Blogs | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/Blogs/2011/08/liberals-have-been-played-chumps%22 http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en The New Jason Bourne Trailer Just Premiered During the Super Bowl. Here It Is. http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2016/02/new-jason-bourne-trailer-super-bowl <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The new Jason Bourne movie stars Matt Damon again. Will Hunting took a break from the series a few years ago and the last one starred Jeremy Renner, but he's back now because money can be exchanged for goods and services. This one looks pretty good! It comes out this summer.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/l4jjKfLoOPE" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> Mixed Media Mon, 08 Feb 2016 00:35:52 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 296216 at http://www.motherjones.com Bernie Sanders Says He's Being "Lectured" by Hillary Clinton on Foreign Policy http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/bernie-sanders-portsmouth-rally-foreign-policy <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Bernie Sanders was defensive when he was asked at Thursday's Democratic presidential debate why he doesn't talk more about how he'd approach being commander-in-chief. So does he plan on changing course anytime soon? Not a chance.</p> <p>On Sunday afternoon in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, speaking at the same community college that hosted Hillary Clinton on Saturday, Sanders did not mention foreign policy until the 50th minute of a 54-minute speech. Even then, he kept it short, telling supporters (and a few undecided voters) he was tired of being "lectured" by his opponent on the issue. "And by the way," he said, as he wrapped up his remarks, "as somebody who voted against the war in Iraq&mdash;who led the <em>opposition</em> to the war in Iraq, lately I have been lectured on foreign policy. The most important foreign policy in the modern history of this country was the war in Iraq. I was right on that issue. Hillary Clinton was wrong on that issue."</p> <p>And then he moved on. In one of his final get-out-the-vote events before Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, Sanders showed a willingness to continue taking the fight to Clinton on his own terms. The speech he gave on Sunday, his voice still hoarse from his appearance on <em>Saturday Night Live</em> with Larry David, was much the same speech he delivered in Boston in October, and in Burlington in May. He excoriated the oligarchs who he believes corrupt the political system and outlined a theory of change, from the suffrage movement to civil rights to gay rights, that he believes shows that grassroots movements like his own can overturn the system. The routine is so familiar that when he asked his audience who the biggest recipient of federal welfare is, about half of those in attendance were able to answer&mdash;"Walmart."</p> <p>What's changed is the crowd. When I saw him in Boston in October, the crowd booed 17 different times during his speech, prompted by references to Jeb Bush or the Koch brothers. On Sunday, that number was halved in a speech of equal length. (Targets of booing included the black and Latino unemployment rate, speaker fees from Goldman Sachs, and companies that exploit loopholes in the tax code to avoid "paying a nickel in federal income taxes.") Clinton refers to the animating ethos of Sanders' supporters as "anger," and there's certainly that, but increasingly, there's the optimism of an organization that truly thinks it can win.</p> <p>That's typified by one of the few tweaks he's made to his speech over the last few months: He now talks about the poll numbers. "We started this campaign at 3 percent in the polls," he told the crowd early on. "We were 30, 40 points down in New Hampshire. Well, a lot has changed." Except for all the stuff that hasn't.</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections bernie sanders Sun, 07 Feb 2016 21:37:26 +0000 Tim Murphy 296206 at http://www.motherjones.com Sunday French Fry Blogging http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/sunday-french-fry-blogging <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A few weeks ago I had lunch at my favorite diner and I asked what kind of oil they cooked their fries in. Corn oil, it turns out. But the owner of the place happened to be standing right there, and with no prompting he immediately grokked why I was asking:</p> <blockquote> <p>Nobody makes fries the old way anymore. They used to be so good. These days&mdash;phhht. There's no taste at all. But everybody got afraid of the health <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_fries.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">stuff, so it's all vegetable oil now.</p> </blockquote> <p>The fries at this place range from good to spectacular depending on the whims of the deep fryer, so it's not impossible to get tasty fries from corn oil. Still, fries made in beef tallow&mdash;or a mixed oil that includes animal fat of some kind&mdash;are unquestionably better. So why hasn't anyone picked up on this? There's plenty of evidence suggesting that fries cooked in animal fat might be no worse for you than fries cooked in vegetable oil, and even if this is wrong there should still be a market for an "artisanal fries" menu item or some such. Upscale burger places are forever looking for ways to differentiate themselves for the foodie crowd, so why not this? I'd buy them.</p> <p>It's a mystery. Nobody should be afraid of some occasional fries cooked in animal fat. And if you are, nobody is going to take away your bland canola oil fries anyway. Someone needs to get on this bandwagon. Who will do it first?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sun, 07 Feb 2016 18:45:07 +0000 Kevin Drum 296201 at http://www.motherjones.com Is Academic Science Hopelessly Corrupt? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/academic-science-hopelessly-corrupt <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Marc Edwards, the Virginia Tech scientist who uncovered the lead poisoning in Flint, is absolutely brutal about the way funding priorities <a href="http://chronicle.com/article/The-Water-Next-Time-Professor/235136" target="_blank">have corrupted academic science:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>We&rsquo;re all on this hedonistic treadmill &mdash; pursuing funding, pursuing fame, pursuing h-index &mdash; and the idea of science as a public good is being lost. This is something that I&rsquo;m upset about deeply. I&rsquo;ve kind of dedicated my career to <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_marc_edwards.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">try to raise awareness about this. I&rsquo;m losing a lot of friends.</p> <p><strong>....Q. Do you have any sense that perverse incentive structures prevented scientists from exposing the problem in Flint sooner?</strong></p> <p><strong>A.</strong> Yes, I do. In Flint the agencies paid to protect these people weren&rsquo;t solving the problem. They <em>were</em> the problem....I don&rsquo;t blame anyone, because I know the culture of academia. You are your funding network as a professor. You can destroy that network that took you 25 years to build with one word. I&rsquo;ve done it.</p> <p><strong>....Q. Now that your hypothesis has been vindicated, and the government has its tail between its legs, a lot of researchers are interested.</strong></p> <p><strong>A.</strong> And I hope that they&rsquo;re interested for the right reasons. But there&rsquo;s now money &mdash; a lot of money &mdash; on the table....The expectation is that there&rsquo;s tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars that are going to be made available by these agencies....I hate to sound cynical about it. I know these folks have good intentions. But it doesn&rsquo;t change the fact that, Where were we as academics for all this time before it became financially in our interest to help? Where were we?</p> <p><strong>....Q. When is it appropriate for academics to be skeptical of an official narrative when that narrative is coming from scientific authorities? Surely the answer can&rsquo;t be "all of the time."</strong></p> <p>I grew up worshiping at the altar of science, and in my wildest dreams I never thought scientists would behave this way....Science should be about pursuing the truth and helping people. If you&rsquo;re doing it for any other reason, you really ought to question your motives.</p> <p>Unfortunately, in general, academic research and scientists in this country are no longer deserving of the public trust. We&rsquo;re not.</p> </blockquote> <p>In academia these day&mdash;and especially in the hard sciences, which are expensive to support&mdash;funding is everything. To a large extent, at big research universities faculty members basically work on commission: they have to bring in enough money to pay their own salaries and bankroll their own labs. And when was the last time a salesman on commission badmouthed his own product?