that will help you keep it all straight. The maps, which are continually updated, tell you everything you need to know about how marriage equality is spreading across the country.</p> <p>First, here's a look at where same-sex marriage stands in each state:</p> <script src="http://assets.motherjones.com/interactives/plugins/map-table/tabletop.js"></script><div id="map_container"> <header><h2>Where Is Gay Marriage Legal in the US?</h2> <p>The current status of gay marriage&nbsp;across the US. Latest state to legalize highlighted below. Click any state for details.</p> <dl><dt class="Legal">item</dt> <dd>Legal</dd> <dt class="Appeal">item</dt> <dd>Ban struck down, appeal pending</dd> <dt class="Challenged">item</dt> <dd>Banned, currently challenged in court</dd> <dt class="Banned">item</dt> <dd>Banned</dd> </dl></header><section id="state_specific_area"><span style="display:none">&nbsp;</span></section><section><aside>Source: Lambda Legal, Human Rights Campaign</aside></section></div> <script> var super_simple_map = function(options) { var svg_string = '<svg version="1.1" class="us_map" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" x="0px" y="0px" width="632px" height="400px" viewBox="0 0 632 400" enable-background="new 0 0 632 400" xml:space="preserve"> <g> <path class="HI" fill="#e6e6e6" d="M160.737,363.397l1.33-2.439l1.553-0.222l0.222,0.555l-1.442,2.106H160.737z M167.723,360.847 l4.214,1.774l1.442-0.221l1.108-2.662l-0.443-2.328l-2.882-0.333l-2.772,1.22L167.723,360.847z 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state_specific_area.hide(); remove_previously_selected(); }); /* FANCY FADE if you're feeling fancy, you can apply a fade in and out here instead replace the two lines above with state_specific_area.addClass('fade-out') map_svg.find('path').bind('click', function() { state_specific_area.addClass('fade-out').removeClass('fade-in'); remove_previously_selected(); }); and search for FANCY FADE below to make a similar change there If you do this you'll need to copy our fade-in fade-out css or make your own */ var state_specific_headline = jQuery('<h3 id="state_specific_headline">'); state_specific_area.append(state_specific_headline); var state_specific_body = jQuery('<p id="state_specific_body">'); state_specific_area.append(state_specific_body); var color_map = function(states) { for (var i = 0; i < states.length; i++) { var state = states[i]; var class_to_add = ''; if (!state['class']){ class_to_add = ' blank'; } else { class_to_add = ' clickable ' + state['class']; } var state_svg = map_svg.find('.' + state.abbr); var old_class = state_svg.attr('class'); if (typeof old_class !== 'string') { //an ancient version of jquery state_svg.get(0).setAttribute('class', state_svg.get(0).getAttribute('class') + class_to_add ); } else { var new_class = old_class + class_to_add; state_svg.attr('class', new_class); } } } var place_state_specific_data = function(states) { for (var i = 0; i < states.length; i++) { var state = states[i]; var state_svg = map_svg.find('.' + state.abbr); state_svg.attr('data-state-specific-headline', state['headline'] ); state_svg.attr('data-state-specific-body', state['body'] ); //this is what happens when you click on a state state_svg.unbind('click'); state_svg.bind('click', function(event) { //first update the state_specific var headline = jQuery(event.target).attr('data-state-specific-headline'); var body = jQuery(event.target).attr('data-state-specific-body'); state_specific_headline.html(headline); state_specific_body.html(body); state_specific_area.show(); /* FANCY FADE if you're feeling fancy, you can apply a fade in and out here instead replace the line above with state_specific_area.addClass('fade-in').removeClass('fade-out'); and search for FANCY FADE above to make a similar change there If you do this you'll need to copy our fade-in fade-out css or make your own */ //give class selected remove_previously_selected(); var state = jQuery(event.target); previous_class = state.attr('class'); if (typeof previous_class !== 'string') { state.get(0).setAttribute('class', state.get(0).getAttribute('class') + ' selected' ); } else { new_class = previous_class + ' selected'; state.attr('class', new_class); } }); } } var tabletop_options = { key: options.key, callback: function(data) { color_map(data); place_state_specific_data(data); if (options.initial_state) { map_svg.find('.' + options.initial_state).click(); } }, simpleSheet: true }; if (options.proxy) { tabletop_options.proxy = options.proxy; } Tabletop.init(tabletop_options); }; </script><script> super_simple_map({ container: 'state_specific_area', initial_state: 'SD', //proxy: proxy here, key: 'https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Aq7nL59nLsCMdDJxZUo4cFZaWGF5d0pSZU9XSE44NVE&output=html', }) </script><p>As the above map shows, more states ban same-sex marriage today than allow it. But that's only part of the story.</p> <p>Although the end of DOMA didn't have an immediate effect on state laws, the 2013 Supreme Court ruling signaled that state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. Accordingly, federal judges in nearly a dozen states&mdash;the ones in light green on the map above&mdash;have overturned such bans. (In each case, the state has appealed.)</p> <p>With that in mind, the fight for marriage equality looks very different&mdash;more like a movement that is succeeding at a faster clip every year:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/marriageEqualityGIFnew_4.gif"></div> <p>The tipping point came in 2012, when voters in Washington, Maine, and Minnesota recognized the rights of same-sex couples to marry. Of the nearly two-dozen states that recognize some form of same-sex unions, more than half joined the pack in just the past two years.