Blogs | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/Blogs/2011/04/koran-scholar-chuck-norris-warns-against-cre http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en A New Poll Has Good News for Pro-Choicers http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/05/pro-choice-pro-life-abortion-gallup <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>After seven years on the outs, choice is back. For the first time since 2008, significantly more Americans identify as pro-choice (50 percent) than pro-life (44 percent), according to a <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/183434/americans-choose-pro-choice-first-time-seven-years.aspx" target="_blank">Gallup poll</a> released Friday.</p> <p>"This is the first time since 2008 that the pro-choice position has had a statistically significant lead in Americans' abortion views," the survey notes. In the intervening years, Americans were split fairly evenly on the issue of abortion&mdash;except in 2012, when pro-life sentiment outpaced pro-choice views 50 percent to 41 percent.</p> <p>The poll found that in the past three years, women have become more pro-choice (54 percent) than men (46 percent). Since 2012, Democrats, Republicans and independents have all become increasingly pro-choice. But Democrats show the biggest long-term jump in pro-choice views, from 55 percent in 2001 to 68 percent today. By contrast, 30 percent of Republicans were pro-choice in 2001 and 31 percent identify as pro-choice today&mdash;a statistically insignificant change.</p> <p>The years since the last pro-choice peak in 2008 have been rough for abortion rights advocates. Republican legislatures across the country have sought to roll back access to abortions&mdash;banning the procedure after 20 weeks (and even earlier in some cases), requiring additional doctor visits and ultrasounds, and placing onerous regulations on clinics that forced many to shut their doors. Gallup didn't touch on these issues, simply noting that "the momentum for the pro-life position that began when Barack Obama took office has yielded to a pro-choice rebound."</p> <p>Gallup raised the possibility that abortion views are riding on the coattails of a "broader liberal shift in Americans' ideology of late" that "could mean the recent pro-choice expansion has some staying power."</p></body></html> MoJo Reproductive Rights Fri, 29 May 2015 17:07:48 +0000 Pema Levy 276246 at http://www.motherjones.com If You Want to Be Part of the Top 1 Percent, You'd Better Be Working For a Top 1 Percent Firm http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/if-you-want-be-part-top-1-youd-better-be-working-top-1-firm <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>What has caused the explosive growth of income inequality over the past three decades? Is it the fact the CEO pay has skyrocketed, leaving everyone else behind? Maybe. <a href="http://www.nber.org/papers/w21199.pdf" target="_blank">But according to a new paper,</a> that's not quite the right story.</p> <p>Basically a group of researchers at NBER have concluded that inequality <em>between firms</em> has skyrocketed, and employees of those firms all go along for the ride. A small number of "super firms" have become enormously successful, and within these super firms inequality between the CEO and the worker bees hasn't changed much at all. They pay <em>all</em> their employees more than the average firm, from the CEO down.</p> <p>The chart on the right tells the story. Ignore the green line for the moment and just look at the blue and red lines. The red line shows that the top tenth of firms have far outperformed everyone else. The blue line shows <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_firm_individual_income_inequality.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">that workers follow the same pattern. The ones who work for the top firms get paid a lot more than the folks who work for average firms.</p> <p>As it turns out, some industries have more super firms than others and thus contribute more to growing income inequality. The FIRE sector&mdash;Finance, Insurance, Real Estate&mdash;is the most obvious example. Both firm revenue and individual compensation has gone up far more than in any sector. But other sectors have their superstars too, and individuals at those firms get paid a lot more than a similar worker at a firm that's not doing so well.</p> <p>So in addition to talking about the top 1% of individuals, we should be talking about the top 1% of firms. But what does that mean? Things get a little hazy at this point:</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Instead of top incomes rising within firms, top-paying firms are now paying even higher wages.</strong> This may tend to make inequality more invisible, as individuals do not see rising inequality among their peers. More research needs to be done to understand why inequality between firms has increased so much more than inequality within them. <strong>But this fact of stable inequality within firms should inform our understanding of the great increase in inequality within the United States over the last three decades.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/05/29/economists-have-figured-out-whos-really-to-blame-for-inequality/" target="_blank">Matt O'Brien suggests</a> that this means nearly every industry is now part of the winner-take-all economy. In the same way that modern technology allows a tiny subset of superstar singers or actors to earn huge audiences (and huge paychecks), perhaps it also enables modern firms to do the same. And it could be self-reinforcing. The super firms can afford to hire the best workers, and that in turn drives even more unequal growth.</p> <p>In any case, if the authors are right, it matters a lot which firm you work for. If you pick the right one, you might ride the income inequality gravy train right to the top. In not, you probably won't.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 29 May 2015 15:53:59 +0000 Kevin Drum 276241 at http://www.motherjones.com US Officially Removes Cuba From List of State Sponsors of Terrorism http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/05/us-officially-removes-cuba-list-state-sponsors-terrorism <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Friday, the State Department <a href="http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2015/05/242986.htm" target="_blank">announced</a> the decision to drop Cuba from a list of states sponsoring terrorism. The official press release:</p> <blockquote> <p>In December 2014, the President instructed the Secretary of State to immediately launch a review of Cuba&rsquo;s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, and provide a report to him within six months regarding Cuba's support for international terrorism. On April 8, 2015, the Secretary of State completed that review and recommended to the President that Cuba no longer be designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.</p> <p>Accordingly, on April 14, the President submitted to Congress the statutorily required report indicating the Administration&rsquo;s intent to rescind Cuba&rsquo;s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation, including the certification that Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism during the previous six-months; and that Cuba has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future. The 45-day Congressional pre-notification period has expired, and the Secretary of State has made the final decision to rescind Cuba&rsquo;s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, effective today, May 29, 2015.