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sun, 07 Feb 2016 16:56:54 +0000 Kevin Drum 296196 at http://www.motherjones.com Maybe Twitter Isn't Planning to Ruin Your Life After All http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/maybe-twitter-isnt-planning-ruin-your-life-after-all <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Twitter, the big outrage over the past few days has been the news that the corporate suits are planning to change the way your Twitter feed works. Instead of simply listing every tweet from your followers in real time, <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/alexkantrowitz/twitter-to-introduce-algorithmic-timeline-as-soon-as-next-we#.lf8rQlJDP" target="_blank">they'll be rolling out an algorithm</a> that reorders tweets "based on what Twitter&rsquo;s algorithm <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_twitter_crash.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">thinks people most want to see." This is something Facebook has been doing for years.</p> <p>Power users are apoplectic, despite the fact that it's not clear what's really going on. A developer at Twitter hit back <a href="https://twitter.com/bhcarpenter/status/695811814244773892" target="_blank">with this:</a> "Seriously people. We aren't idiots. Quit speculating about how we're going to 'ruin Twitter.'" Nor is it clear when this is really going to roll out. And the rumors suggest that it will be an opt-in feature anyway. Chronological timelines will still be around for everyone who wants them.</p> <p>In any case, I'd suggest everyone give this a chance. Computer users, ironically, are notoriously change averse, which might be blinding a lot of us to the fact that chronological timelines aren't exactly the greatest invention since the yellow first down line. Maybe we really do need something better. More generally, here are a few arguments in favor of waiting to see how this all plays out:</p> <ul><li>I'm a semi-power user. I don't write a lot on Twitter,<sup>1</sup> but I read it a lot. Still, I have a job and a life, and I don't check it obsessively. And even though I follow a mere 200 people, all it takes is 15 minutes to make it nearly impossible to catch up with what's going on. Being on the West Coast makes this an especial problem in the morning. A smart robot that helped solve this problem could be pretty handy, even for those of us who are experts and generally prefer a real-time feed.</li> <li>One of my most common frustrations is coming back to the computer after a break and seeing lots of cryptic references to some new outrage or other. What I'd really like is a "WTF is <em>this</em> all about?" button. An algorithmic feed could be a useful version of this.</li> <li>As plenty of people have noted, Twitter is a sexist, racist, misogynistic cesspool. There are things Twitter could do about this, but I suspect they're limited as long as we rely on an unfiltered chronological timeline. Once an algorithm is introduced, it might well be possible to personalize your timeline in ways that clean up Twitter immensely. (Or that allow Twitter to clean it up centrally&mdash;though this obviously needs to be done with a lot of care.)</li> <li>One of the most persuasive complaints about the algorithm is that it's likely to favor the interests of advertisers more than users. Maybe so. Unfortunately, Twitter famously doesn't seem able to find a profitable business model. But if we like Twitter, the first order of business is for it to stay in existence&mdash;and that means it needs to make money. This is almost certain to be annoying no matter how Twitter manages to do it. A good algorithm might actually be the least annoying way of accomplishing this.</li> <li>Needless to say, all of this depends on how good the algorithm is. It better be pretty good, and it better improve over time.</li> </ul><p>So....stay cool, everyone. Maybe this will be an epic, New Coke style disaster that will end up as a case study in business texts for years. It wouldn't be the first time. Then again, maybe the algorithm will be subtle, useful, and optional. I'll be curious to try it out, myself.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>Arguments on Twitter are possibly the stupidest waste of time ever invented. Everything that's bad about arguments in the first place is magnified tenfold by the 140-character limit. It's hard to imagine that anyone other than a psychopath has ever emerged from a Twitter war thinking "That was great! I really learned something today."</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sun, 07 Feb 2016 16:13:36 +0000 Kevin Drum 296191 at http://www.motherjones.com Last Night's "Marcobot Moment" May Have Ruined a Political Career http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/last-nights-marcobot-moment-may-have-ruined-political-career <!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_marco_rubio_covers.jpg" style="margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">I was out to dinner last night&mdash;the duck at Il Fornaio was great!&mdash;so I missed the Republican debate. That was too bad, because apparently the highlight of the night was Chris Christie's brutal beatdown of Marco Rubio over precisely the point I made a few days ago. <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/let-us-all-take-random-walk-through-new-hampshire" target="_blank">Here's my version:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>To me he seems like a robot: he's memorized a whole bunch of virtual index cards, and whenever you ask a question he performs a database search and recites whatever comes up. The index cards aren't bad, mind you, and I suppose they allow him to emulate a dumb person's notion what a smart person sounds like. This is despite the fact that he normally talks with the same kind of hurried clip employed by nervous eighth graders reading off actual index cards.</p> </blockquote> <p>This has always been my basic take on Rubio, and it makes me a little puzzled by his appeal among the conservative intelligentsia. But maybe they don't really care? Maybe they agree with Grover Norquist's take on the presidency <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/02/13/grover-norquist-speech-cpac.html" target="_blank">from four years ago:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>We don't need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go....We just need a president to sign this stuff....Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States.</p> </blockquote> <p>Well, Rubio has the requisite number of working digits, and he's reliably conservative even if he's not one of the great thinkers of our age. So maybe it doesn't matter if he's a callow empty suit. As long as he signs the stuff that Ryan and McConnell send him, and can give a good speech now and then defending it, he's aces. At a minimum, though, this requires Rubio to effectively hide his inability to think outside of sound bites. Christie shattered that illusion for good last night when he bluntly pointed out Rubio's robotic repetition of the exact same puerile talking point within the space of a couple of minutes. <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/430906/marco-rubio-and-chris-christies-brutal-exchange" target="_blank">Here's conservative Rubio fan David French:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Marco Rubio&rsquo;s already-famous exchange with Chris Christie was indeed a brutal moment. I still can&rsquo;t believe that Rubio went back to the same talking point right after Christie called him on it. Watching it real-time, I honestly wondered if Rubio forgot what he just said. <strong>When he started to do the same thing<iframe align="right" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="258" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/HNRNHgi1RzU?start=0" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;" width="400"></iframe> a third time, I couldn&rsquo;t believe my ears.</strong> Christie wasn&rsquo;t masterful &mdash; not by any means &mdash; Rubio just served him the worst kind of hanging curve.</p> </blockquote> <p>French compared this to Rick Perry's famous "Oops" gaffe from 2012. <a href="https://twitter.com/JamesFallows/status/696176435854229504" target="_blank">James Fallows</a> called it the "most self-destructive debate performance since Quayle &rsquo;88." Social media immediately branded it the "Marcobot" moment, and mashups of the Rubio/Christie exchange showed up everywhere. <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/02/06/transcript-of-the-feb-6-gop-debate-annotated/" target="_blank">Here's the edited transcript:</a></p> <blockquote> <p><em>RUBIO:</em> And let's dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing. He knows exactly what he's doing. <strong>Barack Obama is undertaking a systematic effort to change this country,</strong> to make America more like the rest of the world....</p> <p><em>RUBIO:</em> But I would add this. Let's dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing. He knows exactly what he's doing. <strong>He is trying to change this country. He wants America to become more like the rest of the world....</strong></p> <p><em>CHRISTIE:</em> That's what Washington, D.C. Does. The drive-by shot at the beginning with incorrect and incomplete information and <strong>then the memorized 25-second speech that is exactly what his advisers gave him.</strong> See Marco, the thing is this. When you're president of the United States, when you're a governor of a state, the memorized 30-second speech where you talk about how great America is at the end of it doesn't solve one problem for one person.