</p></body></html> Politics Full Width Interactives Civil Liberties Gay Rights Supreme Court Top Stories Explainers Mon, 19 May 2014 10:00:19 +0000 — By the Mother Jones news staff 251796 at http://www.motherjones.com Map: Is There a Risky Chemical Plant Near You? http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/04/west-texas-hazardous-chemical-map <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Last April 17, an explosion at a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/04/west-texas-fertilizer-explosion" target="_blank">fertilizer plant in West, Texas,</a> killed 15 people, injured at least 200, and destroyed dozens of homes, schools, and a <a href="http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2014/04/04/groundbreaking-symbolizes-hope-in-west-one-year-later/" target="_blank">nursing home</a>. In the wake of the disaster, we wondered: Can we locate the industrial sites in your community where similar incidents might occur?</p> <p>The answer to that question, it turns out, is not so simple. Even basic information about sites where hazardous chemicals are kept and what kinds of accidents can be anticipated is tucked away in official documents. Much of that data is not easily accessible due to post-9/11 security measures, making it nearly impossible to get a clear sense of whether you live, work, or go to school near the next potential West, Texas.</p> <p>Here's what we do know: Millions of Americans live near&nbsp;a site that could put them in harm's way if hazardous chemicals leak or catch fire. The Environmental Protection Agency monitors roughly 12,000 facilities that store one or more of 140 toxic or flammable chemicals that are potentially hazardous to nearby communities. In late 2012, a Congressional Research Service <a href="http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/557127-crs-rmp-update-11-16-12.html" target="_blank">report</a> found that more than 2,500 of these sites estimate that their worst-case scenarios could affect between 10,000 and 1 million people; more than 4,400 estimated that their worst-case scenarios could affect between 1,000 and 9,999 people.</p> <p>The interactive map below, based on data from the EPA's Risk Management Program, shows at least&nbsp;9,000 facilities where a "<a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/557127-crs-rmp-update-11-16-12.html" target="_blank">catastrophic chemical release</a>" or what the EPA calls a "<a href="http://www.epa.gov/oem/docs/chem/Chap-04-final.pdf" target="_blank">worst-case scenario</a>" could harm nearby residents. Hover over any site to see its exact location, the chemicals it stores, and how many accidents it&nbsp;documented in its most recent 5-year&nbsp;reporting period.&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/legend_3-01.jpg"></div> </div> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="500px" src="http://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v3/tasneemraja.i0b991kb/zoompan,geocoder,share.html" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>According to chemical safety experts, this is the most comprehensive national-level chemical safety data out there. But there's a lot it doesn't tell us.</p> <p>First, don't let the facilities with no accidents fool you. Before its explosion last year, West Fertilizer's EPA records showed that it had no mishaps. "A lot of facilities, even though they haven't had any accidents, it doesn't mean they aren't capable of [one], and that the damage can't be similar to what we've seen in West, Texas," explains&nbsp;Sofia Plagakis, a policy analyst with the <a href="http://www.foreffectivegov.org/" target="_blank">Center for Effective Government</a>'s environmental right-to-know program. "It only takes one accident,"&nbsp;says John Deans, a former toxics campaigner at Greenpeace.</p> <p>And if you click on the West Fertilizer Co. plant in West, Texas, you won't see any record of ammonium nitrate, the prime suspect in last year's explosion. (The other suspect was anhydrous ammonia, which the EPA does monitor.) That's because the chemical is not monitored under the&nbsp;EPA's Risk Management Program. Almost every facility on the map above also stores a chemical whose name has been redacted. That information is only accessible if you visit one of 15 EPA Federal Reading Rooms scattered across the country. Basically, the data used to make this map can't be used to predict the next West, Texas-style accident; it couldn't even predict the first West, Texas, accident.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20Shot%202014-04-16%20at%203.01.25%20PM.png"></div> <p>More data is out there, however. To find out more about where ammonium nitrate is stored, try the Department of Homeland Security, which <a href="http://www.dhs.gov/ammonium-nitrate-security-statutes-and-regulations" target="_blank">monitors</a> facilities that keep the chemical under its Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program. Yet DHS never knew about West Fertilizer, even though the plant told state agencies in 2012 that it stored 540,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate, about <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/20/us-usa-explosion-regulation-idUSBRE93J09N20130420" target="_blank">1,350 times</a> the amount that triggers the reporting requirement. While West Fertilizer didn't report to DHS, it did disclose its ammonium nitrate storage to Texas' emergency planning committee in a federally required <a href="http://www2.epa.gov/epcra-tier-i-and-tier-ii-reporting" target="_blank">report</a> that's meant to help firefighters, hospitals, and other first responders prepare for an accident.</p> <p>If you're confused, you're not alone. Disparate government data sets and patchy oversight have raised more questions about chemical risks than regulators or citizens can answer. In the wake of the West, Texas, tragedy, the Obama administration promised to address these knowledge gaps and issued an <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/08/obama-chemical-plant-safety-order-west-texas-explosion" target="_blank">executive order,</a> calling for agencies such as DHS and the EPA to improve their info sharing with state agencies and local responders.