Blogs | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/Blogs/2009/05 http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en Native Children Have the Same Rate of PTSD as Combat Veterans http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/11/native-children-have-same-rate-ptsd-combat-veterans <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Here's the most sobering statistic you'll see today: American-Indian and Alaskan Native children experience PTSD at the same rate at veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to a new report from a Department of Justice advisory committee, 22 percent of American-Indian and Alaskan Native juveniles have PTSD&mdash;three times higher than the national rate. Among other proposals, the committee recommends Congress grant tribes the ability to prosecute non-Indians who abuse children. Under the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, Congress empowered tribes to prosecute non-Indians who commit domestic violence, but left other crimes, like sexual abuse, untouched.</p> <p>You can read the full report here:</p> <div class="DC-note-container" id="DC-note-188681">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/notes/loader.js"></script><script> dc.embed.loadNote('//www.documentcloud.org/documents/1368962-finalaianreport/annotations/188681.js'); </script></body></html> MoJo Health Human Rights Race and Ethnicity Fri, 21 Nov 2014 20:22:13 +0000 Tim Murphy 265281 at http://www.motherjones.com Friday Cat Blogging - 21 November 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/11/friday-cat-blogging-21-november-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Here in Drumland we have a new version of the Second Commandment. Here's the rewrite:</p> <blockquote> <p>Thou shalt not bow down thyself to any other cats: for I, the Lord thy Hilbert, am a jealous cat.</p> </blockquote> <p>Here's the backstory. Last week I got slightly concerned that Hopper was getting a bit less sociable. It was nothing big. She was still perfectly friendly, but she never jumped into our laps anymore. She's always had too much energy to be much of a lap cat, but when we first got her she'd occasionally get tuckered out and curl up with us.</p> <p>Long story short, my concern was completely misplaced. It turns out the reason she was avoiding our laps was because of Hilbert. Even if he was three rooms away, his spidey sense would tingle whenever she curled up with us, and he'd rush over to demand attention. Eventually he'd push her off completely, and apparently Hopper got tired of this. So she just stopped jumping into our laps.</p> <p>But as soon as we began restraining Hilbert, it turned out that Hopper was delighted to spend a spare hour or so with her human heating pads. This was easier said than done, since Hilbert really, really gets jealous when he sees Hopper on a lap. There's always another lap available for him, of course, but that's not the lap he wants. He wants whatever lap Hopper is sitting in. Keeping him away is an endless struggle.</p> <p>But struggle we do, and we figure that eventually Hilbert will learn there are laps aplenty and Hopper will realize that sitting in a lap isn't an invitation to be abused by her brother. Peace and love will then break out. Someday.</p> <p>In the meantime, here's this week's catblogging. On the left, Hopper is curled up in a sink that just fits her. Like so many cats, she's convinced that we humans might not know how to use the bathroom properly, so she always likes to come in and supervise. On the right, Hilbert is upstairs surveying his domain. Probably checking to ensure that no one else is sitting in a lap.</p> <p><img align="left" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hopper_2014_11_21_0.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 5px 4px 5px 0px;"><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hilbert_2014_11_21.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 5px 0px 5px 4px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 21 Nov 2014 19:55:06 +0000 Kevin Drum 265266 at http://www.motherjones.com Republicans Finally Sue Over Obamacare -- And There's Even a Surprise Included http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/11/republicans-finally-sue-over-obamacare-and-theres-even-surprise-included <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>House Republicans finally filed their long-awaited lawsuit against President Obama today, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/22/us/politics/obamacare-lawsuit-filed-by-republicans.html" target="_blank">and it actually contained a surprise:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The suit also challenges what it says is President Obama&rsquo;s unlawful giveaway of roughly $175 billion to insurance companies under the law. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the administration will pay that amount to the companies over the next 10 years, though the funds have not been appropriated by Congress. The lawsuit argues that it is an unlawful transfer of funds.</p> <p>....If the lawsuit is successful, poor people would not lose their health care, because the insurance companies would still be required to provide coverage &mdash; but without the help of the government subsidy, the companies might be forced to raise costs elsewhere. The subsidies reduce the co-payments, deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs that consumers incur when they go to doctors and hospitals.</p> </blockquote> <p>Long story short, it turns out there are two parts to the suit. The first part challenges Obama's delay of the employer mandate, and it's entirely symbolic. After all, it's only a delay. Even if Republicans win, by the time the case makes it all the way through the court system it will be moot. The delay will be over by then and the employer mandate will be in place.</p> <p>But this second part is unexpected. Republicans are arguing that a provision of the law called Cost Sharing Reduction wasn't automatically funded, as were most parts of the law. The law <em>authorizes</em> CSR, but no appropriation was ever made, so it's illegal to actually pay out these funds.</p> <p>Do they have a case? This is a brand new allegation, so I don't think anyone has yet had a chance to look into it. But if I had to guess, I'd say it's probably about as specious as every other allegation against Obamacare. Unfortunately, though, that doesn't mean the Supreme Court won't uphold it. You never know these days. In the meantime, conservatives are likely to be dizzy with excitement over the whole thing since (a) it involves a clear constitutional question about appropriating funds, and (b) it would hurt poor people. That's quite a twofer.</p> <p>Of course, the suit still has to survive challenges to Congress' standing to sue in the first place, and that might kill it before any court even begins to judge the merits of the case. Wait and see.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Congress Health Care Obama Fri, 21 Nov 2014 17:55:40 +0000 Kevin Drum 265286 at http://www.motherjones.com President Obama Acted Unilaterally on Immigration and the Right Is Predictably Outraged http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/11/president-obama-acted-unilaterally-immigration-and-right-outraged <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>President Barack Obama, who has issued fewer executive orders than any president since Grover Cleveland, issued a set of directives this week to protect 5 million undocumented residents from deportation. The <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/11/obama-executive-action-immigration-senate" target="_blank">new executive actions</a> will allow undocumented parents of US citizens to stay in the country, and allow children who were brought to the United States by their parents to apply for employment visas. It also, according to various Republican critics, cements Obama's status as a dictator, a king, an emperor, and maybe even a maniac bent on ethnic cleansing:</p> <p><strong>Obama is a king.</strong> "The president acts like he's a king," Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/26/politics/rand-paul-obama/" target="_blank">said</a>. "He ignores the Constitution. He arrogantly says, 'If Congress will not act, then I must.' These are not the words of a great leader. These are the words that sound more like the exclamations of an autocrat."</p> <p><strong>This will lead to anarchy. </strong>"The country's going to go nuts, because they're going to see it as a move outside the authority of the president, and it's going to be a very serious situation," retiring Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) told <em><a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/11/19/usa-today-capital-download-with-tom-coburn/19263969/" target="_blank">USA Today</a>. "</em>You're going to see&mdash;hopefully not&mdash;but you could see instances of anarchy. ... You could see violence."</p> <p><strong>He could go to jail. </strong>Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) told <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2014/11/19/alabama_rep_mo_brooks_says_obama_s_executive_action_over_immigration_could.html" target="_blank"><em>Slate</em></a> that the president might be committing a felony: "At some point, you have to evaluate whether the president's conduct aids or abets, encourages, or entices foreigners to unlawfully cross into the United States of America. That has a five-year in-jail penalty associated with it."</p> <p><strong>Is ethnic cleansing next?