</p> <p><em>RUBIO:</em> Here's the bottom line. This notion that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing is just not true. <strong>He knows exactly what he's doing.</strong></p> <p><em>CHRISTIE:</em> There it is. There it is. <strong>The memorized 25-second speech. There it is, everybody....</strong>It gets very unruly when he gets off his talking points....</p> <p><em>RUBIO [an hour later]:</em> I think anyone who believes that Barack Obama isn't doing what he's doing on purpose doesn't understand what we're dealing with here, OK? <strong>This is a president who is trying to change this country.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>So there you have it: the exact same canned line three times in a row. And then, even after being called on it in humiliating fashion, he repeats it yet again for a fourth time an hour later.</p> <p>Will this hurt Rubio? If he's smart, he'll own it. He'll make it the centerpiece of his campaign going forward, sort of like "Make America great again." Unfortunately, now that Christie has pointed out Rubio's index-card habit, everyone is going to be looking for it on every other subject too. Reporters will be combing through his debates and stump speeches looking for canned talking points, and then doing side-by-side comparisons as if he's an author being accused of plagiarism.</p> <p>We'll see how this plays out. But it sure can't be good news for ol' Marcobot. He might need to think about getting an upgrade to his programming.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sun, 07 Feb 2016 14:26:29 +0000 Kevin Drum 296176 at http://www.motherjones.com Bernie Sanders and Larry David Appeared on "SNL" Together and It was Magical http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2016/02/bernie-sanders-larry-david-snl <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>As <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2016/02/05/bernie-sanders-to-do-s-n-l-with-larry-david-hosting/" target="_blank">expected</a>, Bernie Sanders stopped by <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yL2dGTDQXVo" target="_blank">"Saturday Night Live" </a>last night for a much-anticipated cameo alongside everyone's favorite impersonator of the Vermont senator, Larry David. The brilliant sketch featured David as the captain of a sinking ship, who attempts to get onto a lifeboat based on his one percent status. That's when Bernie Sanderswitzky steps in to put an end to preferential treatment and save the middle class.</p> <p>"Sounds like socialism to me!" David's character says, to which Sanderswitzky clarifies, "Democratic socialism."</p> <p>Watch the sketch below:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yL2dGTDQXVo" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> Mixed Media 2016 Elections Sun, 07 Feb 2016 14:09:17 +0000 Inae Oh 296171 at http://www.motherjones.com Hillary Clinton’s Secret Weapon Is Bernie Sanders’ Colleagues http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/hillary-clinton-al-franken-friendship <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Sen Al Franken (D-Minn.) opened for Hillary Clinton Saturday night in Portsmouth with one very important message: she's good enough, she's smart enough, and doggone it, she's a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2002/10/remembering-paul-wellstone" target="_blank">Paul Wellstone</a> progressive.</p> <p>Clinton's final pitch to New Hampshire voters is as much about the people she surrounds herself with as it is the former secretary of state herself. On Friday, four woman senators were there to co-opt Bernie Sanders by arguing that the "revolution" America needs <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/hillary-clinton-women-revolution-sanders" target="_blank">is electing the first woman</a>. Stefany Shaheen, daughter of the New Hampshire senator, warmed up the crowd in Portsmouth by name-dropping celebrity backers Lena Dunham, Gloria Steinem, Abby Wambach&mdash;proof she's not only experienced, but maybe cool. Franken was there to follow-up on a subject of intense debate over the last week&mdash;what it means to be a progressive.</p> <p>"Let my clarify something: why they let a <em>guy</em> up here," Franken began, flanked by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Gov. Maggie Hassan, and the former secretary of state. He didn't waste any time invoking the legacy of the late Minnesota senator, a progressive icon who died in a plane crash in 2002 shortly before the midterm elections:</p> <blockquote> <p>I'm Al Franken, I'm a Senator from Minnesota, and I hold the seat that Paul Wellstone once held. And I can point to someone on this stage whom I wouldn't be senator from Minnesota [without], and that is Hillary Clinton. My first election was kind of close. I won by 312 votes. Hillary Clinton came twice for me, once in October and then I got a call from her the Sunday before the election, she said "I'm coming out." And we did a big rally in Duluth and got more than 312 votes at that rally, I gotta tell you. I'm a Paul Wellstone progressive. And let me tell you what that means: Paul said, "We all do better when we all do better." Now if I knew what a haiku was, I'd say that was a haiku. But evidently I'm told it isn't. But Paul knew that we all do better when we all do better.</p> </blockquote> <p>He launched into a personal story of growing up middle-class in Minnesota. And then he returned again to why they let the guy up there.</p> <p>"Sen. Shaheen, my colleague, and I, like the only other [Senate] Democrats who have endorsed in this race, have endorsed Hillary Clinton for a reason," he said. "Because this is serious stuff. This is serious stuff. This is Sherrod Brown. This is Cory Booker. This is Tammy Baldwin. We are progressives. And we know what it takes to <em>get things done</em>."</p> <p>None of these endorsers will shift many votes on their own (notwithstanding Franken's claims of Clinton in Duluth), but it's a death by a thousand cuts strategy. And with Sanders boasting just two members of Congress on his side, Clinton is all too happy to tell voters that the candidates they've worked so hard to get elected in the past&mdash;the Baldwins and Frankens of the world&mdash;are with her.</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections hillary clinton Sun, 07 Feb 2016 03:35:02 +0000 Tim Murphy 296161 at http://www.motherjones.com Watch the Most Awkward Debate Kickoff Ever http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/watch-most-awkward-debate-kick-ever <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The beginning of the Republican primary debate in New Hampshire Thursday night may go down as the most awkward in memory.</p> <p>It all started when Ben Carson failed to walk onstage when his name was called, causing a bottleneck in the wings that the other candidates had to walk around. Then Donald Trump apparently didn't hear his name and stood by Carson while other candidates walked by the two of them. On top of it all, the ABC News moderators forgot about John Kasich, leaving an empty podium on stage and one Ohio governor hovering off to the side.</p> <p>Just watch this video, because a debate kickoff this awkward doesn't happen often.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/uafScAiaC44" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Sun, 07 Feb 2016 02:03:20 +0000 Pema Levy 296156 at http://www.motherjones.com Someone in New Hampshire Is Leaving These Anti-Immigration Fliers on Cars http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/clinton-sanders-immigration-flier <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>At some point during Hillary Clinton's rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on Saturday night, I got a note on my car. Thankfully it was not a parking ticket&mdash;closer inspection revealed that it was single-page double-sided leaflet hitting both Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders for their position on immigration. It accuses Sanders of choosing "to value current and future Hispanic votes over progressive principles" by supporting a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. And it asks Clinton, "Should the President of the United States primarily represent the interests of American families or the interests of families of other countries who have entered the United States illegally?"</p> <p>Fliers on windshields is standard practice in the final days before a big vote, through official or unofficial channels&mdash;or from random freelancers. This one had no name on it. Is it yours? Let us know:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/hillary0.jpg"></div> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/hillary1.jpg"></div> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Sun, 07 Feb 2016 01:50:52 +0000 Tim Murphy 296146 at http://www.motherjones.com Here Is Today's French Fiscal Horsepower History Lesson http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/here-todays-french-fiscal-horsepower-history-lesson <!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_kevin_4cv.jpg" style="margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">No one is going to care about this post. Too bad. I feel like writing, and on a weekend you take what you can get.