</p> <p>Other organizations have tried to determine which chemical plants pose the greatest risks to nearby residents. In 2011, Greenpeace's Deans and his team set out to find some answers in the EPA data. But publicly accessible risk data doesn't say exactly how close facilities are located to communities, how many people live in those communities, or what kinds of damage an accident might cause. The West Fertilizer explosion destroyed or irreparably damaged <a href="http://kut.org/post/west-isd-demolishing-schools-damaged-plant-explosion" target="_blank">three of the town's</a> four schools. Had the accident happened during the day, Plagakis asks, "Did the school know how to get the students out of harm's way?"</p> <p>Facilities are supposed to report this information to the EPA, but these&nbsp;Offsite Consequence Analyses are not included in the agency's response to public records requests for risk management data. You can access this information at an EPA Federal Reading Room. But you're allowed one visit per month and can only bring a pen and paper. Greenpeace dispatched about a dozen researchers to the reading rooms for this project, Deans says.</p> <p>When it was done, Deans's team had identified <a href="http://usactions.greenpeace.org/chemicals/map/" target="_blank">473 chemical facilities</a> that could put 100,000 people or more at risk. "Of those," they found, "89 put one million or more people at risk up to 25 miles downwind from a plant." In all, Greenpeace concluded, one out of every three Americans was at some risk of being affected by a toxic chemical release from a nearby facility.</p> <h4>Chemical Sites That Put 100,000 or More People at Risk</h4> <p><a href="http://usactions.greenpeace.org/chemicals/map"><img src="http://usactions.greenpeace.org/chemicals/map/images/chemicalplantcomposite.jpg" width="630px"></a></p> <p><em>Source: <a href="http://usactions.greenpeace.org/chemicals/map/" target="_blank">Greenpeace</a></em></p> <p>Still, the West Fertilizer plant, which is in a town of 2,800 people, does not show up on this map. As mounting evidence pointed to ammonium nitrate as the likely culprit in the West Fertilizer explosion, a team of Reuters reporters started looking for <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/interactive/idUSBRE94L19020130522?view=large" target="_blank">other ammonium nitrate facilities</a> across the country to see if they could pinpoint other potentially risky locations. It found hundreds of thousands of homes, hundreds of schools, and 20 hospitals within a mile of sites that store or use the chemical.</p> <h4>Ammonium Nitrate Sites</h4> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="529" src="http://mediacdn.reuters.com/media/global/editorial/tier-2/v8/index.html" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><em>Source: <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/interactive/idUSBRE94L19020130522?view=large" target="_blank">Reuters</a></em></p> <p>According to <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/20/us-usa-explosion-regulation-idUSBRE93J09N20130420" target="_blank">news reports</a>, there are <a href="http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Chemical-hazards-often-go-unreported-in-rural-4458103.php" target="_blank">roughly 6,000</a> facilities that store ammonium nitrate at levels that should report to Homeland Security. DHS never returned calls to verify this number, and it does not publicize the ammonium nitrate facilities it tracks under its Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program. <a href="http://www2.epa.gov/epcra-tier-i-and-tier-ii-reporting" target="_blank">Federal law</a> mandates that any facility storing at least 10,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate <a href="http://www.fireengineering.com/articles/print/volume-166/issue-11/features/the-new-tier-ii-an-expanded-preplanning-tool.html" target="_blank">disclose</a> it to local emergency planning authorities. To track down these reports, you have to ask your state for it. Some states, like Illinois, make the information easily accessible online. Others, like Arizona, have denied public requests to see the the documents. Reuters requested these Tier II reports from environmental, public safety, and emergency response agencies in all 50 states: 29 states released the information, 10 states did not respond or did not have electronic data, and 11 refused altogether.</p> <p>"The states that declined often wanted us to request information about a specific site," says Ryan McNeill, one of the Reuters reporters who worked on mapping the ammonium nitrate facilities. "They claim that's what the law intended. Our counter was that this is a silly position because it requires a citizen to know about the existence of a site with dangerous chemicals before they can request information. How is the public supposed to know whether a warehouse houses dangerous chemicals?"</p> <p><em>This post has been revised.</em></p></body></html> Environment Interactives Maps Regulatory Affairs Top Stories Thu, 17 Apr 2014 10:00:05 +0000 Jaeah Lee 248301 at http://www.motherjones.com It's Not Just Hobby Lobby: These 71 Companies Don't Want to Cover Your Birth Control Either http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/04/hobby-lobby-sebelius-contraceptive-for-profit-lawsuits <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><head><script src="http://assets.motherjones.com/interactives/js/dust-full-1.2.3.min.js"></script><script src="http://assets.motherjones.com/interactives/js/tabletop.js"></script></head><body><p>Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in <em>Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Inc.