</p> <p>The rescission of Cuba&rsquo;s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism reflects our assessment that Cuba meets the statutory criteria for rescission. While the United States has significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba&rsquo;s policies and actions, these fall outside the criteria relevant to the rescission of a State Sponsor of Terrorism designation</p> </blockquote> <p>The decision is a major step toward normalizing diplomatic relations with Havana. Among other activities, Friday's announcement will allow Cuba to do <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-32926821" target="_blank">banking</a> in the United States. However, the move does not lift the <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-29/u-s-takes-cuba-off-terror-list-paving-the-way-for-normal-ties" target="_blank">trade embargo,</a> which requires congressional approval.&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo International Fri, 29 May 2015 15:45:55 +0000 Inae Oh 276231 at http://www.motherjones.com Economy Shrinks in Q1; Annual Growth Still Stuck in the Doldrums http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/economy-shrinks-q1-annual-growth-still-stuck-doldrums <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Today brings disappointing economic news. The economy didn't just grow slowly in the first quarter, it actually shrunk by 0.7 percent. As usual, winter weather is getting part of the blame, and some economists are going even further, wondering if we need to step back and take a look at the formula for seasonal adjustments. Perhaps, for some reason, the formula is no longer reflecting reality during the winter quarter.</p> <p>Maybe. But what this shows is that although the US economy continues to putter along in decent shape, it still hasn't reached takeoff velocity. The economy has been growing at a rate of 2-3 percent per year for the past five years, and there's little evidence this is going to change anytime soon.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_gdp_2015_q1.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 15px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 29 May 2015 14:29:41 +0000 Kevin Drum 276221 at http://www.motherjones.com This Girl's Yearbook Quote Has the Most Amazing Feminist Message http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/05/yearbook-quote <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Before leaving high school, Caitlyn Cannon, a 17-year-old who just graduated from Oak Hills High School in California, gifted her senior class with an amazing yearbook quote that nails feminism and sticks up for LGBT rights&mdash;all in just one line:</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">this is all I honestly care about right now <a href="http://t.co/5J0YauhezN">pic.twitter.com/5J0YauhezN</a></p> &mdash; lil snowball (@casualnosebleed) <a href="https://twitter.com/casualnosebleed/status/603085032744493056">May 26, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>Her powerful message has since gone viral. Cannon, who describes herself as both "feminist" and "really gay" on <a href="https://twitter.com/C_to_the_Cizzle" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, told the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/27/caitlyn-cannon-feminist-yearbook-quote_n_7453754.html" target="_blank"><em>Huffington Post</em></a>, "I was tired of seeing the same old quotes from popular books and movies and authors, and I wanted to call attention to a problem that women face. I've never really been ashamed to say that I am gay, so the LGBT aspect was simply who I am."</p> <p>The future is looking so bright.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Gay Rights Sex and Gender Fri, 29 May 2015 13:14:23 +0000 Inae Oh 276216 at http://www.motherjones.com Havana Nights, Indoors http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/havana-nights-indoors <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><em>Friend of the blog Jay Jaroch recently spent some time in Cuba. Here's the third of three posts about what he observed while he was there.</em></p> <hr width="20%"><p>One of the nice things about getting out of LA is taking a break from listening to your friends talk about all the television shows they <em>can&rsquo;t believe you&rsquo;re not watching.</em> I&rsquo;m not sure I&rsquo;ll be accepted back at work until I&rsquo;ve turned in my term paper on the Mad Men finale. In terms of getting a reprieve, I figured Cuba was as good a place as any.</p> <p>Little did I know that many Cubans are binge watching the same shows we are.</p> <p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_tv.jpg" style="margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">&ldquo;I watched all seasons of Dexter,&rdquo; one Havana man told a wide-eyed me. &ldquo;Now I&rsquo;m watching The Following. You like The Following?&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Which one is that?&rdquo; I asked.</p> <p>&ldquo;With Kevin Bacon.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Oh, right.&rdquo;</p> <p>Homeland, Game of Thrones, Orange Is the New Black&mdash;you name it. They may be a few episodes behind your friends in the states, but not by much. In a country where cable and satellite dishes are banned, and internet service is mostly confined to hotels and about as functional as the dial-up days, Cubans get their favorite shows via something called &ldquo;the package.&rdquo; Basically, it&rsquo;s a cross between Netflix and a drug deal&mdash;for a small fee and a handshake, someone will hook you up with a flash drive full of Hollywood.</p> <p>&ldquo;You order what you want to see, which season, and a few days later you get the package,&rdquo; a guide in Havana explained to me. &ldquo;With Spanish subtitles. A good way to learn English.&rdquo;</p> <p>It was technically illegal, but also ubiquitous. And apparently Raul&rsquo;s government doesn&rsquo;t care.</p> <p>&ldquo;As long as you are not bringing in pornography, they don&rsquo;t bother you,&rdquo; the guide said.</p> <p>(Cuba takes their anti-pornography laws seriously. My surly immigration official asked me only two questions: had I been to any Ebola affected areas, and was I bringing in pornography? One got the sense that you could have just about anything in your bag so long as it wasn&rsquo;t an old copy of <em>Swank</em>.)</p> <p>Another option in Havana was to watch TV in one of the better hotels, some of which were equipped with cable for their international clientele. One man I met seemed to be more up on American television than I was, and I work in <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_us_interest_section_havana.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">television. I almost wanted to say &ldquo;Clear eyes, full hearts!&rdquo; just to see if he&rsquo;d yell, &ldquo;Can&rsquo;t lose!&rdquo; back at me.</p> <p>Don&rsquo;t worry. I didn&rsquo;t.