</strong> When asked by a talk-radio called on Thursday if the new executive actions would lead to "ethnic cleansing," Kansas Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach said <a href="http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/kris-kobach-obama-ethnic-cleansing" target="_blank">it just might</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>What protects us in America from any kind of ethnic cleansing is the rule of law, of course. And the rule of law used to be unassailable, used to be taken for granted in America. And now, of course, we have a President who disregards the law when it suits his interests. And, so, you know, while I normally would answer that by saying, 'Steve, of course we have the rule of law, that could never happen in America,' I wonder what could happen. I still don't think it&rsquo;s going to happen in America, but I have to admit, that things are, things are strange and they're happening.</p> </blockquote> <p>Kobach is hardly a fringe figure. He was <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/03/kris-kobach-anti-immigration-laws-sb-1070" target="_blank">the architect</a> of the self-deportation strategy at the core some of the nation's harshest immigration laws.</p></body></html> MoJo Congress Immigration Top Stories Fri, 21 Nov 2014 17:25:14 +0000 265271 at http://www.motherjones.com Winnie the Pooh Banned From Playground For Wrong Reason http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/11/winnie-pooh-banned-playground-because-people-are-stupid <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Goodmorning. Here is <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/winnie-the-pooh-banned-from-polish-playground-for-being-an-inappropriate-hermaphrodite-9872278.html" target="_blank">something stupid</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Winnie the Pooh has been banned from a Polish playground because of his &ldquo;dubious sexuality&rdquo; and &ldquo;inappropriate&rdquo; dress.</p> <p>The much-loved animated bear was suggested at a local council meeting to decide which famous character should become the face of the play area in the small town of Tuszyn. But the idea soon sparked outrage among more conservative members, with one councillor even denouncing poor Pooh as a &ldquo;hermaphrodite&rdquo;.</p> <p>&ldquo;The problem with that bear is it doesn&rsquo;t have a complete wardrobe,&rdquo; said Ryszard Cichy during the discussion. &ldquo;It is half naked which is wholly inappropriate for children."</p> <p>&ldquo;The author was over 60 and cut [Pooh&rsquo;s] testicles off with a razor blade because he had a problem with his identity,&rdquo; she said.</p> </blockquote> <p>Here's the thing, Winnie the Pooh <em>should</em> <em>be banned</em> but not because he doesn't wear pants. He should be banned because he glamorizes stealing honey and tells children to play with bees. It's like he's never even seen <em>My Girl</em>.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:23:35 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 265261 at http://www.motherjones.com Obama's Immigration Plan Is Both Good Policy and Remarkably Shrewd Politics http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/11/obamas-immigration-plan-both-good-policy-and-remarkably-shrewd-politics <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>There are questions about whether President Obama's immigration plan is legal. There are questions about whether it's good policy. And then there are questions about whether it's smart politics. On the latter point, I'd say that Obama has been unusually shrewd, almost single-handedly <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/21/us/politics/in-immigration-fight-some-in-gop-fear-alienating-latinos.html" target="_blank">demolishing the plans of Republican leaders for the next two years:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>All but drowned out by Republicans' clamorous opposition to President Obama's executive action on immigration are some leaders who worry that their party could alienate the fastest-growing group of voters, for 2016 and beyond, if its hottest heads become its face.</p> <p>They cite the Republican Party's official analysis of what went wrong in 2012&hellip;"If Hispanics think that we do not want them here," the report said, "they will close their ears to our policies."</p> <p>&hellip;"Clearly with Republicans not having gotten to a consensus in terms of immigration, it makes it a lot more difficult to talk about immigration as a unified voice," said David Winston, a Republican pollster who advises House leaders. "There are some people &mdash; because there's not a consensus &mdash; that somehow end up having a little bit louder <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_steve_king_canteloupe.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 25px;">voice than perhaps they would normally have."</p> <p>Among them is Representative Steve King of Iowa&hellip;</p> </blockquote> <p>Ah yes, Steve King of Iowa. The odds of shutting him up are about zero, and with primary season approaching he's going to become the de facto leader of the anti-immigration forces. In the same way that Republican candidates all have to kiss Sheldon Adelson's ring and swear eternal loyalty to Israel if they want access to his billions, they're going to have to kiss King's ring and swear eternal hostility to any kind of immigration from south of the border&mdash;and they're going to compete wildly to express this in the most colorful ways possible. And that's a big problem. Expressing loyalty to Israel doesn't really have much downside, but effectively denouncing the entire Hispanic population of the United States is going to steadily destroy any hopes Republicans have of ever appealing to this fast-growing voting bloc.</p> <p>And that's not all. Republican leaders are not only fearful of next year's primaries branding the GOP forever as a bunch of xenophobic maniacs, they're afraid it's going to wipe out any chance they have over the next two years of demonstrating to voters that they're a party of adults. <a href="http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/la-na-immigration-fight-20141120-story.html" target="_blank">Here's the <em>LA Times</em>:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The strong reaction by Republican leaders has less to do with opposition to the nuts and bolts of the president's immigration policy and more to do with fear and anger that the issue will derail the agenda of the new Republican majority before the next Congress even convenes.</p> <p>Republican leaders who had hoped to focus on corporate tax reform, fast-track trade pacts, repealing the president's healthcare law and loosening environmental restrictions on coal are instead being dragged into an immigration skirmish that they've tried studiously to avoid for most of the last year.</p> <p>&hellip;To many, stark warnings from Boehner and McConnell sound more like pleas to the president to avoid reenergizing the GOP's conservative wing, whose leaders are already threatening to link the president's immigration plan to upcoming budget talks.</p> </blockquote> <p>For what it's worth, I think Obama deserves credit for an unusually brilliant political move here. Some of this is accidental: he would have announced his immigration plan earlier in the year if he hadn't gotten pushback from red-state Democratic senators who didn't want to deal with this during tough election battles. Still, he stuck to his guns after the midterm losses, and the result seems to be almost an unalloyed positive for his party.</p> <p>The downside, after all, is minimal: the public says it's mildly unhappy with Obama using an executive order to change immigration rules. But that's a nothingburger. Outside of the Fox News set that's already convinced Obama is a tyrant bent on shredding the Constitution, this simply isn't something that resonates very strongly or for very long. It will be forgotten in a few weeks.</p> <p>The upside, conversely, is potentially huge. Obama has, indeed, waved a red flag in front of congressional tea partiers, turning them into frothing lunatics who want to shut down the government and maybe even impeach him. This has already turned into a huge headache for John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, who really don't want this to be the public face of the party. In addition, it's quite possibly wrecked the Republican agenda for the next year, which is obviously just fine with Obama. And it's likely to turn next year's primary season into an anti-Hispanic free-for-all that does permanent damage to the GOP brand.</p> <p>And that's not even counting the energizing effect this has on Democrats, as well as the benefit they get from keeping a promise to Hispanics and earning their loyalty for the next few election cycles.</p> <p>Is there a price to be paid for this? If you think that maybe, just maybe, Republicans were willing to work with Obama to pass a few constructive items, then there's a price. Those items might well be dead in the water. If you don't believe that, the price is zero. I'm more or less in that camp. And you know what? Even the stuff that might have been passable&mdash;trade authority, the Keystone XL pipeline, a few tweaks to Obamacare&mdash;I'm either opposed to or only slightly in favor of in the first place. If they don't happen, very few Democrats are going to shed any real tears.</p> <p>That leaves only presidential appointments, and there might be a downside there if you think that initially Republicans were prepared to be halfway reasonable about confirming Obama's judges and agency heads. I kinda doubt that, but I guess you never know. This might be a genuine downside to unleashing the tea party beast.