</em>, the closely watched case in which the Oklahoma-based craft store chain has challenged the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate, requiring insurance policies to cover birth control without a copay. Hobby Lobby's high-profile case may have nabbed most of the headlines so far, but it's far from the only company that's taking on the Obama administration over the mandate.</p> <p>Since February 2012, 71 other for-profit companies have challenged the ACA's contraceptive mandate in court, according to the National Women's Law Center (NWLC). The majority of these for-profit cases (46 in addition to Hobby Lobby's) are still pending. Jump to the full list of cases by <a href="#cases">clicking here</a>.</p> <p>The plaintiffs maintain that the federal government, by requiring contraceptive coverage under the ACA, is infringing on their religious views. Like Hobby Lobby, many of these companies had already covered birth control under their insurance plans, but they oppose the ACA's rules requiring health plans to cover contraceptives including the drug Plan B, which they argue causes abortions. The Thomas More Law Center, a law firm "dedicated to the defense and promotion of the religious freedom of Christians," <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/law/2014/mar/24/hobby-lobby-sureme-court-obamacare-contraception" target="_blank">has filed</a> 11 cases on behalf of <a href="http://www.thomasmore.org/news/thomas-more-law-center-files-supreme-court-brief-supporting-hobby-lobby-and-conestoga-and-relig" target="_blank">33 plaintiffs</a> against the ACA contraceptive mandate. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the center asserts in an <a href="http://www.thomasmore.org/sites/default/files/files/13-354%2C%2013-356%20bsac%20Thomas%20More%20Law%20Center.pdf" target="_blank">amicus brief</a> supporting Hobby Lobby, protects employers fighting the mandate "from being forced, under threat of ruinous government fines, to fund products and services that violate their sincerely held religious beliefs."</p> <p>"Forced" is not quite accurate, though, as my colleague Stephanie Mencimer reported <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/03/hobby-lobby-supreme-court-obamacare" target="_blank">last week</a>. An employer doesn't have to provide health insurance to its employees at all; in fact, it's probably cheaper for a company to instead pay the tax that would help subsidize its employees' coverage obtained through the exchanges or Medicaid.</p> <p>A Supreme Court ruling in Hobby Lobby's favor could have a far-reaching impact, potentially dismantling corporate laws that have long shielded CEOs and board members from lawsuits or paving the way for companies to claim religious exemptions from other federal regulations, as we <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/03/hobby-lobby-supreme-court-obamacare" target="_blank">reported last week</a>. But a pro-Hobby Lobby verdict would most immediately affect the more than 22,000 people employed by the companies who brought these lawsuits, says Gretchen Borchelt, senior counsel and director of state reproductive health policy at the NWLC, which has been <a href="http://www.nwlc.org/status-lawsuits-challenging-affordable-care-act%C3%A2%C2%80%C2%99s-birth-control-coverage-benefit" target="_blank">tracking the cases</a>. The outcome of many of these cases, she says, may hinge on the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling.</p> <p>So who are some of these other companies fighting the Obama administration over the ACA contraceptive mandate?</p> <p>In Michigan, there's Trijicon, a military contractor specializing in optics equipment for weapons. The company last made headlines in 2010, when it came under fire for <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/21/trijicon-will-remove-secr_n_432349.html" target="_blank">stamping</a> references to Bible verses on its combat rifle sights. According to data provided to <em>Mother Jones</em> by the Department of Defense, Trijicon currently holds at least $8.9 million in active contracts with the US military.</p> <p>In its August 2013 <a href="https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/08.05.13_complaint.pdf" style="line-height: 24px;" target="_blank">lawsuit</a>, Trijicon claims that the company "and its shareholders have a deeply held religious belief that life begins at conception/fertilization." The company's website states: "We believe that America is great when its people are good. This goodness has been based on biblical standards throughout our history and we will strive to follow those morals." Depending on where the Supreme Court lands on Hobby Lobby, that belief could mean no more birth control coverage for the company's 257 employees, <a href="http://www.aclu.org/files/assets/08.05.13_complaint.pdf" target="_blank">212 of whom</a> are currently enrolled in the company's insurance plan. Trijicon did not respond to interview requests or emailed questions.</p> <p>In West Virginia, Joe Holland, a born-again Christian who owns a local car dealership, is taking on the contraceptive mandate in court even while publicly touting his company's support for women. Joe Holland Chevrolet, which <a href="http://www.clearinghouse.net/chDocs/public/FA-WV-0001-0001.pdf" target="_blank">filed suit</a> against the Obama administration in June 2013, is closed on Sundays; on Monday mornings, Holland conducts an informal prayer session that's open to his 150 employees. Holland is proud to have women filling positions throughout his dealership, all the way up to the management level. "When we think of women in the automotive industry, most of us see a receptionist or someone behind the desk doing paper work and other behind the scene tasks," says a company webpage <a href="http://www.joehollandforwomen.com/" style="line-height: 2em;" target="_blank">created in 2011</a>. "Not at Joe Holland Chevrolet &amp; Imports of South Charleston, WV&hellip;At Joe Holland we understand the need for women to feel they are receiving trustworthy information and advice when it comes to service on their vehicle or the purchase of a vehicle."