</p> <p>This is new territory, and not for Hollywood&mdash;we&rsquo;re used to having our product stolen and distributed on foreign streets. As recently as a few years ago, getting any sort of American dispatch, much less television, would have been impossible in Cuba. In 2006, at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana (what passes for our embassy) we began broadcasting news and pro-American messages from an electronic ticker we&rsquo;d installed at the top of the building. In response, Castro&rsquo;s government erected 140 flagpoles in front of the ticker so Cubans couldn&rsquo;t see the messages. Now, in 2015, Cubans are freely downloading American Idol, or any of our wonderful shows about pawn shops.</p> <p>Change is afoot, and there&rsquo;s certainly more to come. As I sat waiting for my flight out of Jos&eacute; Mart&iacute; Airport, half of the lights in the terminal flickered, and then went out. None of the electronic screens worked, and there was little evidence that they ever had. An announcement came over the loudspeaker telling us that the air conditioning was also out, and that they were working on it. No one seemed surprised at any of this. We all just continued fanning ourselves with our boarding passes.</p> <p>As my Cubana plane finally arrived at the gate, I noticed an American Airlines plane was landing on the runway. It seemed appropriate. In Cuba, nobody knows what kind of change is on its way. But everyone knows that it&rsquo;s coming.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 29 May 2015 13:00:11 +0000 Kevin Drum 276206 at http://www.motherjones.com Watch Sepp Blatter Lash Out Against FIFA's Critics in 2013 http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/05/watch-sepp-blatter-lash-out-against-fifas-critics-2013 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/iInTdexhnbw" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>In October 2013, at the Oxford Union, FIFA president Sepp Blatter took aim at critics who viewed soccer's international governing body as "a faceless machine printing money at the expense of the beautiful game." (He also <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/football/2013/oct/29/real-madrid-sepp-blatter-cristiano-ronaldo-hairdresser" target="_blank">mocked Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo</a> for how much <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/football/2013/oct/29/real-madrid-sepp-blatter-cristiano-ronaldo-hairdresser" target="_blank">he spends on his hair</a>.) Blatter <a href="http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/president/02/20/54/90/25_10_2013_pdt_speech_oxford_neutral.pdf" target="_blank">told the crowd</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>There are those who will tell you that football is just a heartless, money-spinning game or just a pointless kick about on the grass. There are those who will tell you that FIFA is just a conspiracy, a scam, accountable to nobody and too powerful for anyone to resist. There are those who will tell you of the supposed sordid secrets that lie deep in our Bond villain headquarters in the hills above Zurich, where we apparently plot to exploit the unfortunate and the weak. They would have you believe that I sit in my office with a sinister grin, gently stroking the chin of an expensive, white Persian cat as my terrible sidekicks scour the earth to force countries to host the World Cup and to hand over all of their money. You might laugh. It is strange how fantasy so easily becomes confused with fact. And it feels almost absurd to have to say this. But that is not who we are. Not FIFA. Not me.</p> </blockquote> <p>(You can watch the whole speech below&mdash;It's very long! He talks very slowly!&mdash;but the key bits are in the video up top.)&nbsp;</p> <p>These words resonate now, as Blatter <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/media/2015/05/fifa-corruption-sepp-blatter-historian" target="_blank">sets his sights on a fifth term</a> at&nbsp;the head of the organization amid pressure and criticism following a series of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/27/sports/soccer/fifa-officials-face-corruption-charges-in-us.html" target="_blank">corruption-related charges</a> on senior FIFA officials that have roiled the sport.</p> <p>But remember that "Bond villain headquarters in the hills above Zurich" Blatter was talking about? Well, Swiss photographer Luca Zanier snapped a photo of FIFA executive committee's boardroom in Zurich, and it <a href="http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/soccer-dirty-tackle/fifa-s-executive-boardroom-looks-exactly-as-menacing-as-you-would-expect-190204422.html" target="_blank">looks villain-esque</a>. John Oliver even <a href="https://youtu.be/DlJEt2KU33I?t=7m17s" target="_blank">likened it</a> to the war room in Dr. Strangelove.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">FIFA's executive boardroom looks like a James Bond Super villain's lair. <a href="http://t.co/7IVn92ie3C">pic.twitter.com/7IVn92ie3C</a></p> &mdash; Gautam Trivedi (@Gotham3) <a href="https://twitter.com/Gotham3/status/581033290674479105">March 26, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Here is Blatter's full speech, courtesy of the Oxford Union:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7QWAxbkTzsg" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> Mixed Media International Sports Fri, 29 May 2015 01:54:35 +0000 Edwin Rios 276211 at http://www.motherjones.com Health Update http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/health-update-1 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I spent all morning up at City of Hope for a follow-up appointment with my transplant doctor. My counts all look good. My white blood count is 5500 and my ANC count is at 2800. Both are right in the middle of the normal range, which means my immune system is rebounding as expected. That's very encouraging.</p> <p>On the actual cancer front, the lab results are frustratingly hazy. The key thing my doctor wants to see is a big drop in my M protein level. Today I got the results from two weeks ago (it takes a while for the lab to do this particular test), and my M protein level had dropped from 1.0 to 0.38. The good news is that this means I responded to the chemotherapy. The hazier news is that it hasn't dropped to zero, as we'd like it to. I won't have the results of today's test until next week, but hopefully it will show a drop that gets me close to zero. Following that, around the end of June, I'll have a biopsy that will provide firm results on how well I responded to the chemo.</p> <p>So....we wait. I'm not super thrilled with the 0.38 number, but my doctor assures me that this might represent nothing more than old cells lying around that haven't quite died off yet. We'll see.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 28 May 2015 22:53:41 +0000 Kevin Drum 276196 at http://www.motherjones.com Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" Music Video Set to the DuckTales Theme Song Is Amazing http://www.motherjones.com/contributor/2015/05/beyonc%C3%A9-ducktales <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>This is so perfect. I love it so much. I love Beyonc&eacute; and I love the <em>DuckTales</em> and I love whoever made this video and I love America and I love the internet and I love George Washington for founding this wonderful country.