</p> <p>So: the whole thing is politically pretty brilliant. It unifies Democrats; wrecks the Republican agenda in Congress; cements the loyalty of Hispanics; and presents the American public with a year of Republican candidates spitting xenophobic fury during primary season. If you're President Obama, what's not to like?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum 2016 Elections Immigration Obama The Right Fri, 21 Nov 2014 15:29:30 +0000 Kevin Drum 265256 at http://www.motherjones.com Has Obama Gone Too Far? 5 Key Questions Answered About the Legality of His Immigration Plan http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/11/obama-immigration-legal <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I've been paying only moderate attention to the whole issue of President Obama's executive order on immigration, and it's only over the past few days that I've started trying to learn more about the legal issues involved. And I confess that I've been a little surprised by what I've discovered. As near as I can tell, both liberal <em>and</em> conservative legal scholars&mdash;as opposed to TV talking heads and other professional <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/images/Blog_Immigration_Sign.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">rabble-rousers&mdash;agree that Obama has the authority to reshape immigration enforcement in nearly any way he wants to. Here are answers to five key questions about the legality of the immigration plan Obama announced tonight:</p> <ol><li><strong>The linchpin of Obama's executive action is the president's inherent authority to engage in prosecutorial discretion,</strong> and just about everyone agrees that this authority is nearly unconditional. Speaking to a meeting of the conservative Federalist Society, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/18/federalist-society-obama-immigration_n_6182350.html" target="_blank">Christopher Schroeder said:</a> "I think the roots of prosecutorial discretion are extremely deep. The practice is long and robust. The case law is robust." <a href="http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120328/obama-immigration-executive-action-why-it-will-be-legal" target="_blank">Erwin Chemerinsky and Samuel Kleiner agree:</a> "It has always been within the president&rsquo;s discretion to decide whether to have the Department of Justice enforce a particular law. As the Supreme Court declared in <em>United States v. Nixon</em>, 'the Executive Branch has exclusive authority and absolute discretion to decide whether to prosecute a case.'"<br> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>OK, but exempting entire categories of people from prosecution?</strong> It turns out that current immigration law explicitly recognizes this. <a href="http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/on-immigration-obama-may-be-cynical-but-hes-not-breaking-the-law/article/2551807" target="_blank">Margaret Stock,</a> a Republican immigration lawyer and a Federalist Society member, says: "The Immigration and Nationality Act and other laws are chock-full of huge grants of statutory authority to the president. Congress gave the president all these powers, and now they are upset because he wants to use them. Other presidents have used the same authority in the past without an outcry."<br> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>But are those grants really broad enough?</strong> Apparently so. In fact, immigration law provides the president an unusually <em>broad</em> scope for executive action. <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/view_from_chicago/2014/08/why_obama_has_the_power_to_stop_millions_of_deportations_without_congress.single.html" target="_blank">Eric Posner writes:</a> "The president&rsquo;s authority over this arena is even greater than his authority over other areas of the law....In 2012, the Supreme Court recognized the vast discretion of the president over immigration policy. In the case <em>Arizona v. United States</em>, the court struck down several Arizona laws that ordered state officials to enforce federal immigration laws, on pain of state penalty....As [Adam] Cox puts it, in a recent academic article, the court&rsquo;s reasoning "gives executive branch officials near complete control over the content of immigration law.'"<br> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Still, even if this is true in theory, is it really true in practice?</strong> As it turns out, yes, there's plenty of prior precedent for exactly this kind of thing. <a href="http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/politicsnow/la-pn-immigration-executive-order-one-of-many-20141117-story.html" target="_blank">As the <em>LA Times</em> reports,</a> "Obama would not be the first president to push through immigration reform by working outside of Congress." In fact, presidents from FDR through Bill Clinton have issued executive orders that deferred deportation for various categories of undocumented immigrants. And while it's true that Obama's action will likely affect more people than any of the previous ones, that's a political issue, not a legal one. From a strictly legal viewpoint, Obama is doing something that has plenty of past precedent.<br> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Finally, what about work permits?</strong> Even if Obama can legally defer prosecution&mdash;a right conferred by both constitutional authority and statutory language&mdash;does that also give him the right to issue work permits to immigrants affected by his order? Surprisingly, perhaps, that has a long pedigree too&mdash;one that goes back not just to DACA (Obama's 2012 mini-DREAM executive order), but well before that. <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2014/08/06/how-far-can-obama-go-on-deportations/" target="_blank">David Leopold,</a> former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, explains: "The federal regulations governing employment under immigration law existed well before DACA. Under those regulations, any undocumented immigrant granted deferred action &mdash; under programs that preceded DACA or coincide with it &mdash; had already been able to apply for employment authorization....The president&rsquo;s authority to grant work status long precedes DACA, and while it does apply to DACA and would apply to its expansion, it is not a direct outgrowth or creation of either."</li> </ol><p>It's an open question whether Obama's actions are politically wise. It might force Republicans into an uncomfortable corner as they compete loudly to denounce Obama's actions, further damaging their chances of appealing to Hispanics in future elections. Alternatively, it might poison any possibility of working constructively with congressional Republicans over the next couple of years, which might further degrade Democratic approval ratings. There's also, I think, a legitimate question about whether liberals should be cheering an expansion of presidential power, whether it's legal or not.</p> <p>That said, Obama's actions really do appear to be not just legal, but fairly uncontroversially so among people who know both the law and past precedent. Republicans may not like what Obama is doing, and they certainly have every right to fight it. But they should stop spouting nonsense about lawlessness and tyranny. That's just playground silliness.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Immigration Fri, 21 Nov 2014 05:27:40 +0000 Kevin Drum 265211 at http://www.motherjones.com Watch Obama Announce His Immigration Executive Action Right Here http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/11/watch-obama-executive-action-immigration-speech <!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/aAst5BHtDpA" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>While you're waiting for the speech to start, read about the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/11/obama-executive-action-immigration-reform" target="_blank">three expected takeaways</a> from President Obama's executive action on immigration, or about how some prominent conservatives are already calling for <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/11/obama-executive-order-immigration-republican-impeachment" target="_blank">his impeachment</a>.</p></body></html> MoJo Immigration Obama Top Stories Fri, 21 Nov 2014 00:46:47 +0000 265201 at http://www.motherjones.com Video: A Drone Shoots Hauntingly Beautiful Footage of Buffalo's Snowstorm http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/11/drone-footage-buffalo-snow-blizzard <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/buffalo2_0.jpg"><div class="caption">James Grimaldi/<a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTWvlmwg08ou6B3YOVeT9lw" target="_blank">YouTube</a></div> </div> <p>Flying personal camera-equipped drones directly over big events like the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/09/stunning-drone-footage-reveals-just-how-massive-hong-kongs-protests-really-are" target="_blank">Hong Kong protests</a> and <a href="http://boingboing.net/2014/07/07/this-drones-eye-view-of-fire.html" target="_blank">Independence Day fireworks</a> is becoming commonplace. Now come these amazing aerial images of Buffalo, New York, besieged by snow for the third day in a row. The Buffalo area was coated with up to six feet of snow on Wednesday and there's been even more today. The <a href="http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2014/11/20/some-areas-buffalo-could-get-nearly-feet-snow/Wu09nN8NYoVI6RIzYFbawN/story.html" target="_blank">eighth storm-related death</a> was annouced this morning.