</p> <p>Ohio-based companies <a href="http://www.freshwayfoods.com/about/story.php" target="_blank">Freshway Foods</a> and Freshway Logistics, a produce processor and distributor run by brothers Philip and Frank Gilardi Jr., are also taking on Obamacare over the contraception mandate. "[A]s the two owners with controlling interests in the two corporations," <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/10/citizens-united-contraception-corporations-religious-freedom" target="_blank">the Gilardis</a>, who are Catholic, <a href="https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/freshway_d_ct_order_denying_pi.pdf" target="_blank">argue</a> in their legal complaint, "they conduct their businesses in a manner that does not violate their sincerely-held religious beliefs or moral values, and they wish to continue to do so."</p> <p>Some Freshway workers might beg to differ. In 2011, former Freshway employee Lilia Trujillo-Salas sued the company for sexual harassment, after allegedly enduring multiple incidents of "unwelcome sexual comments, sexual innuendo, and physical contact," according to court documents. Trujillo-Salas complained to her supervisors and asked to transfer jobs after a male coworker allegedly held her in a storage room and told her she wouldn't be released until she kissed him. Another time, a coworker allegedly propositioned her for sex. Eventually, Trujillo-Salas was suspended then fired after injuring herself at work. Freshway denied the sexual-assault allegations but settled the case with an undisclosed payout.</p> <p>One company NWLC's Borchelt was particularly surprised to see on the list is Eden Foods, the Michigan-based organic food company, which she says has an "outstanding record of social and environmental responsibility."</p> <p>The company filed suit against the Obama administration in early 2013, eventually losing its case at the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. Eden Foods did not respond to interview requests, but when <em>Salon</em> reporter Irin Carmon <a href="http://www.salon.com/2013/04/15/eden_foods_ceo_digs_himself_deeper_in_birth_control_outrage/" target="_blank">interviewed</a> the company's CEO, Michael Potter, about the case last April, he argued:</p> <blockquote> <p>"I don't care if the federal government is telling me to buy my employees Jack Daniel's or birth control. What gives them the right to tell me that I have to do that?&hellip;I'm not trying to get birth control out of Rite Aid or Wal-Mart, but don't tell me I gotta pay for it."</p> </blockquote> <p>This interview, the 6th Circuit's Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey later wrote in <a href="http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/13a0304p-06.pdf" target="_blank">her opinion</a> on the case, showed that Potter's "deeply held religious beliefs more resembled a laissez-faire, anti-government screed."</p> <p>Even after a string of <a href="http://www.salon.com/2013/04/18/eden_foods_ceos_bad_week_continues/" target="_blank">bad press</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/edenfoods" target="_blank">considerable customer backlash</a>, Potter <a href="http://www.edenfoods.com/articles/view.php?articles_id=219" target="_blank">defended</a> the lawsuit: "We believe in a woman's right to decide, and have access to, all aspects of their health care and reproductive management. This lawsuit does not block, or intend to block, anyone's access to health care or reproductive management. This lawsuit is about protecting religious freedom and stopping the government from forcing citizens to violate their conscience. We object to the HHS mandate and its government overreach."</p> <p>Borchelt doesn't see it that way. "These companies are not hiring based on the religious beliefs of the workers. Imagine being someone applying for a warehouse position at an organic food company. Why would you ever think, 'Oh, I need to research this owner's religious beliefs to know whether or not I'm going to get access to birth control insurance'?"</p> <p>Below is a <a id="cases">full list</a> of the pending cases, as tracked by the NWLC. Watch this space for periodic updates. Look up individual <a href="https://www.aclu.org/reproductive-freedom/challenges-federal-contraceptive-coverage-rule#cases" target="_blank">court documents</a> at the American Civil Liberties Union's website.</p> <div id="prettylist">&nbsp;</div> <script> var listItemTemplate = '\ <li>\ <h1>{casename}\ <p><label>Filed on: {datefiled}\ <p><label>About the plaintiff: {descriptionlocation}\ \ '; var thing = PrettyList( '0AiK02J6OppqxdElDaVViSFBtNVhYak5CWVNNM05EdEE', '#prettylist', listItemTemplate, 'https://s3.amazonaws.com/mj-tabletop-proxy' ); </script></body></html> Politics Civil Liberties Reproductive Rights Top Stories Wed, 02 Apr 2014 10:00:07 +0000 Jaeah Lee 248176 at http://www.motherjones.com Michigan's Gay Marriage Ban Struck Down Pending Appeal: See How Fast The Movement Is Spreading http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/03/map-gay-marriage-now-legal-17-states <!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, Saturday, March 22, 2014, 5:05pm ET:</strong> <a href="http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140322/METRO06/303220039" target="_blank">A federal appeals court has issued a temporary stay</a> of Judge Friedman's ruling until the 26th. That means that the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Michigan is suspended until at least Wednesday. </em></p> <p>Same-sex couples may soon be able to wed in Michigan, following a ruling by US District Judge Bernard Friedman <a href="http://www.freep.com/assets/freep/pdf/C4220110321.PDF" target="_blank">finding</a> the state's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. Michigan&nbsp;Attorney General Bill&nbsp;Schuette has asked the courts to freeze&nbsp;Friedman's ruling while the state pursues an appeal. Since December 2013, courts have also ruled against gay-marriage bans in Texas, Utah,&nbsp;Oklahoma, and Virginia.