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/O_2pKNWthJ4" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> Contributor Thu, 28 May 2015 22:42:03 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 276191 at http://www.motherjones.com Editor of Leading Conservative Magazine Declares That "Some Black Lives Don't Matter" to Activists http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/05/rich-lowry-someblacklivesdontmatter <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Rich Lowry, editor of <em>National Review</em><em> </em>magazine, has a plan for restoring stability to America's currently troubled inner cities: Arrest and imprison more black people. It's basically a long-running conservative argument, but can we get real for a minute about how he's making it?</p> <p>Here's the profoundly cynical and callous way that he's decided to tweak some social media language to argue <a href="http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/05/ferguson-freddie-gray-policing-118348.html#ixzz3bSA8v1K9" target="_blank">in <em>Politico</em></a> that the #BlackLivesMatter movement is "a lie." Its supporters, he suggests, are opportunistically anti-police and don't otherwise care about inner city deaths that don't make national news:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Lowry_Screen_new.jpg"></div> <p>That high-octane <a href="http://twitter.com/RichLowry/status/603907770996363264" target="_blank">trolling</a> is accompanied by an equally cynical take on the underlying problem. Baltimore reportedly saw an uptick in murders in recent weeks, which Lowry blames on police "shrinking from doing their job" in the wake of upheaval over <a href="http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/know-freddie-grays-death/" target="_blank">Freddie Gray's death</a> in police custody. The city's "dangerous, overwhelmingly black neighborhoods," he writes, "need disproportionate police attention, even if that attention is easily mischaracterized as racism. The alternative is a deadly chaos that destroys and blights the lives of poor blacks."</p> <p>Never mind that a rising awareness of policing problems in America may also have something to do with acute underlying socioeconomic ills, which, you know, destroy and blight the lives of poor blacks.</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/LowryNRO_0.jpg"><div class="caption"> <p><strong>Rich Lowry. </strong><em><a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/author/rich-lowry" target="_blank">National Review Online</a></em></p> </div> </div> <p>Lowry's theme ignores the reality of what many Americans have found so outrageous about the cases that have drawn national media attention. Say, the fact that the white cop who instantly shot a 12-year-old black kid and then watched him bleed out on the pavement without providing any first aid <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/05/tamir-rice-investigation-cleveland-police" target="_blank">still hasn't been questioned by investigators six months after the killing</a>. Or the fact that a black woman whose family called 911 in need of mental health assistance for her <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/05/tanisha-anderson-killing-cleveland-police" target="_blank">ended up dead from police use of force less than two hours later</a>.</p> <p>Perhaps Lowry should spend a little time watching <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/05/police-shootings-caught-on-tape-video" target="_blank">these 13 videos from the past year</a> that show mostly white cops killing mostly black men who were mostly unarmed. They are a kind of vivid, disturbing evidence that may well bring some different hashtags to mind.</p></body></html> MoJo Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity Top Stories Thu, 28 May 2015 20:45:05 +0000 Mark Follman 276146 at http://www.motherjones.com The Artist Behind the "Hope" Poster Is Mad At Obama http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/05/shepard-fairey-obama-hope <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Shepard Fairey's hopes are dashed.</p> <p>Fairey, the artist who created the iconic "Hope" poster during Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, says in a new interview that he is disappointed by Obama's performance as president.</p> <p>While discussing his new web series "Rebel Music" with <em><a href="http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/interviews/a35288/shepard-fairey-street-art-obama-hope-poster/" target="_blank">Esquire</a>,</em>&nbsp;Fairey was asked if Obama had lived up to the poster's expectations. He answered, "Not even close." Fairey explained:&nbsp;</p> <blockquote> <p>Obama has had a really tough time, but there have been a lot of things that he's compromised on that I never would have expected. I mean, drones and domestic spying are the last things I would have thought [he'd support]. I've met Obama a few times, and I think Obama's a quality human being, but I think that he finds himself in a position where your actions are largely dictated by things out of your control.</p> </blockquote> <p>Don't expect him to look to <a href="http://www.ap.org/Content/AP-In-The-News/2012/Obama-HOPE-poster-artist-Shepard-Fairey-gets-probation" target="_blank"><em>copyrighted Associated Press</em> photos</a> to create an image for Hillary, either.&nbsp;A jaded Fairey says that while he agrees with her on most issues, the "campaign finance structure makes [him] very angry."&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>And with this, the street artist may have provided the Republicans with the perfect tagline come 2016: Democrats, a hope deferred!</p></body></html> Mixed Media Obama Thu, 28 May 2015 20:07:26 +0000 Inae Oh 276151 at http://www.motherjones.com Americans Now Approve of Suicide, But Only With a Doctor's Note http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/americans-now-approve-suicide-only-doctors-note <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><a href="http://www.vox.com/2015/5/28/8673403/social-issues-poll" target="_blank">Via Matt Yglesias,</a> here's an interesting Gallup poll measuring American attitudes toward a variety of social behaviors. Unsurprisingly, there's been a general shift leftward. Support is higher than it was 2001 for gay relations, sex between unmarried partners, medical research on human embryos, etc. <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/183413/americans-continue-shift-left-key-moral-issues.aspx" target="_blank">Here's the full table,</a> with the result I found oddest highlighted in red:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_suicide.jpg" style="margin: 15px 0px 15px 50px;"></p> <p>Note that the moral acceptability of suicide has gone up slightly, but it's still very low. Less than one-fifth of the country approves of it. But <em>doctor-assisted</em> suicide is a whole different story. More than half of all Americans approve of it.</p> <p>I'm not quite sure what this means. Does approval by a guy in a white coat really mean that much to most Americans? Is there an assumption that "doctor-assisted" means that everything possible has been done to talk the patient out of suicide? Or is there an assumption that doctor-assisted suicide is always for people with end-stage diseases that leave them in constant pain?</p> <p>I'm not sure. In any case, it's also worth noting that public opinion has barely budged on several hot button issues. In particular, support for abortion, cloning, marital affairs, and the death penalty remains virtually unchanged over the past 15 years.