</p> <p>Anyway, I was musing the other day about the fact that I've always owned foreign cars. Partly this is just chance, partly the fact that I live in California, and, I suppose, partly because my parents always owned foreign cars. The first one was purchased around the time of my birth, and we kids called it the <em>bye-bye,</em> for reasons I presumably don't have to explain. It was, as it happens, a Renault. But which Renault?</p> <p>I did a bit of lazy googling last night, but nothing looked quite right. Then this morning, I noticed one of those Fiat 500s that J-Lo hawks on TV, and thought that it looked a little like the old Renault. Except I was sure the Renault had vents in the rear.</p> <p>But wait. Rear vents means a rear engine. So I googled that, and instantly got a million hits for the 4CV, which was clearly the old bye-bye. My mother confirmed this telephonically a bit later. And that got me curious. Citro<span class="st">&euml;</span>n, of course, produced the iconic 2CV, which first came off the assembly line at about the same time. What's with that? What's the appeal of __CV to postwar French auto manufacturers?</p> <p>The answer turned out to be pretty funky. CV stands for&nbsp;<span lang="fr"><i>chevaux vapeur,</i></span> or horsepower. But the 4CV is not a 4-horsepower car. CV, it turns out, is used to mean <em>tax horsepower</em>. After World War II, France (along with other European countries) wanted to encourage people to buy low-power cars, so they put a tax on horsepower. But just taxing horsepower would have been too simple. Instead, they used a formula that took into account the number of cylinders, the piston bore, and the stroke. Here's the formula for the 4CV:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_france_tax_horsepower.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 15px 10px;"></p> <p>These numbers were undoubtedly carefully engineered to produce the highest result that would round down to 4. In fact, the 4CV had a whopping 17 horsepower, and could get to 60 mph in just under 40 seconds. Ours had a few wee problems chugging along at 6,000 feet in Flagstaff on the way to Denver in 1960, but what can you expect for 17 horsepower?</p> <p>So that's your history lesson for the day. Apparently the French tax the horsepower of cars to this day, though the formula has changed over time. <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_horsepower#France" target="_blank">According to Wikipedia,</a> "Since 1998 the taxable power is calculated from the sum of a CO<sub>2</sub> emission figure (over 45), and the maximum power output of the engine in kilowatts (over 40) to the power of 1.6." The power of 1.6? I guess they still love a little pointless complexity in France.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sun, 07 Feb 2016 01:35:54 +0000 Kevin Drum 296141 at http://www.motherjones.com A Nice Paragraph About Why Humans Are So Damn Paranoid http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/nice-paragraph-about-why-humans-are-so-damn-paranoid <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I'm reading <em>Sapiens</em> right now, a history of early mankind published last year by historian Yuval Noah Harari. I haven't gotten very far into it, so I don't know <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_sapiens.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">if his idiosyncratic theories will end up being persuasive. Still, it's the kind of learned but big-think book I tend to like regardless of how well it holds up. I wish more deeply accomplished people were willing to write stuff like this.</p> <p>That said, here's a nice excerpt about the dangers of moving to the top of the food chain too fast:</p> <blockquote> <p>[It was] only in the last 100,000 years&mdash;with the rise of <em>Homo sapiens</em>&mdash;that man jumped to the top of the food chain....Other animals at the top of the pyramid, such as lions and sharks, evolved into the position very gradually, over millions of years. This enabled the ecosystem to develop checks and balances that prevent lions and sharks from wreaking too much havoc.</p> <p>....In contrast, <strong>humankind ascended to the top so quickly that the ecosystem was not given time to adjust.</strong> Moreover, humans themselves failed to adjust. Most top predators of the planet are majestic creatures. Millions of years of dominion have filled them with self-confidence. Sapiens by contrast is more like a banana republic dictator. <strong>Having so recently been one of the underdogs of the savannah, we are full of fears and anxieties over our position, which makes us doubly cruel and dangerous.</strong> Many historical calamities, from deadly wars to ecological catastrophes, have resulted from this over-hasty jump.</p> </blockquote> <p>This is just another way of saying that human intelligence evolved too fast for human emotions and morals to keep up. Either way, though, it sure rings true. Just take a look at the current presidential race. If any country should feel self-confident and safe, it's the United States. But boy howdy, we sure don't, do we?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 06 Feb 2016 17:39:48 +0000 Kevin Drum 296121 at http://www.motherjones.com Yep, the "Top Secret" Emails Were All About Drones http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/yep-top-secret-emails-were-all-about-drones <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>So just what was in those "top secret" emails that Hillary Clinton received on her personal email server while she was Secretary of State? The <em>New York Times</em> reports what everyone has already figured out: they were about drones. What's more, the question of whether they contain anything that's actually sensitive is <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/06/us/politics/agencies-battle-over-what-is-top-secret-in-hillary-clintons-emails.html?_r=0" target="_blank">mostly just a spat between CIA and State:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Some of the nation&rsquo;s intelligence agencies raised alarms last spring as the State Department began releasing emails from Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s private server, saying that a number of the messages contained <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_drone_top_secret.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">information that should be classified &ldquo;top secret.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>The diplomats saw things differently and pushed back at the spies. In the months since, a battle has played out between the State Department and the intelligence agencies.</strong></p> <p>....Several officials said that at least one of the emails contained oblique references to C.I.A. operatives. One of the messages has been given a designation of &ldquo;HCS-O&rdquo; &mdash; indicating that the information was derived from human intelligence sources...The government officials said that discussions in an email thread about a <em>New York Times</em> article &mdash; the officials did not say which article &mdash; contained sensitive information about the intelligence surrounding the C.I.A.&rsquo;s drone activities, particularly in Pakistan.</p> </blockquote> <p>The whole piece is worth reading for the details, but the bottom line is pretty simple: there's no there there. At most, there's a minuscule amount of slightly questionable reporting that was sent via email&mdash;a common practice since pretty much forever. Mostly, though, it seems to be a case of the CIA trying to bully State and win some kind of obscure pissing contest over whether they're sufficiently careful with the nation's secrets.</p> <p>Release them all. Redact a few sentences here and there if you absolutely have to. It's simply ridiculous to have nebulous but serious charges like these hanging like a cloud over the presidential race with Hillary Clinton unable to defend herself in any way. Release them and let the chips fall where they may.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 06 Feb 2016 16:01:24 +0000 Kevin Drum 296116 at http://www.motherjones.com What's It Like Being a Gay Soldier Fighting ISIS? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/whats-it-being-gay-soldier-fighting-isis <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I took my third dose of dexamethasone yesterday, and then a low-dose sleeping pill at midnight. I slept from 3-5 am. My body is currently a battlezone between the buzz from the dex and the sedative effect of the Temazapam, so perhaps my sense of humor is skewed. Still, I couldn't help but snicker at the cover of the latest <em>Harper's</em> that I took to bed last night:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_harpers_isis_gay_assad_army.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 15px 65px;"></p> <p>I love all my fellow lefties, even the ones who think I'm a squishy centrist sellout. You keep me honest. But sometimes you just have to laugh at our obsessions. A package about the war against ISIS is a fine idea, but using a third of it to highlight the plight of gay soldiers in the Syrian army? That's so PC it makes your teeth hurt.</p> <p>Of course, you might not find it funny at all&mdash;and you'll let me know it. If so, there's no point in explaining why this is so amusing. Like religion, you either get it or you don't.