</p> <p>When the storm first set in, James Grimaldi of West Seneca, New York, sent his drone into the blizzard to film a bizarre world drained of color, and uploaded the stunning results <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5m6oXJcg7aM&amp;list=UUTWvlmwg08ou6B3YOVeT9lw" target="_blank">to his YouTube channel</a>. (Grimaldi has also posted his drone videos to his <a href="http://ireport.cnn.com/people/vidiot568" target="_blank">CNN's iReport page.</a>)</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/5m6oXJcg7aM?list=UUTWvlmwg08ou6B3YOVeT9lw" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Grimaldi's second-day video reveals the vast extent of the snow, the result of a massive "<a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/11/19/lake_effect_snow_in_buffalo_climate_change_is_making_snowstorms_more_extreme.html" target="_blank">lake-effect snowfall event</a>". The houses now look like giant mushrooms:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/JFrjOywej6g?list=UUTWvlmwg08ou6B3YOVeT9lw" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>And finally, posted today, a new storm bearing down on Grimaldi's suburb:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/A1rlqKWN3YY?list=UUTWvlmwg08ou6B3YOVeT9lw" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>This weekend's forecasted rain won't help recovery efforts. "We're going to have a lot of water running off quickly," the Weather Channel's Wayne Verno <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/news/weather/what-happens-when-it-melts-floods-more-likely-n-y-n252186" target="_blank">told NBC News</a>. "We'll more than likely see some flooding."</p></body></html> Blue Marble Video Climate Change Climate Desk Thu, 20 Nov 2014 22:02:44 +0000 James West 265221 at http://www.motherjones.com No, the Culture Wars Haven't Heated Up. It Just Seems Like They Have. http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/11/no-culture-wars-havent-heated-it-just-seems-they-have <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Andrew Sullivan cogitates today on the seemingly endless outpouring of outrage over <a href="http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/11/20/quote-for-the-day-433/" target="_blank">relatively small lapses in decent behavior:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>I wonder also if our digital life hasn&rsquo;t made all this far worse. <strong>When you sit in a room with a laptop and write about other people and their flaws, and you don&rsquo;t have to look them in the eyes, you lose all incentive for manners.</strong></p> <p>You want to make a point. You may be full to the brim with righteous indignation or shock or anger. It is only human nature to flame at abstractions, just as the awkwardness of physical interaction is one of the few things constraining our rhetorical excess. When you combine this easy anonymity with the <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/images/blog_outrageous.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">mass impulses of a Twitterstorm, and you can see why manners have evaporated and civil conversations turned into culture war.</p> <p>I&rsquo;m as guilty of this as many....</p> </blockquote> <p>Why yes! Yes you are, Andrew.</p> <p>On a more serious note, I actually disagree with his diagnosis of the problem, which has become so common as to be nearly conventional wisdom these days. Here's why: I have not, personally, ever noticed that human beings tend to rein in their worst impulses when they're face to face with other human beings. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. Most often, they don't. Arguments with real people end up with red faces and lots of shouting constantly. I just flatly don't believe that the real problem with internet discourse is the fact that you're not usually directly addressing the object of your scorn.<sup>1</sup></p> <p>So what <em>is</em> the problem? I think it's mostly one of visibility. In the past, the kinds of lapses that provoke internet pile-ons mostly stayed local. There just wasn't a mechanism for the wider world to find out about them, so most of us never even heard about them. It became a big deal within the confines of a town or a university campus or whatnot, but that was it.</p> <p>Occasionally, these things broke out, and the wider world did find out about them. But even then, there was a limit to how the world could respond. You could organize a protest, but that's a lot of work. You could go to a city council meeting and complain. You could write a letter to the editor. But given the limitations of technology, it was fairly rare for something to break out and become a true feeding frenzy.</p> <p>Needless to say, that's no longer the case. In fact, we have just the opposite problem: things can become feeding frenzies even if no one really wants them to be. That's because they can go viral with no central organization at all. Each individual who tweets or blogs or Facebooks their outrage thinks of this as a purely personal response. Just a quick way to kill a few idle minutes. But put them all together, and you have tens of thousands of people simultaneously responding in a way that <em>seems</em> like a huge pile-on. And that in turn triggers the more mainstream media to cover these things as if they were genuinely big deals.</p> <p>The funny thing is that in a lot of cases, they aren't. If, say, 10,000 people are outraged over Shirtgate, <em>that's nothing</em>. Seriously. Given the ubiquity of modern social media, 10,000 people getting mad about something is actually a sign that almost nobody cares.</p> <p>The problem is that our lizard brains haven't caught up to this. We still think that 10,000 outraged people is a lot, and 30 or 40 years ago it would have been. What's more, it almost certainly would have represented a far greater number of people who actually cared. Today, though, it's so easy to express outrage that 10,000 people is a pretty small number&mdash;and most likely represents nearly everyone who actually gives a damn.</p> <p>We need to recalibrate our cultural baselines for the social media era. People can respond so quickly and easily to minor events that the resulting feeding frenzies can seem far more important than anyone ever intended them to be. A snarky/nasty tweet, after all, is the work of a few seconds. A few thousand of them represent a grand total of a few hours of work. The end result may seem like an unbelievable avalanche of contempt and derision to the target of the attack, but in real terms, it represents virtually nothing.</p> <p>The culture wars are not nastier because people on the internet don't have to face their adversaries. They're nastier because even minor blowups <em>seem</em> huge. But that's just Econ 101. When the cost of expressing outrage goes down, the amount of outrage expressed goes up. That doesn't mean there's more outrage. It just means outrage is a lot more visible than it used to be.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>I'll concede that this is potentially a problem with a very specific subset of professional troll. Even there, however, I'd note that the real world has plenty of rough equivalents, from Code Pink to the Westboro Baptist Church lunatics.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tech Thu, 20 Nov 2014 19:15:18 +0000 Kevin Drum 265196 at http://www.motherjones.com This News Anchor Wore the Same Suit for an Entire Year and No One Noticed http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/11/news-anchor-same-suit-year <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Would you notice if your favorite newscaster wore the same outfit day after day for a whole calendar year? Based on an <a href="http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/karl-stefanovics-sexism-experiment-today-presenter-wears-same-suit-for-a-year-20141115-11ncdz.html" target="_blank">experiment</a> conducted by Karl Stefanovic of Australia's <em>Today</em> program, the answer largely depends on whether the subject is a man or a woman.</p> <p>Stefanovic recently revealed he had been doing just this, sporting the same blue suit for&nbsp;nearly every morning newscast for a year. But as he told his female co-anchors over the weekend, the stunt went virtually unnoticed.&nbsp;</p> <p>"I've worn the same suit on air for a year, except for a couple of times because of circumstance, to make a point," Stefanovic said. "I'm judged on my interviews, my appalling sense of humor &ndash;&nbsp;on how I do my job, basically. Whereas women are quite often judged on what they're wearing or how their hair is."&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 24px; ">Stefanovic's point is a well-documented problem. From the very lack of women represented in&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/media/2012/nov/27/women-fighting-sexism-media-page-3" style="line-height: 24px; " target="_blank">journalism</a><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 24px; ">&nbsp;to blatantly sexist coverage of&nbsp;</span><a href="http://thinkprogress.org/election/2014/06/18/3450175/how-to-interview-a-female-candidate-without-being-sexist/" style="line-height: 24px; " target="_blank">female politicians</a><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 24px; ">, we're plagued with countless examples of sexist scrutiny playing out in the media.&nbsp;</span>This<span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 24px; ">&nbsp;experiment is yet another&nbsp;clear instance of such.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 24px; ">"No one has noticed; no one gives a shit. But women, they wear the wrong color and they get pulled up. They say the wrong thing and there's thousands of tweets written about them."