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 28 May 2015 14:59:28 +0000 Kevin Drum 276131 at http://www.motherjones.com Jon Stewart Blasts 24 Years of FIFA Corruption that "Started a Jennifer Lawrence Ago" http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/05/jon-stewart-fifa <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>"For years, and I say this with all due respect, American soccer fans have stood by while the media obsesses over other sports crimes and scandals," Jon Stewart <a href="http://thedailyshow.cc.com/full-episodes/j17rjd/may-27--2015---rosabeth-moss-kanter" target="_blank">said on</a> "The Daily Show" Wednesday. "Well now finally, soccer is getting its perp walk."</p> <p>Stewart was, of course, addressing this week's stunning FIFA indictments that have sent shockwaves within the international sports community over allegations of routine corruption and kickbacks by FIFA's top officials.</p> <p>"FIFA is so bad they got arrested by the SWISS, a country whose official policy on Nazi gold was 'We'll allow it,'" he explained.</p> <p>But such allegations are far from new. Stewart went on to question why investigators took 24 years&mdash;or as he put it into perspective a, "Jennifer Lawrence ago"&mdash;to finally crack down on officials.</p> <p>As for big banks long dogged by corruption allegations, Stewart says we may have to wait another 24 years for the Justice Department to start doing something&mdash;anything!&mdash;to punish shady bankers.</p> <p><strong>Watch below:</strong></p> <div style="width: 640px; background-color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">&nbsp;</div> <div style="background-color:#000000;width:640px;"> <div style="padding:4px;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="354" src="http://media.mtvnservices.com/embed/mgid:arc:video:thedailyshow.com:6c9cc17b-d4fc-4aaa-9b1c-2bc663e8c722" width="630"></iframe></div> </div></body></html> Mixed Media International Media Sports Thu, 28 May 2015 13:34:27 +0000 Inae Oh 276121 at http://www.motherjones.com Cubans Really Don't Like Marco Rubio http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/cubans-really-dont-marco-rubio <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><em>Friend of the blog Jay Jaroch recently spent some time in Cuba. Here's the second of three posts about what he observed while he was there.</em></p> <hr width="20%"><p>For obvious reasons, it can be difficult to get a Cuban to open up about their political views. It usually took some time to establish trust, and a certain amount of privacy. Sharing a few rum drinks didn&rsquo;t seem to hurt either.</p> <p>But they often did open up, especially when I offered to answer any questions they had for me. And the one question virtually everyone had was this: is Hillary Clinton going to be the next president? When I&rsquo;d tell them I gave her a 75%-80% chance of winning based on demographic trends alone, they&rsquo;d exhale. It wasn&rsquo;t because they had any particular love for <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_marco_rubio.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">Hillary Clinton. It&rsquo;s that they expected that she would continue Obama&rsquo;s Cuba policies, whereas a Republican president would reinstate the full embargo. So, viva Hillary.</p> <p>The more interesting thing, to me, was that they saved a particular brand of venom for Marco Rubio. Cab drivers, bartenders, artists&mdash;everyone seem to have something to say about Marco Rubio, and none of it was kind. A few suggested that as a Cuban-American Rubio should display some concern for economic struggles of every day Cubans, or to at least recognize that he was afforded an opportunity that millions of poorer Cubans never had, namely having parents who moved to the United States before Castro took over. (Or as Rubio used to tell it, barely escaping the revolution while Castro personally shot at their raft.) The fact that he was pledging to double down on the embargo was a pledge to make their lives worse, to deny them the new hope they&rsquo;ve been given these last few years, all to suck up to the aging exile community in Florida.</p> <p>Yes, I found something Cubans don&rsquo;t like about America&mdash;it&rsquo;s where Marco Rubio lives.</p> <p>President Obama, on the other hand, received a fair amount of praise. According to a recent Gallup survey, Obama enjoys a 80% approval rating among Cubans. And it was pretty obvious why. &ldquo;I loved Obama when he was elected,&rdquo; one man in Havana told me. &ldquo;Then I hated him when he turned out to be like every other president. But now, I like him again.&rdquo;</p> <p>Not surprisingly, when it came to their view of American politics and politicians, the embargo was a bit of a litmus test. Opinions on our Cuba policy ranged from anger to bewilderment. One man in Cienfuegos asked me, &ldquo;Why do you bother? You have all the money. We are a poor island. Only 11 million people. Why do you care?&rdquo;</p> <p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_rincon_cretinos.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Another made a smart point. &ldquo;Our government blames all our problems on you. If you don&rsquo;t have the embargo, then who can they blame?&rdquo;</p> <p>A visit to the Museo de la Revoluci&oacute;n in Havana drove the man&rsquo;s point home. Before you even exit the lobby you come to the Rincon de los Cretinos, or &ldquo;The Corner of the Pricks.&rdquo; Four panels featuring cartoon versions of Fulgencio Batista, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush, each with a note of thanks translated into three languages.</p> <p>On George W. Bush&rsquo;s panel the note read, &ldquo;Thank you cretin for helping us MAKE SOCIALISM IRREVOCABLE!&rdquo;</p> <p>Socialism was misspelled.</p> <p><strong>Next: How Cubans binge-watch American television.</strong></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 28 May 2015 13:00:07 +0000 Kevin Drum 276116 at http://www.motherjones.com This Chart Shows the Staggering Human Cost of Staging a World Cup in Qatar http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/05/chart-fifa-deaths-qatar-move-it-to-the-united-states <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Wednesday, the US Department of Justice <a href="http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/nine-fifa-officials-and-five-corporate-executives-indicted-racketeering-conspiracy-and" target="_blank">dropped the hammer</a> on FIFA, the world governing body of soccer, indicting nine senior FIFA officials and five sports marketing execs on charges of corruption, wire fraud, racketeering, and money laundering.</p> <p><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/football/2011/may/10/millions-bribes-qatar-2022-world-cup-claims" target="_blank">Allegations of bribery</a> have long plagued FIFA, especially since its controversial decision to grant Qatar the 2022 World Cup. But much worse is the plight of South Asian migrant workers brought in to build the stadium infrastructure there:&nbsp;Since 2010, more than 1,200 migrant workers have died in Qatar under hazardous working conditions, and a 2013 <em>Guardian</em> investigation <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/sep/26/qatar-world-cup-migrant-workers-dead" target="_blank">found</a> that at least 4,000 total are projected to die before the 2022 World Cup even starts. And as we reported yesterday, Nepali workers <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/05/world-cup-qatar-nepal-earthquake-soccer" target="_blank">weren't even allowed </a>to return home after the country's recent devastating earthquake.