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 06 Feb 2016 15:32:18 +0000 Kevin Drum 296111 at http://www.motherjones.com Female Genital Mutilation Is Not a Uniquely Muslim Problem http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/female-genital-mutilation-not-uniquely-muslim-problem <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The <em>Independent</em> reports that about 5,000 girls and women in Britain are <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/fgm-cases-in-england-reported-every-109-minutes-a6854911.html" target="_blank">subjected to female genital mutilation each year:</a> "FGM<span> is carried out for cultural, religious and social reasons within families and communities where it is believed to be a necessary preparation for adulthood and marriage." Ian Tuttle is exasperated by their <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/430884/female-genital-mutilation-england-109-minutes" target="_blank">kid-glove treatment of the practice:</a></span></p> <blockquote> <p><span>True. But </span><em>which</em><span> cultures? </span><em>Which</em><span> religions? <strong>Hint: It&rsquo;s not Anglicans</strong>....L</span><span>et&rsquo;s be frank: </span>FGM<span> is not spontaneously afflicting preteen and teenage girls; it&rsquo;s not an illness being randomly caught. It&rsquo;s a barbarous act being perpetrated by parents of young girls in specific and identifiable cultural/religious groups. Refusing to acknowledge that reality does not help to protect <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_female_genital_mutiliation_africa_0.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">vulnerable women; it aids those who seek to repress them.</span></p> </blockquote> <p>Hmmm. "Not Anglicans." Obviously Tuttle is blaming Muslims. Oddly, though, he doesn't come right out and say this. Why? The map on the right might provide a clue.</p> <p><a href="http://www.unicef.org/cbsc/files/UNICEF_FGM_report_July_2013_Hi_res.pdf" target="_blank">According to UNICEF,</a> the practice of FGM is mostly limited to central Africa. It's not common in Morocco or Algeria or Libya or Saudi Arabia or Oman or Jordan or Syria or Iran. Basically, it's concentrated in a small swath of states in western Africa and another swath of states along the Red Sea (those in red and orange). With the exception of a handful of countries, only a small percentage of women who undergo FGM believe the practice is required by religion.</p> <p>Still, that religion is Islam. There's no need to tiptoe around that ugly fact. Or is there?</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_female_genital_mutiliation_religion.jpg" style="margin: 15px 0px 15px 45px;"></p> <p>Basically, FGM is a practice limited to certain parts of Africa&mdash;and although it's more common among Muslims than other religions, Christians are pretty close in most countries. As for Britain, its FGM problem is more due to where their African immigrants come from than it is to Islam per se.</p> <p>Female genital mutilation is a barbaric practice, and Muslims in many countries are far too tolerant of it. Anyone who fights it&mdash;as do many feminist NGOs as well as Islamic clergy and scholars&mdash;is literally doing God's work. But it's uncommon in the heartland of Islam, and in Africa it's practiced by plenty of Christians too. The only way to represent it as a uniquely Islamic problem is to imply it with a wink and a nudge but without actually producing any evidence.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 06 Feb 2016 15:10:22 +0000 Kevin Drum 296106 at http://www.motherjones.com Voters in New Hampshire Are Asking John Kasich About Ohio's Poisoned Water http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/john-kasich-sebring-ohio <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>John Kasich's town halls are different than anyone else's in New Hampshire, and the first person who will tell you that is John Kasich.&nbsp;"White Stripes at a Republican town meeting!" he said, after taking the floor to "Seven Nation Army" Friday evening in Bedford, New Hampshire. "That has never happened before in American history." He likes to make a lot of jokes, sometimes even funny ones, and to direct non-sequiturs at unsuspecting audience members. (Before taking questions, he paused to reflect on a snowball fight he'd taken part in earlier in the day: "I tackled one of my friends!") When it ended, there was a confetti machine and a triple-layer cake for the attendees.</p> <p>But there's a serious message underlying his irreverence: he's a results guy. Take a look at Ohio, and if you like what you see, you should vote Kasich on Tuesday. The problem arises when those voters look at Ohio and instead read about the town of Sebring, where elevated levels of lead were found in the drinking water and residents weren't notified for five months. (Read the <a href="http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2016/02/01/much-went-wrong-to-delay-public-notice-of-lead-in-sebring-water.html" target="_blank"><em>Columbus Dispatch</em></a> for a fuller accounting.) With Kasich in a fight for second place in New Hampshire, and the water crisis in Flint making national headlines, he's finding the issue impossible to avoid.</p> <p>Midway through the event, Kasich took a question from a man who had read about the crisis in Sebring this morning. He wanted to know one thing: "I was wondering if you've had a chance yet to personally apologize?"</p> <p>"Well first of all, our top administration, the [Ohio] EPA, went immediately to the village," Kasich said. "We had warned the village to tell everybody that there was a risk. We have sent tests out; we have had controllers in there working to make sure the chemicals are right, because the water coming in, sir, is clean. And so at the same time we have done that, we took the operator and we got rid of him. And the federal EPA came in and said he did more than was even federally required of him. So we worked on it all the time, we worked on it with the formulas, the chemicals, and we worked to make sure that at the end of the day people are gonna be okay."</p> <p>"Have you apologized?" the man asked again. Kasich wanted to move on, but the next question was about lead, too. A middle-aged woman in the second row, more sympathetic to Kasich than the first man, raised the spectre of the "800-pound donkey in the room" (that would be Hillary Clinton).</p> <p>Clinton had made clear at Thursday's debate that she would be campaigning on getting justice for Flint, this voter noted. And she "wasn't remotely nice" about it. "I understand sodium is being added back into the water and I understand that Sebring is a lot smaller than Flint. But she will, I am sure, bring it up. It's the Clinton machine. So my question to you is she will look at you and say, 'You hired Butler, he even went on television and said that he was a little slow in responding to the situation there.' How do you stand up to Hillary and debate?" (Craig Butler is the head of the Ohio EPA.)</p> <p>Kasich pivoted. "Look, our guys acted immediately and that's how we handle every crisis," he said. Then he switched gears and talked about how many Democrats he won over in his 2014 re-election. But it's a question that's not likely to go away any time soon.</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections John Kasich Sat, 06 Feb 2016 13:18:52 +0000 Tim Murphy 296086 at http://www.motherjones.com Let Us All Take a Random Walk Through New Hampshire http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/let-us-all-take-random-walk-through-new-hampshire <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I'm feeling a little bored, and that means all of you have to listen to me regaling you with a bunch of random political tweets from my timeline. This is, truly, the best way of getting a real feel for the campaign trail from afar. First up is Donald Trump, who canceled an event today because airports were closed in New Hampshire:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">so Trump lied again? Airports were open but he used weather as his excuse to cancel New Hampshire events.</p> &mdash; Cheri Jacobus (@CheriJacobus) <a href="https://twitter.com/CheriJacobus/status/695729343042035713">February 5, 2016</a></blockquote> </blockquote> </blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Apparently so. <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/05/politics/donald-trump-snow-new-hampshire-town-hall/index.html" target="_blank">CNN reports</a> that Trump's operator at LaGuardia was open for business, and the operator in Manchester says it is "always open for business, 24 hours a day." And even if Trump did have airport trouble, it was only because he insists on going home to New York every night. Apparently the man of the people just can't stand the thought of spending a few nights at a local Hilton.</p> <p>This whole thing cracks me up because of Trump's insistence that he's a "high energy" guy. But he can't handle a real campaign, the kind where you spend weeks at a time on the road doing four or five events a day. He flies in for a speech every few days and thinks he's showing real fortitude. He'd probably drop from exhaustion if he followed the same schedule as Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush.</p> <p>Next up is Marco Rubio:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">I've been to like 4 Rubio events in the past month and I already have most of his stump speech memorized. It, um, doesn't change very much.</p> &mdash; McKay Coppins (@mckaycoppins) <a href="https://twitter.com/mckaycoppins/status/695753435736645632">February 5, 2016</a></blockquote> </blockquote> </blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>This is what makes it hard for me to figure out Rubio's appeal. To me he seems like a robot: he's memorized a whole bunch of virtual index cards, and whenever you ask a question he performs a database search and recites whatever comes up. The index cards aren't bad, mind you, and I suppose they allow him to emulate a dumb person's notion what a smart person sounds like. This is despite the fact that he normally talks with the same kind of hurried clip employed by nervous eighth graders reading off actual index cards.</p> <p>Of course, this is just a specific example of a more general problem. Every four years, it looks to me like none of the Republican candidates can win. They all seem to have too many obvious problems. But of course <em>someone</em> has to win. So sure, Rubio reminds me of an over-ambitious teacher's pet running for student council president, but compared to Trump or Carson or Cruz or Fiorina or Christie&mdash;well, I guess I can see how he might look good.</p> <p>And now for some old-school Hillary Clinton hate:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Nice. <a href="https://twitter.com/AP">@AP</a> says "a blogger specifically asked for transcripts of her speeches" instead of crediting <a href="https://twitter.com/the_intercept">@the_intercept</a> <a href="https://t.co/RcWDPL2mCk">https://t.co/RcWDPL2mCk</a></p> &mdash; Andrew Perez (@andrewperezdc) <a href="https://twitter.com/andrewperezdc/status/695761125967663105">February 6, 2016</a></blockquote> </blockquote> </blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Well, I'll be happy to credit the <em>Intercept</em>, but I can hardly say it reflects well on them. This is yet another example of hCDS&mdash;Hillary Clinton Derangement Syndrome.<sup>1</sup> I mean, has any candidate for any office ever been asked for transcripts of their paid speeches? This is Calvinball squared. Besides we all know the <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2016/02/05/what-hillary-clinton-should-say-but-cant-about-her-wall-street-speaking-fees/" target="_blank">real reason Hillary doesn't want to release the transcripts:</a> she gave the same canned speech to everyone and happily pocketed an easy $200 grand for each one. Hell, who wouldn't do that? Plus there's the obvious fact that the hCDS crowd would trawl through every word and find at least one thing they could take out of context and make into a three-day outrage. Hillary would have to be nuts to give in to this.</p> <p>Who's next? How about Ted Cruz?</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Carson campaign uploads <a href="https://twitter.com/tedcruz">@tedcruz</a> voicemails telling caucusgoers Carson is dropping out and to caucus for Ted instead <a href="https://t.co/pYe5gw8DGJ">https://t.co/pYe5gw8DGJ</a></p> &mdash; Brian Ries (@moneyries) <a href="https://twitter.com/moneyries/status/695624938179469312">February 5, 2016</a></blockquote> </blockquote> </blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Cruz really pissed off Ben Carson in Iowa, just like he seems to piss off nearly everyone who <a href="http://theslot.jezebel.com/heres-what-happens-when-you-try-and-track-down-a-ted-cr-1752337625" target="_blank">actually gets a whiff of him up close.</a> This is bad for Cruz because he's trying to appeal to evangelical voters. Unfortunately, Carson has apparently decided that as long as he's going to lose, he might as well mount a kamikaze attack against Cruz on the way down. And evangelicals listen to Carson. If he says Cruz bears false witness, then he bears false witness.</p> <p>Finally, some good news for Bernie Sanders:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">2 national polls released today both have Sanders at his highest levels yet: 42% in Quinnipiac, 45% in Reuters (latter is online poll).</p> &mdash; Taniel (@Taniel) <a href="https://twitter.com/Taniel/status/695769211449245697">February 6, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></blockquote> </blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>As it turns out, the Quinnipiac poll is probably bogus. Sam Wang points out that the median post-Iowa bounce was +6 percent in New Hampshire and +4 nationally&mdash;<a href="http://election.princeton.edu/2016/02/06/the-post-iowa-bounce-goes-to-hillary-clinton/" target="_blank">in <em>Hillary's</em> favor.</a> So everyone should take a deep breath.</p> <p>Still, the big <em>Bernie</em> bounce is what people were talking about today, and it will contribute to an irresistible media narrative. And let's face it: Hillary Clinton has never been a natural politician. Most Democrats like her, but they don't love her, and this makes Sanders dangerous. What's more, since Clinton already has a record for blowing a seemingly insurmountable lead to a charismatic opponent, he's doubly dangerous. If Democrats convince themselves that they don't <em>have</em> to vote for Clinton, they just might not. She has lots of baggage, after all.</p> <p>Is this fair? No. It's politics. But Clinton still has more money, more endorsements, more superdelegates, more state operations, and&mdash;let's be fair here&mdash;a pretty long track record as a sincerely liberal Democrat who works hard to implement good policies. Sanders may damage her, but she's almost certain to still win.</p> <p>And that's that. Isn't Twitter great? It's practically like being there. I can almost feel my shoes crunching on the snow drifts.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>This is a good example of a <em>retronym</em>. At first, we just had CDS. But then Hillary ran for president, so we had to make up a new term for insane Bill hatred: bCDS. And that, of course, means we also need hCDS. It's like <em>brick-and-mortar store</em> or <em>manual transmission</em>.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 06 Feb 2016 01:53:41 +0000 Kevin Drum 296091 at http://www.motherjones.com Clinton's Pitch to New Hampshire: Electing a Woman Is the Real Revolution http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/hillary-clinton-women-revolution-sanders <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Hillary Clinton had some company at a rally for campaign volunteers in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Friday afternoon: four Democratic women who serve as US senators, and a fifth, New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, who wants to join them next January. As she makes her final push in a state whose first-in-the-nation primary she won eight years ago, Clinton is traveling with a group of prominent women politicians who are saying explicitly what she dances around&mdash;that electing the first woman president would be a big effing deal, and you should absolutely think about that when you go to the polls.</p> <p>"This is the torch that must be passed on, that you'll be passing on when you're out there door-knocking&mdash;you know how important this historical moment is for us," said Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. She told a story about a photo of her late mother with Clinton that she keeps on her desk, and related an anecdote about a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee on the subject of paid maternity leave. "A male Republican across the table says, 'Well, I don't know why that'd be mandatory, I never had to use it,'" Klobuchar recalled. "Without missing a beat, Sen. Debbie Stabenow said, 'I bet your mother did!'" The audience ate it up.</p> <p>Stabenow, from Michigan, used her five minutes to tear into the sexist standards female candidates are subjected to&mdash;something that flared up recently when the <em>Washington Post</em>'s <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/bob-woodward-hillary-clinton-shouts-article-1.2519021" target="_blank">Bob Woodward</a> (among other male pundits) suggested the former secretary of state shouted too much. Stabenow was blunt:</p> <blockquote> <p>Anyone see the movie <em>Sufragette</em>, yeah? You need to see that if you haven't. We're almost at the 100th anniversary of the women's right to vote. But there's always a message we get about we're too this or too that. Wait your turn. You smile too much, you must not be serious. You don't smile enough, you must not be friendly! You talk too much and you're too serious and you know, I wouldn't want to have a beer with you&mdash;or I would want to have a beer with you but you can't run security for your country. Your hair! You know, that&mdash;Donald Trump's hair! What about <em>that</em> hair! Come on! So let me say this, and I say this particularly to the women. Guys, you can listen, but the women: Don't do this. Don't do this. This is the moment.&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <p>"When folks talk about a rev-o-<em>lu</em>-tion," she said, elongating the final word in a brief Bernie Sanders impression, "the rev-o-<em>lu</em>-tion is electing the first woman president of the United States! <em>That's</em> the revolution. And we're ready for the revolution."