</span></p> <p>Stefanovic&nbsp;goes on to explain the experiment started as a show of solidarity with co-anchor Lisa Wilkinson, who says she is routinely criticized for her fashion choices by viewers.&nbsp;</p> <p>Watch below:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/1h_wHRJ4o6g" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> Mixed Media Video Sex and Gender Thu, 20 Nov 2014 17:53:40 +0000 Inae Oh 265166 at http://www.motherjones.com We Just Had the Hottest October on Record http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/11/october-warmest-ever-map-noaa <!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="october map" class="image" src="/files/october-map-630.jpg"><div class="caption">NOAA</div> </div> <p><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/11/buffalo-ny-wall-of-snow-lake-effect" target="_blank">It's cold outside</a>, which means it'll soon be time for the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/01/climate-temperature-records-leon-cold" target="_blank">annual rousing chorus of climate change denial</a> from people who think snow means global warming is fake.</p> <p>Good thing NOAA is here to help. Today the agency released two new maps illustrating that even if you're cold right now, the planet is still getting hotter. In fact, 2014 is on track to be the warmest year on record.</p> <p>The map above shows where global temperatures for the month of October stood relative to the 20th century average. Overall, this was the warmest October since record-keeping began in 1880.</p> <p>And it's not just October that was remarkably warm. The entire year so far, since January, has also been the warmest on record&mdash;a good 1.22 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average. If the trend persists, 2014 will <a href="http://www.climatecentral.org/gallery/graphics/10-warmest-years-globally" target="_blank">beat out 2010</a> as the hottest year on record:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="year map" class="image" src="/files/year-map-630.jpg"><div class="caption">NOAA</div> </div></body></html> Blue Marble Maps Climate Change Climate Desk Science Thu, 20 Nov 2014 17:29:20 +0000 Tim McDonnell 265171 at http://www.motherjones.com A Follow-Up: Why the Working and Middle Classes Don't Like Obamacare Much http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/11/follow-why-working-and-middle-classes-dont-obamacare-much <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Here's an interesting chart that follows up on <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/11/can-we-talk-heres-why-white-working-class-hates-democrats" target="_blank">a post I wrote a few days ago</a> about Democrats and the white working class. Basically, I made the point that Democrats have recently done a lot for the poor but very little for the working and middle classes, and this is one of the reasons that the white working class is increasingly alienated from the Democratic Party.</p> <p>I got various kinds of pushback on this, but one particular train of criticism suggested that I was overestimating just how targeted Democratic programs were. Sure, they help the poor, but they also help the working class a fair amount, and sometimes even the lower reaches of the middle class. However, while there's some truth to this for certain programs (unemployment insurance, SSI disability), the numbers I've seen in the past don't really back this up for most social welfare programs.</p> <p>Obamacare seems like an exception, since its subsidies quite clearly reach upward to families in the working and middle classes. Today, however, <a href="http://theincidentaleconomist.com/wordpress/the-aca-is-working-so-why-is-the-opposition-to-it-so-strong-and-persistent/" target="_blank">Bill Gardner</a> points me to <a href="http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/papers/2014/01/potential%20effects%20affordable%20care%20act%20income%20inequality%20aaron%20burtless/potential%20effects%20affordable%20care%20act%20income%20inequality%20aaron%20burtless.pdf" target="_blank">a Brookings paper from a few months ago</a> that suggests just the <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_obamacare_winners_losers_0.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">opposite. The authors calculate net gains and losses from Obamacare, and conclude that nearly all its benefits flow to the poor. If I interpolate their chart a bit, winners are those with household incomes below $25,000 or so, and losers are those with incomes above $25,000.</p> <p>The authors are clear that their estimates are not definitive, thanks to difficulties in performing some of the calculations. And obviously they're just averages. Quite plainly, there are some families with higher incomes that benefit from Obamacare.</p> <p>Still, there are fewer than you think&mdash;partly because the subsidies decline at higher incomes and partly because people with higher incomes already have employer insurance and don't need Obamacare. That said, I don't want to make too much of this single chart, especially given the measurement difficulties it presents. But I do think it's illustrative. If you think of Obamacare as something that benefits the working and middle classes, you're probably wrong. It may benefit a few of them, but overall it's a cost to them&mdash;or, under more generous assumptions, perhaps a wash.</p> <p>Obviously there's more to this, and Gardner discusses some of the other electoral implications of Obamacare in his post. It's worth a read. But the bottom line is simple: like most of the social welfare programs championed by Democrats, Obamacare is primarily aimed at the poor. Once again, the working and middle classes are left on the outside looking in.</p> <p><strong>POSTSCRIPT:</strong> I'm sure many people will point out that middle class folks benefit from Obamacare in other ways. If they lose their jobs, for example, they can stay insured even if they have a preexisting condition. That's a benefit! However, as Gardner points out, an awful lot of middle-class voters don't know about these kinds of benefits, so it doesn't register with them. Basically, they take a look at who's getting the cash, and for the most part, it's not them.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Economy Health Care Thu, 20 Nov 2014 16:51:13 +0000 Kevin Drum 265181 at http://www.motherjones.com Al Franken Questions Uber Over Privacy http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/11/al-franken-uber-travis-kalanick <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Minnesota Sen. <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/11/al-franken-minnesota-senate-model-progressive-campaign" target="_blank">Al Franken</a> has taken a keen interest in tech policy since coming to Congress. As chairman of a Senate subcommittee that focuses on privacy, technology, and the law, Franken has been one of the more <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2014/11/16/3592811/al-franken-ted-cruz-wrong-net-neutrality/" target="_blank">vocal advocates</a> for net neutrality, <a href="http://thehill.com/policy/technology/203431-franken-blasts-comcast-merger" target="_blank">fought against</a> a proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner, and <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/09/20/al-franken-is-worried-the-new-iphone-fingerprint-scanner-might-be-a-privacy-menace/" target="_blank">wondered about the privacy implications</a> of fingerprint scanners on iPhones.</p> <p>Now Franken has set his sights on Uber, an on-demand car service that uses smartphone technology to match passengers who need rides with available drivers. On Wednesday, Franken <a href="https://www.franken.senate.gov/?p=press_release&amp;id=2986" target="_blank">wrote a letter</a> to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick posing a series of questions about how the company handles its users' information and how it plans to treat journalists.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/mojo/2014/11/al-franken-uber-travis-kalanick"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> MoJo Congress Tech Top Stories Thu, 20 Nov 2014 16:46:14 +0000 Patrick Caldwell 265151 at http://www.motherjones.com Jim Webb Wanted to Punch George W. Bush. Now He Wants His Old Job. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/11/jim-webb-hillary-clinton-exploratory-committee <!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 running for president. The former secretary of the Navy and Virginia senator launched a presidential exploratory committee on Thursday, becoming the first Democrat to formally dip his toe in the 2016 waters. Webb explained his candidacy <a href="http://webb2016.com/" target="_blank">in a video</a> that looks like it was filmed by the people who make commercials for personal-injury attorneys:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/oV3RnBaXIlk" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>A Republican for most of his life, Webb endeared himself to Democrats when he switched parties and beat incumbent GOP <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/05/george-allen-macaca-gop-comeback" target="_blank">Sen. George Allen</a> in 2006 by just a few thousand votes. Webb ran that campaign on an <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2006/09/jim-webbs-2002-op-ed-against-invading-iraq" target="_blank">anti-Iraq War message</a>, touting his own experience in Vietnam, but may have been pushed across the finish line by Allen, who called a Democratic volunteer "Macaca" (an obscure North African racial slur) at a campaign event.