</p> <p>The animated map below shows&nbsp;how marriage equality is spreading across the country. Read more about that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/02/map-states-legalize-same-sex-marriage-equality-over-time" style="line-height: 2em;" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/SSMgifEdited_2.gif"><div class="caption">Molly Redden and Matt Connolly</div> </div> <p>Here's the full text of Judge Friedman's ruling:</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-1094759-www-freep-com-assets-freep-pdf-c4220110321">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/viewer/loader.js"></script><script> DV.load("//www.documentcloud.org/documents/1094759-www-freep-com-assets-freep-pdf-c4220110321.js", { width: 630, height: 450, sidebar: false, text: false, container: "#DV-viewer-1094759-www-freep-com-assets-freep-pdf-c4220110321" }); </script><noscript> <a href="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1094759/www-freep-com-assets-freep-pdf-c4220110321.pdf">Michigan Marriage Equality Ruling (PDF)</a> <br><a href="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1094759/www-freep-com-assets-freep-pdf-c4220110321.txt">Michigan Marriage Equality Ruling (Text)</a> </noscript></body></html> Politics Maps Civil Liberties Gay Rights Top Stories Sat, 22 Mar 2014 02:02:59 +0000 Jaeah Lee 248061 at http://www.motherjones.com Charts: The Most Ridiculously Expensive Olympics Ever http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/02/most-expensive-olympics-ever-sochi-charts <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/sochiCorruption-01high.jpg" width="630px"></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/sochiCorruption-02high.jpg" width="630px"></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/sochiCorruption-03high.jpg" width="630px"></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/sochiCorruption-04high.jpg" width="630px"></div> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/sochiCorruption-05high.jpg" width="630px"></div> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/sochiCorruption-06high_0.jpg" width="630px"></div> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/sochiCorruption-07high.jpg" width="630px"></div></body></html> Politics Charts International Sports Top Stories Sochi Olympics Fri, 07 Feb 2014 11:00:21 +0000 Jaeah Lee, Ian Gordon, AJ Vicens, and Katie Rose Quandt 245141 at http://www.motherjones.com Why Did the Winter Olympics Freeze Out Women for So Long? http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/02/olympics-sports-women <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The 2012 London Olympics <a href="http://edition.cnn.com/2012/08/10/sport/london-olympics-women/index.html" target="_blank">were huge</a> for female athletes, with more women competing than ever before in Olympic history. In 1900, just <a href="http://www.olympic.org/Documents/Reference_documents_Factsheets/Women_in_Olympic_Movement.pdf" target="_blank">2.2 percent</a> of Olympians were women; by 2012, that number had jumped to 44.3 percent. This week's Sochi Games will offer even more medal stand opportunities, with ski jump <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/olympics/sochi-2014-womens-ski-jumpers-ready-to-prove-their-olympic-mettle/2014/02/03/eb45f3ac-8aa5-11e3-916e-e01534b1e132_story.html" target="_blank">including women</a><strong> </strong>for the first time since the Winter Olympics began in 1924.</p> <p>But even while more women are competing in the Olympics today than ever, they're "still not equal in any way," says Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, a women's advocacy group focusing on issues including <a href="http://www.feminist.org/sports/" target="_blank">sports</a>.The modern Games have carried on a long-standing tradition of keeping women on the sidelines. Weightlifting, boxing, cycling, wrestling, and water polo all were men's-only sports for much of Summer Olympics history, some excluding women for more than a century. The same goes for bobsled and ice hockey, which shut women out for much of the Winter Games' 88-year run. Here's a closer look at each Olympic sport's track record (more after the chart):</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/olympicWomen-02high_1.jpg" width="630px"></div> <p>"Every new sport has been a fight for years," Smeal says. She notes that even ski jump&mdash;which had been the last Winter Olympic sport&nbsp;to exclude women&mdash;was the result of a long battle that wound up in court.</p> <p>Women ski jumpers <a href="http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1963484_1963490_1963447,00.html" target="_blank">petitioned</a> to compete in every Olympics since the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan. (Men have been competing since the Winter Olympics began.) There were lame excuses along the way: In 2005, Gian-Franco Kasper, president of the International Ski Federation and a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5011904" target="_blank">said</a> that women hadn't been allowed to participate in the Olympic ski jump because jumping from high heights year-round "seems not to be appropriate for ladies from a medical point of view."</p> <p>In 2009, an international group of female ski jumpers <a href="http://www.wsjusa.com/vancouver-case/" target="_blank">sued</a> the Vancouver Organizing Committee in the British Columbia supreme court for gender discrimination. Justice Lauri Ann Fenlon agreed that the Vancouver committee was guilty of discrimination, but asking the IOC to include women's ski jump in the Olympics fell outside of the court's jurisdiction.