</p> <p><a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/05/27/a-body-count-in-qatar-illustrates-the-consequences-of-fifa-corruption/" target="_blank">Christopher </a><a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/05/27/a-body-count-in-qatar-illustrates-the-consequences-of-fifa-corruption/" target="_blank">Ingraham</a> at the <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/05/27/a-body-count-in-qatar-illustrates-the-consequences-of-fifa-corruption/" target="_blank"><em>Washington Post</em></a> put that toll in perspective in a striking infographic. He compared the number of workers who died in the run-up to several Olympics and World Cups with the number of those who have died in Qatar so far. It's horrifying:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Toll-Of-FIFA%27s-Corruption.jpg"><div class="caption">Christopher Ingraham/<em>Washington Post</em></div> </div></body></html> Mixed Media Charts Human Rights International Sports Wed, 27 May 2015 23:17:42 +0000 Edwin Rios 276091 at http://www.motherjones.com Nebraska Becomes First Conservative State in 40 Years to Repeal the Death Penalty http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/05/nebraska-repeals-death-penalty-thanks-conservatives <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Nebraska legislators on Wednesday overrode the Republican governor's veto to repeal the state's death penalty, a major victory for a small but growing conservative movement to end executions. The push to end capital punishment divided Nebraska conservatives, with 18 conservatives joining the legislature's liberals to provide the <a href="http://www.omaha.com/news/legislature/nebraska-senators-override-governor-s-veto-repeal-death-penalty/article_32726c27-0ef4-5415-9d07-f90f08707602.html" target="_blank">30 to 19 vote</a> to override Gov. Pete Ricketts' veto&mdash;barely reaching the 30 votes necessary for repeal.</p> <p>Today's vote makes Nebraska "the first predominantly Republican state to abolish the death penalty in more than 40 years," said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, in a statement shortly after the vote. Dunham's statement singled out conservatives for rallying against the death penalty and said their work in Nebraska is "part of an emerging trend in the Republican Party." (Nebraska has a unicameral, nonpartisan legislature, so lawmakers do not have official party affiliations.)</p> <p>For conservative opponents of the death penalty, Wednesday's vote represents a breakthrough. &nbsp;A month ago, overcoming the governor's veto <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/04/nebraska-republicans-take-gop-governor-over-death-penalty" target="_blank">still looked like a long-shot</a>.&nbsp; Conservatives make a number of arguments against the death penalty, including the high costs and a religion-inspired argument about taking life. "I may be old-fashioned, but I believe God should be the only one who decides when it is time to call a person home," Nebraska state Sen. Tommy Garrett, a conservative Republican who opposes the death penalty, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/04/nebraska-republicans-take-gop-governor-over-death-penalty" target="_blank">said</a> last month.</p> <p>"I think this will become more common," Marc Hyden, national coordinator of Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, said in a statement following the repeal vote. "Conservatives have sponsored repeal bills in Kansas, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Missouri, and Kentucky in recent years."</p> <p>But conservative opponents of the death penalty have a tough slog ahead. Though support for the death penalty has reached its lowest point in 40 years, according to the <a href="http://www.people-press.org/2015/04/16/less-support-for-death-penalty-especially-among-democrats/" target="_blank">latest Pew Research Center survey</a>, 77 percent of Republicans still support it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Crime and Justice death penalty Wed, 27 May 2015 21:59:14 +0000 Pema Levy 276031 at http://www.motherjones.com Scott Walker Says Mandatory Ultrasounds Are "Just a Cool Thing" for Women http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/05/scott-walker-mandatory-ultrasounds <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>After months of keeping a <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/05/where-is-scott-walker.html" target="_blank">low profile</a> for a man very likely running for president, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is back in the headlines today with quite the <a href="http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/scott-walker-ultrasounds-should-be-mandatory-theyre-cool-thing-out-there" target="_blank">outrageous quote</a>. Walker, who was speaking in defense of a <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2013/07/wisconsin-governor-signs-abortion-bill-requiring-ultrasound-93762.html" target="_blank">controversial abortion bill </a>he signed into law that forces women seeking abortions to undergo an ultrasound, said in an interview on Friday the mandatory exams are "just a cool thing" for women.</p> <blockquote> <p>I'll give you an example. I'm pro-life, I've passed pro-life legislation. We defunded Planned Parenthood, we signed a law that requires an ultrasound. Which, the thing about that, the media tried to make that sound like that was a crazy idea. Most people I talk to, whether they're pro-life or not, I find people all the time who'll get out their iPhone and show me a picture of their grandkids' ultrasound and how excited they are, so that's a lovely thing. I think about my sons are 19 and 20, you know we still have their first ultrasound picture. It's just a cool thing out there.</p> </blockquote> <p>He went onto say Republicans shouldn't solely focus on abortion, but also embrace other key conservative issues. Nevertheless:</p> <blockquote> <p>It certainly is a part of who we are and we shouldn't be afraid to talk about it, and we shouldn't be afraid to push back. When you think about Hillary Clinton, and you think about some others on the left, you say, I think it's reasonable, whether you're pro-life or not to say that taxpayers dollars shouldn't be spent to support abortion or abortion-related activities. Most Americans believe in that. There are many candidates on the left who don't share that belief.</p> </blockquote> <p>Seriously, ladies. Why keep fighting for autonomous control over your bodies, when clearly mandatory ultrasounds are just so darn neat? Put down the pitchfork and embrace the red wave!