</p> <p>As a senator he was a bit of an iconoclast, defined mostly by his disdain for Washington (something most senators espouse but rarely act on). His first meeting with President George W. Bush ended with the senator walking away furiously, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/28/AR2006112801582.html" target="_blank">reportedly</a> on the verge of throwing a punch, after Dubya asked Webb about his son serving in Iraq. He sought to carve out a niche for himself by working for criminal justice reform, but left office before any political momentum developed on the issue. And then he left, after one term, leaving Democrats to defend a purple seat against Allen. His most impressive resume item may be his <a href="http://projects.militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=4226" target="_blank">Navy Cross citation</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>On 10 July 1969, while participating in a company-sized search and destroy operation deep in hostile territory, First Lieutenant Webb's platoon discovered a well-camouflaged bunker complex which appeared to be unoccupied. Deploying his men into defensive positions, First Lieutenant Webb was advancing to the first bunker when three enemy soldiers armed with hand grenades jumped out. Reacting instantly, he grabbed the closest man and, brandishing his .45 caliber pistol at the others, apprehended all three of the soldiers. Accompanied by one of his men, he then approached the second bunker and called for the enemy to surrender. When the hostile soldiers failed to answer him and threw a grenade which detonated dangerously close to him, First Lieutenant Webb detonated a claymore mine in the bunker aperture, accounting for two enemy casualties and disclosing the entrance to a tunnel. Despite the smoke and debris from the explosion and the possibility of enemy soldiers hiding in the tunnel, he then conducted a thorough search which yielded several items of equipment and numerous documents containing valuable intelligence data. Continuing the assault, he approached a third bunker and was preparing to fire into it when the enemy threw another grenade. Observing the grenade land dangerously close to his companion, First Lieutenant Webb simultaneously fired his weapon at the enemy, pushed the Marine away from the grenade, and shielded him from the explosion with his own body. Although sustaining painful fragmentation wounds from the explosion, he managed to throw a grenade into the aperture and completely destroy the remaining bunker.</p> </blockquote> <p>Webb has at least a few bumps to smooth over, though. He <a href="http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0608/10994.html" target="_blank">defended</a> the Confederate flag and "the venerable Robert E. Lee" in his book <em>Born Fighting</em>, about the Scots-Irish, and in 1979, he wrote an essay for <em>Washingtonian </em>titled "Why Women Can't Fight"&mdash;a spirited case against admitting women into service academies. As a senator from a major coal-producing state, he opposed proposals to combat climate change. And only last month expressed his <a href="http://www.timesdispatch.com/news/state-regional/virginia-politics/webb-on-meet-the-press-discusses-same-sex-marriage-foreign/article_645387e4-eab5-5250-af39-ca4a9e8470c3.html" target="_blank">support</a> for same-sex marriage. Beating an entrenched Republican in Virginia as a centrist in 2006 is one thing&mdash;but winning a Democratic presidential nomination requires winning Democratic primary voters.</p></body></html> MoJo Elections Top Stories Thu, 20 Nov 2014 16:44:54 +0000 Tim Murphy 265156 at http://www.motherjones.com Is Dianne Feinstein Crafting a Secret Water Deal to Help Big Pistachio? UPDATED http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/11/feinstein-secret-water-deal-drought-california <!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: </strong>Sen. Dianne Feinstein has called off her backroom negotiations to push a California water bill through the current, lame-duck Congressional session, </em>The Fresno Bee<em>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/11/20/4245563_feinstein-pushes-california-water.html?sp=/99/406/263/&amp;rh=1" target="_blank">reported</a> late Thursday afternoon. But she's not finished trying to make a deal with Big Ag-aligned GOP reps. She vowed to "put together a first-day bill for the next Congress, and it can go through the regular order,&rdquo; the </em>Bee<em> reported.&nbsp;</em></p> <p>Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is negotiating a behind-closed-doors deal with Republican lawmakers to pass a bill that would ostensibly address California's drought&mdash;an effort that has uncorked a flood of criticism from environmental circles.</p> <p>Feinstein's quiet push for a compromise drought bill that's palatable to Big Ag-aligned House Republicans has been in the works for six months, Kate Poole, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, told me. And it has accelerated recently, as the Senator hopes to pass it by year end, during the "lame duck" period of the outgoing Democratic-controlled Senate.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/tom-philpott/2014/11/feinstein-secret-water-deal-drought-california"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Tom Philpott Food and Ag Regulatory Affairs Top Stories Thu, 20 Nov 2014 11:00:07 +0000 Tom Philpott 265096 at http://www.motherjones.com Grandmothers Smoke Pot for First Time, Play Jenga, Are Perfect http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/11/grandmothers-smoke-pot-first-time-play-jenga-are-perfect <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Here is a video of three grandmothers in Washington smoking pot for the first time. It is wonderful.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/IRBAZJ4lF0U?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>P.S. Smoking<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/11/map-united-states-legal-marijuana-2014-2016" target="_blank"> pot is legal in the Evergreen state</a> so put your cuffs away.</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/19/grandmas-smoke-pot_n_6188430.html" target="_blank">(via HuffPo)</a></em></p></body></html> Mixed Media Video Thu, 20 Nov 2014 00:23:47 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 265131 at http://www.motherjones.com Exclusive: Jay Leno Cancels Performance at Gun Lobby Trade Show Following Pressure from Newtown Group http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/11/jay-leno-newtown-gun-lobby-trade-show <!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, 7:10 p.m. ET:</strong> Late Wednesday, Jay Leno said in a brief phone interview that he had called the National Shooting Sports Foundation to cancel his scheduled performance at the SHOT Show. He also said that he'd spoken with Po Murray of the Newtown Action Alliance to let her know. "I understand it's Newtown, and of course I get it," Leno told </em>Mother Jones<em>. "It's just sometimes, mistakes get made." (Read the original story below):</em></p> <p>Gun control advocates aren't laughing about Jay Leno's next move.</p> <p>On Tuesday, several gun violence-prevention groups called on the comedian to cancel his appearance at January's Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT), an annual event put on by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which is based in Newtown, Connecticut. A <a href="http://csgv.org/action/tell-jay-leno-cancel-appearance-2015-shot-show/" target="_blank">petition</a> posted by the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence accuses Leno of "helping to legitimize a crass commercialism which values profit over human lives" by speaking to this group, which lobbied against the background checks bill in Congress following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. The drive is backed by the Campaign to Unload, which pushes for divestment from gun companies, and the Newtown Action Alliance, founded by residents of the Connecticut town who support gun-safety legislation. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which has <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/07/moms-demand-action-guns-madd-shannon-watts-nra" target="_blank">pushed corporate restaurants and retailers</a> to take a stand against open-carry activists in their stores, has also launched a social media <a href="http://momsdemandaction.org/ft/jokesonleno/" target="_blank">campaign</a> against Leno.</p> <p>"I'm not sure if Jay Leno has done his research and understands that NSSF is the corporate gun lobby and they spend a significant amount of money to lobby congressional leaders to not pass significant gun reform legislation," says Newtown Action Alliance chairman Po Murray, whose children previously attended Sandy Hook. "It's a disheartening as a Newtown resident to see him make this appearance at the SHOT Show. So we're urging him to cancel his appearance."</p> <p>Seats for the event, held at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas, go for <a href="http://shotshow.org/state-industry-dinner/" target="_blank">$135 apiece</a>. Leno's publicist did not respond to a request for comment.