</p> <p>The presence of Klobuchar, Stabenow, and Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire had another effect: It reminded voters that, notwithstanding her claim to not be a member of the Democratic establishment, Clinton has the backing of almost all of Sanders' colleagues in the Senate Democratic caucus. And they're not shy about explaining why.</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections hillary clinton Fri, 05 Feb 2016 20:10:17 +0000 Tim Murphy 296026 at http://www.motherjones.com Friday Cat Blogging - 5 February 2016 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/friday-cat-blogging-5-february-2016 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Here are the furballs up on the balcony surveying their domain. All is well in the kingdom&mdash;though Hilbert does appear to be alarmed about something. Probably a patch of light on the opposite wall or something. Hilbert is quite convinced that we humans don't take the threat of light patches seriously enough. Someday, perhaps he'll have the last laugh.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hopper_hilbert_2016_02_05.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 65px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 05 Feb 2016 19:54:38 +0000 Kevin Drum 296051 at http://www.motherjones.com The Bernie vs. Hillary Fight Is Kind of Ridiculous http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/bernie-vs-hillary-fight-kind-ridiculous <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Michigan senator Debbie Stabenow supports Hillary Clinton: "I think Bernie's terrific as an advocate. There's a difference between a strong community advocate and being someone who can get things done." Martin Longman says this is an example of <a href="http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2016_02/the_democratic_camps_are_getti059521.php" target="_blank">how nasty things are getting:</a> "Breaking out the Sarah Palin talking points isn't smart. Talk about how people view socialism all you want, but don't dismiss community organizers or advocates. This isn't a Republican campaign."</p> <p>I had to laugh at that. Nasty? I'd rate it about a 1 on the Atwater Scale. Toughen up, folks.</p> <p>And speaking of this, it sure is hard to take seriously the gripes going back and forth between the Hillary and Bernie camps. Is it really the case that we can't even agree on the following two points?</p> <ul><li>Sanders is more progressive than Clinton.</li> <li>Clinton is more electable than Sanders.</li> </ul><p>I mean, come on. They're both lefties, but Sanders is further left. The opposing arguments from the Clinton camp are laughable. Clinton is more progressive because she can get more done? Sorry. That's ridiculous. She and Bill Clinton have <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_liberal_conservative_gallup.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">always been moderate liberals, both politically and temperamentally. We have over two decades of evidence for this.</p> <p>As for electability, I admire Sanders' argument that he can drive a bigger turnout, which is good for Democrats. But it's special pleading. The guy cops to being a socialist. He's the <a href="http://voteview.com/dwnomin.htm" target="_blank">most liberal member of the Senate</a> by quite a margin (Elizabeth Warren is the only senator who's close). He's already promised to raise middle-class taxes. He can't be bothered to even pretend that he cares about national security issues, which are likely to play a big role in this year's election. He wants to spend vast amounts of money on social programs. It's certainly true that some of this stuff might appeal to people like me, but it's equally true that there just aren't a lot of voters like me. Liberals have been gaining ground over the past few years, but even now <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/180452/liberals-record-trail-conservatives.aspx" target="_blank">only 24 percent of Americans</a> describe themselves that way. Republicans would tear Sanders to shreds with hardly an effort, and there's no reason to think he'd be especially skilled at fending off their attacks.</p> <p>I like both Sanders and Clinton. But let's stop kidding ourselves about what they are and aren't. Republicans won't be be swayed by these fantasies, and neither will voters. We might as well all accept it.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 05 Feb 2016 19:50:12 +0000 Kevin Drum 296046 at http://www.motherjones.com Obamacare Enrollment Up About 15 Percent This Year http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/obamacare-enrollment-about-15-percent-year <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Open enrollment for Obamacare is over, and <a href="http://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2016/02/04/fact-sheet-about-127-million-people-nationwide-are-signed-coverage-during-open-enrollment.html" target="_blank">HHS announced yesterday</a> that 12.7 million people signed up via the exchanges plus another 400,000 via New York's Basic Health Program. So that gives us 13.1 million&mdash;up from 11.4 million last year. And since HHS is getting better at purging nonpayers, this number should hold up better throughout the year than it did in 2015. Charles Gaba has more details <a href="http://acasignups.net/16/02/05/2016-open-enrollment-tally-127m-or-130m-or-134m-depending-pov" target="_blank">here.</a></p> <p>Add to that about 15 million people enrolled in Medicaid thanks to the Obamacare expansion, and the total number of people covered this year comes to 28 million or so. This means Obamacare has reduced the ranks of the <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_uninsured_cdc_cbo_2q_2015_1.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">uninsured <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhis/earlyrelease/Quarterly_estimates_2010_2015_Q12.pdf" target="_blank">from 19 percent to about 10 percent.</a> Not bad.</p> <p>Obamacare's raw enrollment numbers remain lower than CBO projected a few years ago, but that's partly because employer health care has held up better than expected&mdash;which is a good thing. The fewer the people eligible for Obamacare the better. <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/10/closer-look-2016-obamacare-enrollment" target="_blank">More on that here.</a> Generally speaking, despite the best efforts of conservatives to insist that Obamacare is a disastrous failure, the truth is that it's doing pretty well. More people are getting covered; costs are in line with projections; and there's been essentially no effect on employment or hours worked. The only real problem with Obamacare is that it's too stingy: deductibles are too high and out-of-pocket expenses are still substantial. Needless to say, though, that can be easily fixed anytime Republicans decide to stop rooting for failure and agree to make Obamacare an even better program. But I guess we shouldn't hold our collective breath for that.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 05 Feb 2016 18:07:29 +0000 Kevin Drum 296016 at http://www.motherjones.com Obama Wants to Raise Your Gas Prices to Pay for Trains http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2016/02/obama-oil-tax <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In his final State of the Union address last month, President Barack Obama <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/01/read-full-text-obama-state-of-the-union" target="_blank">promised to</a> "change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet." A few days later, he <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/01/obamas-latest-climate-crusade" target="_blank">followed through on the coal aspect of that pledge</a>, with a plan to overhaul how coal mining leases are awarded on federal land. Now, he seems ready to roll out his plan for oil.</p> <p>The president's budget proposal for his last year in office, set to be released next week, will contain a provision to place a new tax on oil, White House aides told reporters. <a href="http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2016/02/obama-oil-tax-budget-000038" target="_blank">According to <em>Politico</em></a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>The president will propose more than $300 billion worth of investments over the next decade in mass transit, high-speed rail, self-driving cars, and other transportation approaches designed to reduce carbon emissions and congestion. To pay for it all, Obama will call for a $10 "fee" on every barrel of oil, a surcharge that would be paid by oil companies but would presumably be passed along to consumers&hellip;The fee could add as much as 25 cents a gallon to the cost of gasoline.</p> </blockquote> <p>The proposal stands virtually no chance of being adopted by Congress. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the renowned climate change denier who also chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-02-04/obama-to-request-10-per-barrel-oil-tax-for-transportation-needs" target="_blank">said</a> in a statement, "I'm unsure why the president bothers to continue to send a budget to Congress. His proposals are not serious, and this is another one which is dead on arrival."