</p> <p>Listen to the Walker's interview, recorded by <em><a href="http://www.rightwingwatch.org/" target="_blank">Right Wing Watch</a></em>, below:</p> <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="250" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/207319871&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;visual=true" width="100%"></iframe></p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Reproductive Rights Scott Walker Sex and Gender Wed, 27 May 2015 19:23:04 +0000 Inae Oh 275956 at http://www.motherjones.com Your Snobby Wine Friends Are Full of Shit http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/05/cheap-wine-rules <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Find yourself in the company of an intolerable, self-annointed&nbsp;wine connoisseur? Don't bother arguing about how great the $7 bottle of supermarket merlot is. The best way to deal with the inevitable snobbery headed your way might be to show them the following video <a href="http://www.vox.com/2015/5/20/8625785/expensive-wine-taste-cheap" target="_blank">produced by Vox</a>, which slays the belief expensive wines are more delicious.&nbsp;</p> <center> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/mVKuCbjFfIY" width="630"></iframe></p> </center> <p>When 19 staffers blind-tested three different red wines from the same grape, the average ratings for the cheapest and most expensive wines were exactly the same! And while half of those tested were able to correctly identify which wine was the most expensive, they actually reported enjoying it <em>less </em>than the cheaper offerings. That's because, according to the video, more complex wines tend to challenge our plebian palates.&nbsp;</p> <p>Thanks Vox. Now here is <em>Mother Jones</em>' contribution to you oenophiles:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/05/how-open-wine-bottle-your-shoe" target="_blank">"How to Open a Wine Bottle With Your Shoe."</a></p> <center> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/9XyvC8LyvXQ" width="630"></iframe></p> </center></body></html> Mixed Media Food and Ag Wed, 27 May 2015 18:43:54 +0000 Inae Oh 275951 at http://www.motherjones.com Health Update http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/health-update-0 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/so-how-did-my-experiment-turn-out" target="_blank">Last Saturday</a> I wrote a post whining about how tired and nauseous I was and how I crashed every day around 2 pm. I wrote that post a little before noon, and then....nothing. No crash. Sunday: no crash. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: no crash. And the nausea has improved dramatically. There are two possible explanations for this:</p> <ul><li>It's just a coincidence.</li> <li>Whining in public is really therapeutic and helped me feel better.</li> </ul><p>So which is it? Who knows. I suppose it was just a coincidence, but that's not a very satisfying explanation for us pattern-obsessed primates, is it? In any case, I'm still tired and I still make sure to rest frequently throughout the day. But my energy level is distinctly better than last week, and my nausea is clearly getting better too. Genuine progress! Hooray!</p> <p>Unfortunately, the foul taste in my mouth is still hanging around. In theory, full recovery from the chemo side effects should take 6-7 weeks, and I'm now at week 5. Hopefully this means in another week or two I'll be feeling pretty sprightly and foulness free. We'll see.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 27 May 2015 18:39:20 +0000 Kevin Drum 275961 at http://www.motherjones.com Your City Is Probably Not Going to Be Hit By A Terrorist Attack http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/05/list-cities-most-risk-terrorist-attacks-probably-wont-suprise-you <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Americans are understandably<a href="http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/american-fear-74-see-catastrophic-terrorist-attack-inside-united-states/article/2558294" target="_blank"> terrified of terror attacks</a>. But good news! These fears have nothing to do with actual data. According to a new tool released last week, n<a href="http://maplecroft.com/portfolio/new-analysis/2015/05/20/abuja-cairo-nairobi-and-islamabad-among-12-capital-cities-facing-extreme-terrorism-risks-verisk-maplecroft/" target="_blank">o US cities are among the world's 50 most at risk of terror attacks</a>.</p> <p>The index, designed by UK based Verisk Maplecroft, a global risk assessment firm, calculates the risk of terror attacks in "1,300 of the world&rsquo;s most important commercial hubs and urban centers" using historic trends. By logging and analyzing every reported attack or event per 100 square meters and calculating the frequency and severity of those&nbsp;incidents, Maplecroft's tool establishes a baseline for the past five years. Then, it compares that data with the number, frequency, and severity of attacks for the most recent year. Depending on the most recent statistics, cities move up or down on the list of cities at risk for terror attacks.</p> <p>What cities are in danger? Cities near ISIS.&nbsp;Baghdad&nbsp;is the most terror prone city, followed by five other places in Iraq&mdash;including Mosul, an ISIS stronghold in northern Iraq, and Al Ramadi, ISIS's <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/26/middleeast/iraq-ramadi-inside-the-fight/" target="_blank">most recent </a>hostile takeover. In just one year, as of February, over 1,000 residents of Baghdad lost their lives in one of the almost 400 terror attacks the city endured.</p> <p>A total of 27 of the 64 countries at "extreme risk" are located in the Middle East, and 19 are in Asia. Residents living in the capital cities of Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Tripoli face some of the strongest risks of terror attacks as well. Maplecroft <a href="http://maplecroft.com/portfolio/new-analysis/2015/05/20/abuja-cairo-nairobi-and-islamabad-among-12-capital-cities-facing-extreme-terrorism-risks-verisk-maplecroft/" target="_blank">points</a> to the risk of terror incidents in high-ranking countries like Egypt, Israel, Kenya, Nigeria, and Pakistan as major threats to US commercial interests.</p> <p>And, recent events have triggered some cities to climb in the rankings. Prior to the Charlie Hebdo attack, Paris didn't even make the top 200 most at risk cities. But according to the current index, the French capital jumped over 100 spots, now coming in at&nbsp;97. Increasing violence purported by African militant groups, including Boko Haram in Nigeria and Al Shabaab in Somalia, have heightened the risk of terror incidents in African nations, landing 14 countries in the top 64.</p> <p>So stop freaking out about terror attacks, America.</p></body></html> MoJo Afghanistan Foreign Policy Human Rights International Top Stories National Security Wed, 27 May 2015 18:32:15 +0000 Jenna McLaughlin 275941 at http://www.motherjones.com Note to Politicians: Stop Being So Self-Centered About Medical Research Funding http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/note-politicians-stop-being-so-self-centered-about-medical-research-funding <!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_test_tubes.