</p></body></html> MoJo Guns Media Top Stories Wed, 19 Nov 2014 20:03:41 +0000 Tim Murphy 265046 at http://www.motherjones.com Watch a Wall of Snow Consume Buffalo, N.Y. http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/11/buffalo-ny-wall-of-snow-lake-effect <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Today it is <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/11/18/buffalo_snowstorm_70_inches_of_snow_as_winter_overpowers_america.html" target="_blank">literally freezing</a> in every state in America. But no where has been hit harder than Buffalo, New York, which yesterday got buried under 70 inches of snow. Yeah, seven-zero, as in nearly six feet. At least <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/news/weather/snow-emergency-six-dead-100-trapped-monster-winter-storm-n251436" target="_blank">six people there have died</a>, and one hundred are still trapped.</p> <p>The video below, from Buffalo-based producer Joseph DeBenedictis, shows yesterday's apocalyptic storm sweeping across the city. The insane snowfall was brought on by something called the "lake effect," which could grow more severe with global warming&mdash;our friend Eric Holthaus at <em>Slate</em> <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/11/19/lake_effect_snow_in_buffalo_climate_change_is_making_snowstorms_more_extreme.html" target="_blank">has the details on that</a>.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/KA9XNRHxKbg" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> Blue Marble Video Climate Change Climate Desk Wed, 19 Nov 2014 17:59:13 +0000 Tim McDonnell 265056 at http://www.motherjones.com It Turns Out That Ferguson Is Pretty Typical of America http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/11/it-turns-out-ferguson-pretty-typical-america <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_irvine_arrest_rate.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">The Ferguson police department famously arrests blacks at a rate three times higher than other races. A <em>USA Today</em> investigation shows <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/11/18/ferguson-black-arrest-rates/19043207/" target="_blank">just how commonplace that is:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>At least 1,581 other police departments across the USA arrest black people at rates even more skewed than in Ferguson, a <em>USA TODAY</em> analysis of arrest records shows. That includes departments in cities as large and diverse as Chicago and San Francisco and in the suburbs that encircle St. Louis, New York and Detroit.</p> <p>Those disparities are easier to measure than they are to explain. They could be a reflection of biased policing; they could just as easily be a byproduct of the vast economic and educational gaps that persist across much of the USA &mdash; factors closely tied to crime rates. In other words, experts said, the fact that such disparities exist does little to explain their causes.</p> </blockquote> <p>Curious to know how your city fares? <a href="http://www.gannett-cdn.com/experiments/usatoday/2014/11/arrests-interactive/" target="_blank">Click here</a> and check out various places in your state. My hometown, it turns out, beats out Ferguson easily, arresting blacks at a rate nearly four times higher than other races. The difference, of course, is that Irvine is only 1.7 percent black to begin with, so there's hardly anyone here to complain about it. That makes it easy to ignore, but that's about all it means.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Civil Liberties Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity Wed, 19 Nov 2014 17:40:33 +0000 Kevin Drum 265051 at http://www.motherjones.com Voter ID Laws: Terrible Public Policy, But Probably Pretty Feeble http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/11/voter-id-laws-terrible-public-policy-probably-pretty-feeble <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Republican-led voter-ID laws may be pernicious, but Nate Cohn says there are three reasons to think their <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/20/upshot/why-voter-id-laws-dont-swing-many-elections.html" target="_blank">actual electoral impact is overstated:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>To begin with, <strong>the true number of registered voters without photo identification is usually much lower than the statistics on registered voters without identification suggest</strong>. The number of voters without photo identification is calculated by matching voter registration files with state ID databases. But perfect matching is impossible and the effect is to overestimate the number of voters without identification.</p> <p>....<strong>People without ID are less likely to vote than other registered voters.</strong> The North Carolina study found that 43 percent of the unmatched voters &mdash; registered voters who could not be matched with a driver&rsquo;s license &mdash; participated in 2012, compared with more than 70 percent of matched voters.</p> <p>....There&rsquo;s no question that voter ID has a disparate impact on Democratic-leaning groups....<strong>[But] voters without an identification might be breaking something more like 70/30 for Democrats than 95/5.</strong> A 70/30 margin is a big deal, and, again, it&rsquo;s fully consistent with Democratic concerns about voter suppression. But when we&rsquo;re down to the subset of unmatched voters who don&rsquo;t have any identification and still vote, a 70/30 margin probably isn&rsquo;t generating enough votes to decide anything but an extremely close election.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/voter-suppression-kevin-drum?page=2" target="_blank">When I looked into this a couple of years ago,</a> I basically came to the same conclusion. Only a few studies were available at the time, but they suggested that the real-world impact of voter ID laws was fairly small. I haven't seen anything since then to suggest otherwise.</p> <p>None of this justifies the cynical Republican effort to suppress voting via ID laws. For one thing, they still matter in close elections. For another, the simple fact that they deliberately target minority voters is noxious&mdash;and this is very much <em>not</em> ameliorated by the common Republican defense that the real reason they're targeted isn't race related. It's because they vote for Democrats. If anything, that makes it worse. Republicans are knowingly making it harder for blacks and Hispanics to vote <em>because they vote for the wrong people</em>. I'm not sure how much more noxious a voter suppression effort can be.</p> <p>These laws should be stricken from the books, lock, stock and extremely smoking barrel. They don't prevent voter fraud and they have no purpose except to suppress the votes of targeted groups. The evidence on this point is now clear enough that the Supreme Court should revisit its 2008 decision in <em>Crawford v. Marion</em> that upheld strict voter ID laws. They have no place in a decent society.</p> <p>At the same time, if you're wondering how much actual effect they have, the answer is probably not much. We still don't have any definitive academic studies on this point, I think, but Cohn makes a pretty good case. It's possible that Kay Hagan might have lost her Senate race this year thanks to voter ID laws, but she's probably the only one.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Elections Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:47:37 +0000 Kevin Drum 265041 at http://www.motherjones.com Why Scott Walker Might Be Our Next President http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/11/why-scott-walker-might-be-our-next-president <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In 2012, I basically considered Mitt Romney a shoo-in for the Republican nomination. I figured that he'd hoover up most of the moderate votes&mdash;and despite all the breathless press accounts, moderates still account for at least half of GOP voters&mdash;plus a share of the tea partiers, and that was that. The rest of the field would destroy each other as they fought over their own sliver of the tea party vote, eventually leaving Romney battered and unloved, but triumphant.</p> <p>Sure enough, that's what happened. But I don't see a strong moderate in the field right now. I suppose Jeb Bush and Chris Christie come the closest, but even if they run, they strike me as having some pretty serious problems. Romney was willing to adopt tea party positions across the board, even as he projected a moderate, adult persona, but neither Christie nor Bush will kowtow in quite that way. That's going to cause them problems, and Christie's fondness for showy confrontations is going to be an additional millstone around his neck. Either one might win, but neither seems like an especially likely nominee to me.</p> <p>All this is a long way of explaining why I think Scott Walker is the frontrunner. He has a record of governance. His persona is generally adult. He doesn't say crazy stuff. Relatively speaking, he's attractive to moderates. But at the same time, <a href="http://nypost.com/2014/11/18/a-walker-16-boom-he-looks-great-on-paper/" target="_blank">the tea partiers love him too.</a> The big strike against him, of course, is that he's lousy on TV. He's a terrible public speaker. And he's just boring as hell. However, Ed Kilgore perfectly explains why this <a href="http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2014_11/walker_16_death_by_vanilla052997.php" target="_blank">doesn't make him another Tim Pawlenty or John Kasich:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>This is why Walker is so very commonly compared to Tim Pawlenty in 2012; the Minnesotan was perfectly positioned to become the most-conservative-electable-candidate nominee in a large but shaky field. And he wound up being the first candidate to drop out, before a single vote (other than in the completely non-official Ames Straw Poll) was cast. His sin was congenital blandness, and the defining moment of his campaign was when he all but repudiated his one great zinger: referring to the Affordable Care Act as "Obamneycare."