</p> <p>Still, the idea may be helped a little by the sustained drop in oil prices, driven by a glut of supply from the Middle East and record production in the United States. Gas is already selling for less than $2 per gallon <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2016/02/04/gas-prices-are-plunging-so-why-is-everyone-freaking-out/" target="_blank">in all but 11 states</a>, the lowest price point since 2009. Raising that cost would also be <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/01/oil-prices-renewables-electric-vehicles" target="_blank">a boon for electric vehicle sales</a>, which have stagnated because of low gas prices as sales of gas guzzlers have climbed.</p> <p>Obama's prospective Democratic successors, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, haven't weighed in on this proposal yet, although they have both been broadly supportive of his climate change agenda. But the proposal could prove to be awkward for Clinton, who has <a href="http://time.com/4176273/hillary-clinton-tax-super-wealthy/" target="_blank">promised not to raise taxes</a> on families making less than $250,000 a year.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Climate Change Climate Desk Energy Obama Fri, 05 Feb 2016 18:02:19 +0000 Tim McDonnell 296006 at http://www.motherjones.com Ted Cruz Uses Rush Limbaugh in Radio Ad to Take Down Marco Rubio http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/ted-cruz-radio-ad-slams-rubio-rush-limbaugh <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Ted Cruz is hoping Rush Limbaugh can push him over the top in next Tuesday's New Hampshire Republican primary. Here's a spot that the senator from Texas is running on a Boston sports radio station, using the conservative yakker's words to brand Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who holds a slight edge in the race for second place, as a pro-amnesty hypocrite:</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Rush Limbaugh:</strong> "If you're looking for the Republican candidate who is the most steadfastly opposed to liberalism, whose agenda is oriented toward stopping it and thwarting it and defeating it, it's Ted Cruz."</p> <p><strong>Narrator:</strong> "Rush is right. It's Ted Cruz who's led our fights in Washington. To secure our border. To stop taxpayer-funded benefits for illegal immigrants. And it was Cruz who stood up for us against the Washington establishment. When the Gang of Eight proposed amnesty for 11 million illegal immigrants, it was wrong. Ted Cruz fought them. But what about Marco Rubio? When Rubio ran for Senate, he made this pledge:</p> <p><strong>Marco Rubio:</strong> "I will never support it, never have and never will support any effort to grant blanket legalization amnesty."</p> <p><strong>Rush Limbaugh:</strong> "That's what he said. It's not what he did. It was Marco Rubio that was a member of the Gang of Eight, and Ted Cruz that wasn't."</p> <p><strong>Narrator:</strong> Ted Cruz, the only one we can trust."</p> </blockquote> <p>The ad is not an endorsement from Limbaugh, who made the comments on his radio show. Limbaugh isn't quite the voice of God, but in a tight Republican primary, he might be the next best thing. Cruz is talking about immigration every chance he can get in the Granite State&mdash;<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/02/ted-cruz-heroin-epedemic-new-hampshire-undocumented-democrats" target="_blank">even when he's supposed to be talking about heroin</a>&mdash;as he tries to catch up to Donald Trump and keep his rival from Florida at bay.</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Ted Cruz Fri, 05 Feb 2016 16:46:00 +0000 Tim Murphy 296001 at http://www.motherjones.com Here's How Morality Shapes the Presidential Contest http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/heres-how-morality-shapes-presidential-contest <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A few years ago Jonathan Haidt wrote <em>The Righteous Mind</em>, an attempt to understand the way different people view morality. I won't say that I bought his premise completely, but I did find it interesting and useful. In a nutshell, Haidt suggests that we all view morality through the lens of six different "foundations"&mdash;and the amount we value each foundation is crucial to understanding our political differences. Conservatives, for example, tend to view "proportionality"&mdash;an eye for an eye&mdash;as a key moral concern, while liberals <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_candidates_moral_foundations.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">tend to view "care/harm"&mdash;showing kindness to other people&mdash;as a key moral attribute. You can read more about it <a href="http://moralfoundations.org/" target="_blank">here.</a></p> <p>So which presidential candidates appeal to which kinds of people? <a href="http://www.vox.com/2016/2/5/10918164/donald-trump-morality" target="_blank">Over at Vox,</a> Haidt and Emily Ekins write about some recent research Ekins did on supporters of various presidential candidates. I've condensed and excerpted the results in the chart on the right. As you can see, Democrats tend to value care but not proportionality. Republicans are just the opposite. No surprise there. But were there any moral values that were unusually strong for different candidates <em>even after controlling for ideology and demographics?</em></p> <p>Yes. Sanders supporters scored extremely low on the authority axis while Trump supporters scored high on authority and low on the care axis. Outside of the usual finding for proportionality, that's it. Hillary Clinton supporters, in particular, were entirely middle-of-the-road: "Moral Foundations do not significantly predict a vote for Hillary Clinton; demographic variables seem to be all you need to predict her support (being female, nonwhite, and higher-income are all good predictors)."</p> <p>So there you have it. Generally speaking, if you value proportionality but not care, you're a Republican. If you value care but not proportionality, you're a Democrat. Beyond that, if your world view values authority&mdash;even compared to others who are similar to you&mdash;you're probably attracted to Donald Trump. If you're unusually resistant to authority, you're probably attracted to Bernie Sanders. The authors summarize the presidential race this way:</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Bernie Sanders draws young liberal voters who have a strong desire for individual autonomy</strong> and place less value on social conformity and tradition. This likely leads them to appreciate Sanders's libertarian streak and non-interventionist foreign policy. Once again, Hillary Clinton finds herself attracting more conservative Democratic voters who respect her tougher style, moderated positions, and more hawkish stance on foreign policy.</p> <p>....On the Republican side...despite Trump's longevity in the polls, authoritarianism is clearly not the only dynamic going on in the Republican race. In fact, the greatest differences by far in the simple foundation scores are on proportionality. <strong>Cruz and Rubio draw the extreme proportionalists &mdash; the Republicans who think it's important to "let unsuccessful people fail and suffer the consequences,"</strong> as one of our questions put it.</p> <p>....One surprise in our data was that <strong>Trump supporters were not extreme on any of the foundations.</strong> This means that Trump supporters are more centrist than is commonly realized; consequently, Trump's prospects in the general election may be better than many pundits have thought. Cruz meanwhile, with a further-right moral profile, may have more difficulty attracting centrist Democrats and independents than would Trump.</p> </blockquote> <p>So which moral foundations define you? If you're curious, <a href="http://moralfoundations.org/questionnaires" target="_blank">click here and take the test.</a></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 05 Feb 2016 16:10:56 +0000 Kevin Drum 295996 at http://www.motherjones.com Chart of the Day: Net New Jobs in January http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/chart-day-net-new-jobs-january <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The American economy <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm" target="_blank">added 151,000 new jobs last month,</a> 90,000 of which were needed to keep up with population growth. This means that net job growth clocked in at a ho-hum 61,000 jobs&mdash;all of it in the private sector. The headline unemployment rate ticked down to 4.9 percent. This is not a great result, but all the trends were in the right direction. Labor force participation was up, the number of employed workers was up, and the number of unemployed people declined.</p> <p>Surprisingly, this produced decent wage growth: both hourly and weekly earnings of production and nonsupervisory employees went up at an annual rate of about 3.5 percent. That's not bad.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_net_jobs_january_2016.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 25px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 05 Feb 2016 15:17:01 +0000 Kevin Drum 295991 at http://www.motherjones.com