</p> <p>Two of this year's female Olympic ski jumpers, Jessica Jerome and Lindsey Van&mdash;who in 2010 set the record for longest jump (105.5 meters) <a href="http://www.nordicskiracer.com/news.asp?NewsID=3549" target="_blank">at Vancouver's Whistler Olympic Park</a> for both men and women (the world record is <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_longest_ski_jumps" target="_blank">246.5 meters</a>)&mdash;were among the plaintiffs in the 2009 Vancouver lawsuit. "When it comes down to it, it's a dick-swinging competition," <a href="http://youtu.be/LP1YfxB5FoU?t=1m52s" target="_blank">Jerome said</a> in the documentary <em>Fighting Gravity</em>, which publicized the 2009 case. "It's old-fashioned, traditional European men who have their extreme sport," Jerome added. "They don't want women diluting it. It's an all-boys' club. It's all bullshit politics."</p> <p>Kathy Babiak, an associate professor and director of the Sport, Health, and Activity Research and Policy Center at the University of Michigan, says that in the past, excluding women from an Olympic sport made it harder for those aspiring Olympians to secure the sponsors and funding necessary to hold competitions at the international level. At the same time, the IOC requires that a sport be administered by an international organization before it can be considered for inclusion the Olympic program. "It's a chicken and the egg problem," she says.</p> <p>Smeal and Babiak note other persisting gender gaps. Not every national Olympic team sends women, and even for those that do, different rules may apply: The Japanese women's soccer team and the Australian women's basketball team <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/alyssa/2012/07/24/554871/olympic-sexism-men-fly-first-class-women-in-coach/" target="_blank">flew coach</a> while their male colleagues cruised in business class to the 2012 London Games. That year, men's events outnumbered women's 162 to 132. And women are often subject to a different set of regulations. In Sochi, women ski jumpers will compete in <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwcfcourier.com%2Fsports%2Folympics%2Fthe-rules-of-women-s-ski-jumping-sochi-olympics-viewers%2Farticle_8e3d1929-14e5-5417-bead-dc371e24c128.html&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNG017VEe4wiFtEjXRpQV4HZjcmH2Q" target="_blank">one event</a>, the individual normal hill, whereas men will compete in three. The <a href="http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/en/home/research/articles-and-reports/athletes/2012-olympic-report" target="_blank">low share of women</a> in leadership positions on national and international Olympic committees and international sports federations, Babiak and Smeal say, is another reason why, after all these years, women remain underrepresented in the Games.</p> <p>Beyond that, they say, blatant sexism is still a serious problem, and continues to perpetuate the misconception that women aren't as good at sports as men. Just last month, Alexander Arefyev, who coaches Russia's men's ski jumping team, <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.themoscowtimes.com%2Folympic_coverage%2Farticle%2Fafter-long-wait-women-ready-to-fly-in-ski-jump%2F493795.html&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNHZjIAv_6nCN-wNT_u64IhlQy_JMw" target="_blank">told</a> <em>Izvestia</em>: "If I had a daughter, I would never allow her to jump&mdash;it is too much hard work&hellip;Women have a different purpose: to raise children, do the housework."</p> <p>"We have to worry that the gains for women in sports, while impressive in the US and the world, nothing is really secure," Smeal says. "We keep making gains, but we have to fight. It's never quite equal."</p> <p><em>This article has been revised.</em></p></body></html> Politics Charts International Sex and Gender Sports Top Stories Sochi Olympics Thu, 06 Feb 2014 11:00:17 +0000 Jaeah Lee 244936 at http://www.motherjones.com Why Did Obama Go to Costco? Our Wage Calculator Explains http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/01/costco-vs-walmart-how-many-hours-do-you-need-work-survive <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>This morning, President Obama visited a Costco in suburban Maryland to reemphasize the theme of income inequality he sounded in the State of the Union speech last night. Our calculator shows why Obama chose the home of the giant pickle jar and behemoth TP package: Even at the relatively low wages paid by big-box retailers, slightly better pay can mean the difference between inescapable poverty and a modest living.</p> <div> <div><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/costco-01.png"></div> </div> <div id="fast-food-calculator"> <form id="calculate_this"><label for="household">How many people are in your household?</label> <select id="selected_household" name="household"><option value="1P0C">One Adult No Children</option><option value="1P1C">One Adult One Child</option><option value="1P2C">One Adult Two Children</option><option value="1P3C">One Adult Three Children</option><option value="2P0C">Two Adults No Children</option><option value="2P1C">Two Adults One Child</option><option value="2P2C">Two Adults Two Children</option><option value="2P3C">Two Adults Three Children</option></select><label for="state">Which state do you live in?</label> <select id="selected_state" name="state"></select><label for="locale">Which area do you live in? (Area data not available for households without children.)</label><select id="selected_locale" name="locale"></select><input id="calculate" type="submit" value="Submit">&nbsp;</form> <div id="calculated" style="display:none;"> <p>Where you live, a Costco worker needs to work <strong><span id="costco_hours_needed_per_week">__</span> hours</strong> each week to make a secure yet modest living to support a family as big as yours (as a sole breadwinner). A WalMart worker would need to work <strong><span id="walmart_hours_needed_per_week">__</span> hours</strong> a week to achieve the same.