</p> <p>But TPaw's demise does point up one big difference between these two avatars of the Republican revival in the Upper Midwest: <strong>nobody suspects Scott Walker may be too nice for his party. He may be bland, and a bad orator, but his bad intent towards conservatism's enemies is unmistakable.</strong> He's sorta Death by Vanilla, or a great white shark; boring until he rips you apart. I think Republican elites get that, and it excites them. But how about voters?</p> </blockquote> <p>Mitt Romney managed to base nearly his entire campaign on hating Barack Obama more than anyone else. It worked. Whenever someone started to score some points against his sometimes liberalish record in Massachusetts, he'd just launch into an over-the-top denunciation of Obama and the crowd would go wild. Walker can do the same thing, but without the artifice. Unlike Romney, he really has been fighting liberals tooth and nail for the past four years, and he has the scars to prove it. This will go a long, long way to make up for a bit of blandness.</p> <p>Besides, it's worth remembering that people can improve on the basics of campaigning. Maybe Walker will turn out to be hopeless. You never know until the campaign really gets going. But if he's serious, he'll get some media training and start working on developing a better stump speech. A few months of this can do wonders.</p> <p>Predictions are hard, especially about the future. But if he runs, I rate Walker a favorite right now. If his only real drawback is Midwestern blandness&mdash;well, Mitt Romney wasn't Mr. Excitement either. Walker can get better if he puts in the work. And if he does, he'll have most of Romney's upside with very little of the downside. He could be formidable.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum 2016 Elections Top Stories Scott Walker Wed, 19 Nov 2014 15:38:49 +0000 Kevin Drum 265026 at http://www.motherjones.com CNN's Don Lemon Tells Woman Accusing Bill Cosby of Rape She Could Have Bitten Her Way to Safety http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/11/don-lemon-joan-tarshis-bill-cosby <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Following weeks of renewed rape allegations against comedian Bill Cosby, CNN host Don Lemon wanted Joan Tarshis, who has accused Cosby of sexual assault, to know she could have escaped the alleged 1969 <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/16/bill-cosby-rape-accuser_n_6168858.html" target="_blank">attack</a>, if she had used her <a href="http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/11/18/cnns-don-lemon-to-cosby-rape-accuser-you-know-t/201625" target="_blank">teeth as a weapon</a> during oral sex.</p> <p>Lemon, insisting he was not trying to be "crude," suggested this tactic while interviewing Tarshis on <em>CNN Tonight</em>:</p> <blockquote> <p class="rteindent1">Lemon: You know, there are way not to perform oral sex if you didn't want to do it.</p> <p class="rteindent1">Tarshis: Oh, I was kind of stoned at the time, and quite honestly, that didn't even enter my mind. Now I wish it would have.</p> <p class="rteindent1">Lemon: Right. Meaning the using of the teeth, right?</p> <p class="rteindent1">Tarshis: Yes, that's what I'm thinking you're....</p> <p class="rteindent1">Lemon: As a weapon.</p> <p class="rteindent1">Tarshis: I didn't even think of it.</p> <p class="rteindent1">Lemon: Biting.</p> <p class="rteindent1">Tarshis: Ouch.</p> <p class="rteindent1">Lemon: Yes. I had to ask. I mean, it is, yeah.</p> </blockquote> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" class="video-embed" frameborder="0" height="360" scrolling="no" src="http://mediamatters.org/embed/201625" width="480"></iframe></p> <p>The awkward exchange followed an interview Tarshis gave to Lemon the day before, in which she claimed she had <a href="https://tv.yahoo.com/news/bill-cosby-accuser-joan-tarshis-alleges-did-much-092100511.html" target="_blank">lied to Cosby about having an STD</a> in order to convince him not to rape her. She alleged that Cosby then forced her perform oral sex on him. In the first interview, Lemon asked, "Why didn't you tell police?"</p> <p><strong>Update, Wednesday, November 19:</strong> Following the backlash incited by Lemon's comments, the CNN host issued the following <a href="http://www.mediaite.com/tv/don-lemon-im-sorry-if-my-rape-question-struck-anyone-as-insensitive/" target="_blank">statement </a>Wednesday afternoon: "As a victim myself I would never want to suggest that any victim could have prevented a rape. If my question struck anyone as insensitive, I&rsquo;m sorry as that was not my intention." In the past, Lemon has discussed being <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/07/11/137766611/-award-winning-cnn-anchor-goes-transparent" target="_blank">sexually abused</a> as a child.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Video Wed, 19 Nov 2014 15:32:44 +0000 Inae Oh 265016 at http://www.motherjones.com Elizabeth Warren to Banks: Prove You Can Protect Customer Data From Hackers http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/11/elizabeth-warren-elijah-cummings-cybersecurity <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Elizabeth Warren is off to a running start in her new leadership role with the Senate Democratic caucus. She <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/11/elizabeth-warren-walmart-black-friday-protest" target="_blank">called out Walmart</a> for its terrible labor practices. She <a href="http://online.wsj.com/articles/elizabeth-warren-and-joe-manchin-the-fed-needs-governors-who-arent-wall-street-insiders-1416269808" target="_blank">wrote an op-ed this week</a> warning the president against appointing Wall Street insiders to the Federal Reserve. And Tuesday morning, she <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/18/us-usa-congress-cybersecurity-idUSKCN0J21HB20141118?feedType=RSS&amp;feedName=topNews" target="_blank">called on financial institutions</a> to prove that they can protect customer data from cybercriminals.</p> <p>Over the past year, cyber attackers have stolen roughly <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/10/20/secret-service-fbi-hack-cybersecuurity/17615029/" target="_blank">500 million records</a> from financial institutions, according to federal law enforcement officials. In a joint letter also signed by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Warren asked 16 firms&mdash;including Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley&mdash;for detailed information about cyberattacks they experienced over the past year and how they plan to prevent future breaches.</p> <p>"The increasing number of cyberattacks and data breaches is unprecedented and poses a clear and present danger to our nation&rsquo;s economic security," the lawmakers wrote in the letter. "Each successive cyberattack and data breach not only results in hefty costs and liabilities for businesses, but exposes consumers to identity theft and other fraud, as well as a host of other cyber-crimes."</p> <p>Warren and Cummings requested the firms provide information on the number of customers that may have been affected by breaches, data security measures the companies have taken in response, the value of the fraudulent transactions connected with the cyber attacks, and who is suspected to have carried them out. The letters also request that IT security officers at each firm brief the lawmakers on how they are protecting their data from cybervillains.</p> <p>The lawmakers hope to use the information the firms provide to inform new federal cybersecurity legislation. Current cybersecurity law is <a href="http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/224484-lawmakers-target-banks-for-hacking-details" target="_blank">unclear</a> about when companies are required to notify the government about a data hack. Warren has previously <a href="http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/224484-lawmakers-target-banks-for-hacking-details" target="_blank">called on Congress</a> to give the Federal Trade Commission more power to regulate data breaches.</p> <p>The American financial sector is one of the most targeted in the world, <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/10/20/secret-service-fbi-hack-cybersecuurity/17615029/" target="_blank">according</a> to the FBI and Secret Service officials. The hackers who stole data from JPMorgan Chase earlier this year&mdash;compromising information from 76 million households&mdash;also targeted 13 other financial institutions, <em>Bloomberg</em> <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-09/jpmorgan-hackers-said-to-probe-13-financial-firms.html" target="_blank">reported</a> last month.</p></body></html> MoJo Congress Corporations Tech Top Stories Wed, 19 Nov 2014 11:15:05 +0000 Erika Eichelberger 264956 at http://www.motherjones.com Today's Winner in Washington: The Filibuster http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/11/todays-winner-washington-filibuster <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Today, Democrats blocked action to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. A few minutes later, Republicans blocked a bill to regulate the bulk collection of phone records by the NSA.</p> <p>Both bills had majority support. Both failed thanks to filibusters. It's good to see that life is back to normal in Washington DC.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Civil Liberties Climate Change Congress Energy Wed, 19 Nov 2014 01:24:10 +0000 Kevin Drum 265006 at http://www.motherjones.com