</p> <p class="end-of-article-credit"><span>Sources: <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2013/08/06/news/economy/costco-fast-food-strikes/">CNN Money</a>, <a href="http://www.nelp.org/page/-/rtmw/uploads/NELP-Fast-Food-Mobility-Report-Going-Nowhere-Fast.pdf?nocdn=1">The National Employment Law Project</a>, <a href="http://www.bls.gov/ces">Bureau of Labor Statistics</a>, and <a href="http://www.epi.org/resources/budget/">Economic Policy Institute's Family Budget Calculator</a>. The annual costs of living for adults without children use state-wide averages from <a href="http://livingwage.mit.edu/">MIT's Living Wage Calculator</a>. Front page image: Ruaridh Stewart/ZUMA Press.</span></p> </div> </div> <!-- data is in here --><script src="http://assets.motherjones.com/interactives/projects/2013/07/fast-food/fastfoodsortmerged-3.json"></script><script src="https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.10.2/jquery.min.js"></script><script> var first_state = 'AK'; var first_locale = 'Anchorage, AK HUD Metro FMR Area'; var state_abbr = { 'AL' : 'Alabama', 'AK' : 'Alaska', 'AS' : 'America Samoa', 'AZ' : 'Arizona', 'AR' : 'Arkansas', 'CA' : 'California', 'CO' : 'Colorado', 'CT' : 'Connecticut', 'DE' : 'Delaware', 'DC' : 'District of Columbia', 'FM' : 'Micronesia1', 'FL' : 'Florida', 'GA' : 'Georgia', 'GU' : 'Guam', 'HI' : 'Hawaii', 'ID' : 'Idaho', 'IL' : 'Illinois', 'IN' : 'Indiana', 'IA' : 'Iowa', 'KS' : 'Kansas', 'KY' : 'Kentucky', 'LA' : 'Louisiana', 'ME' : 'Maine', 'MH' : 'Islands1', 'MD' : 'Maryland', 'MA' : 'Massachusetts', 'MI' : 'Michigan', 'MN' : 'Minnesota', 'MS' : 'Mississippi', 'MO' : 'Missouri', 'MT' : 'Montana', 'NE' : 'Nebraska', 'NV' : 'Nevada', 'NH' : 'New Hampshire', 'NJ' : 'New Jersey', 'NM' : 'New Mexico', 'NY' : 'New York', 'NC' : 'North Carolina', 'ND' : 'North Dakota', 'OH' : 'Ohio', 'OK' : 'Oklahoma', 'OR' : 'Oregon', 'PW' : 'Palau', 'PA' : 'Pennsylvania', 'PR' : 'Puerto Rico', 'RI' : 'Rhode Island', 'SC' : 'South Carolina', 'SD' : 'South Dakota', 'TN' : 'Tennessee', 'TX' : 'Texas', 'UT' : 'Utah', 'VT' : 'Vermont', 'VI' : 'Virgin Island', 'VA' : 'Virginia', 'WA' : 'Washington', 'WV' : 'West Virginia', 'WI' : 'Wisconsin', 'WY' : 'Wyoming' } var selected_state = jQuery("#selected_state"); var selected_locale = jQuery("#selected_locale"); var selected_household = jQuery("#selected_household"); for (var state in bfjo) { var option = jQuery('<option value="' + state + '">' + state_abbr[state] + ''); selected_state.append(option); } var fill_locale_selector = function(state_object) { selected_locale.html(""); for (var locale in state_object) { var option = jQuery('<option value="' + locale + '">' + locale.replace(/,.*$/, '') + ''); selected_locale.append(option); } } fill_locale_selector(bfjo[first_state]) selected_state.bind("change", function() { var state = $("#selected_state option:selected").val(); var state_object = bfjo[state]; fill_locale_selector(state_object); } ) selected_locale.bind("change", function() { var state = $("#selected_state option:selected").val(); var locale = $("#selected_locale option:selected").val(); var locale_object = bfjo[state][locale]; } ) enable_disable_locale = function() { var household = $("#selected_household option:selected").val(); if (household === '1P0C' || household === '2P0C') { selected_locale.attr('disabled', 'disabled'); } else { selected_locale.removeAttr('disabled'); } } selected_household.bind("change", function() { enable_disable_locale(); } ); enable_disable_locale(); jQuery("#calculate_this").bind("submit", function() { var state = $("#selected_state option:selected").val(); var locale = $("#selected_locale option:selected").val(); var household = $("#selected_household option:selected").val(); var hours_worked_per_year = 2080; var walmart_hourly_salary = 9.4; var walmart_annual_salary = walmart_hourly_salary * hours_worked_per_year; var costco_hourly_salary = 22.8; var costco_annual_salary = costco_hourly_salary * hours_worked_per_year; var annual_living_wage_for_household = bfjo[state][locale][household]; var walmart_hours_needed_per_year = annual_living_wage_for_household / walmart_hourly_salary; var costco_hours_needed_per_year = annual_living_wage_for_household / costco_hourly_salary; var walmart_hours_needed_per_week = walmart_hours_needed_per_year / 52; var costco_hours_needed_per_week = costco_hours_needed_per_year / 52; console.log('Walmart hours per week: ', walmart_hours_needed_per_week) console.log('Costco hours per week: ', costco_hours_needed_per_week) var commify = function(number) { while (/(\d+)(\d{3})/.test(number.toString())){ number = number.toString().replace(/(\d+)(\d{3})/, '$1'+','+'$2'); } return number; } jQuery("#calculated").show(); jQuery("#costco_hours_needed_per_week").text(Math.round(costco_hours_needed_per_week)); jQuery("#walmart_hours_needed_per_week").text(Math.round(walmart_hours_needed_per_week)); //var salary_string = commify(salary); //var yearly_living_wage_string = commify(annual_living_wage); /* while (/(\d+)(\d{3})/.test(salary_string.toString())){ salary_string = salary_string.toString().replace(/(\d+)(\d{3})/, '$1'+','+'$2'); } while (/(\d+)(\d{3})/.test(yearly_living_wage_string.toString())){ yearly_living_wage_string = yearly_living_wage_string.toString().replace(/(\d+)(\d{3})/, '$1'+','+'$2'); } */ /*console.log(hourly_for_living); var hourly_for_living_clean = Math.round(hourly_for_living * 100) .toString().replace(/(\d+)(\d{2})/, '$1'+'.'+'$2'); jQuery("#living_wage_hourly").text(hourly_for_living_clean);*/ return false; } ) </script></body></html> Politics Interactives Economy Labor Top Stories Wed, 29 Jan 2014 18:44:59 +0000 Tasneem Raja and Jaeah Lee 244391 at http://www.motherjones.com