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Steve Benen mentions one of my pet peeves today: politicians who want to cut spending on everything except for research on one particular disease that happens to affect them personally. <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/01/politicians-should-learn-bigger-lessons-their-pet-causes" target="_blank">A couple of years ago,</a> for example, Sen. Mark Kirk suddenly became interested in Medicaid's approach to treating strokes after he himself suffered a stroke. The latest example is Jeb Bush, whose mother-in-law has Alzheimer's. I suppose you can guess what's coming next. <a href="http://mariashriver.com/blog/2015/05/i-emailed-jeb-bush-about-alzheimers-and-he-responded-maria-shriver-jeb-bush/" target="_blank">Here's Jeb in a letter he sent to Maria Shriver:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>I have gotten lots of emails based on my comments regarding Alzheimer&rsquo;s and dementia at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire. It is not the first time I have spoken about this disease. I have done so regularly.</p> <p>Here is what I believe:</p> <p><strong>We need to increase funding to find a cure.</strong> We need to reform FDA [regulations] to accelerate the approval process for drug and device approval at a much lower cost. We need to find more community based solutions for care.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/why-jeb-bushs-line-alzheimers-matters" target="_blank">As Benen points out,</a> Bush vetoed a bunch of bills that would have assisted Alzheimer's patients when he was governor of Florida. I guess that's changed now that he actually knows someone with the disease. However, it doesn't seem to have affected his attitude toward any other kind of medical research spending.</p> <p>I'm not even sure what to call this syndrome, but it's mighty common. It's also wildly inappropriate. If Jeb wants to personally start a charity that helps fund Alzheimer's research, that's great. But if he's running for president, he should be concerned with medical research for everyone. I mean, where's the billion dollars that <em>I'd</em> like to see invested in multiple myeloma research? Huh?</p> <p>Presidents and members of Congress represent the country, not their own families. They should get straight on the fact that if their pet disease is being underfunded, then maybe a lot of other diseases are being underfunded too. It shouldn't take a family member getting sick to get them to figure that out.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 27 May 2015 17:14:04 +0000 Kevin Drum 275946 at http://www.motherjones.com Texas Wants Its Own Fort Knox http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/05/texas-fort-knox-gold-new-york <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Texas independence&mdash;or paranoia&mdash;strikes again. In&nbsp;recent years, some Lone Star officials, including former Gov. Rick Perry, have flirted with <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/12/rick-perry-secession_n_2120453.html" target="_blank">secession</a>. Last month the new Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, asked the state national guard to monitor a US military exercise that some residents fear is cover for a federal takeover of the state that will use Walmarts as staging areas. And now the state is on the verge of seizing the gold owned by the state that is stored in New York City and building a massive bunker to hoard&nbsp;this booty.</p> <p><a href="http://www.texastribune.org/2015/04/30/abbotts-letter-puts-jade-helm-national-stage/" style="line-height: 2em;" target="_blank">Per the </a><a href="http://www.chron.com/news/politics/texas/article/Senate-Let-Texas-establish-its-own-Fort-Knox-6287035.php" target="_blank"><em>Houston Chronicle</em></a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>AUSTIN &mdash; Texas could get its own version of Fort Knox, the impenetrable depository for gold bullion, if the Legislature gets its way.</p> <p>Under House Bill 483, approved unanimously on Tuesday by the state Senate, Comptroller Glenn Hegar would be authorized to establish and administer the state's first bullion depository at a site not yet determined.</p> <p>No other state has its own state bullion depository, officials said.</p> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 24px;">The state government has about $1 billion in gold bullion stored outside the state, mostly in the basement of the Federal Reserve building in Manhattan. The gold has been there for years&mdash;because it's so annoying to move, it's easier to keep everyone's gold in the same place, and the financial center of the world is the most obvious place. When bullion changes hands, it's mostly on paper. So</span>&nbsp;why does Texas now need to grab all its gold? Is it just because Texans don't trust New Yorkers? Is it really that simple?</p> <p><a href="http://www.chron.com/news/politics/texas/article/Senate-Let-Texas-establish-its-own-Fort-Knox-6287035.php" target="_blank">Yes</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>"New York will hate this," [state sen. Lois] Kolkhorst said of the bill that now goes to Gov. Greg Abbott to be signed into law. "To me, that and the fact that it will save Texas money makes it a golden idea."</p> </blockquote> <p>The cost-cutting bit refers to the storage fees Texas has to pay to keep its gold offsite, although Texas would still have to shell out money for upkeep and security if it went the DIY route. Incidentally, Perry supported the Texas Bullion Depository when it was first proposed in 2013, <a href="http://www.texastribune.org/2013/03/21/perry-some-lawmakers-want-states-gold-back-texas/" target="_blank">telling</a> Glenn Beck, "If we own it, I will suggest to you that that's not someone else&rsquo;s determination whether we can take possession of it back or not."</p> <p>But building a giant vault to house all the state's gold will be the easy part. The tough task? Safely and securely moving&nbsp;57,000 pounds of gold from Gotham to Texas. Perhaps we now know the plot for the <a href="http://www.bustle.com/articles/73979-when-will-fast-furious-8-be-released-the-story-isnt-over-for-the-crew-just" target="_blank">eighth <em>Fast and Furious</em> movie</a>.</p></body></html> MoJo Economy Texas Wed, 27 May 2015 17:00:57 +0000 Tim Murphy 275936 at http://www.motherjones.com Republicans Find Yet Another Ingenious Way to Suppress Democratic Votes http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/republicans-find-yet-another-ingenious-way-suppress-democratic-votes <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The number of ways that Republicans invent to reduce the voting power of the Democratic Party is truly impressive. <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/27/us/supreme-court-to-weigh-meaning-of-one-person-one-vote.html" target="_blank">Here's the latest:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The court has never resolved whether voting districts should have the same number of people, or the same number of eligible voters. Counting all people amplifies the voting power of places with large numbers of residents who cannot vote legally, including immigrants who are here legally but are not citizens, illegal immigrants, children and prisoners. Those places tend to be urban and to vote Democratic.</p> <p><strong>A ruling that districts must be based on equal numbers of voters would move political power away from cities, with their many immigrants and children, and toward older and more homogeneous rural areas.</strong></p> <p>....The Supreme Court over the past nearly 25 years has turned away at least three similar challenges, and many election law experts expressed surprise that the justices agreed to hear this one. But since Chief Justice John G. Roberts has led the court, it has been active in other voting cases.</p> </blockquote> <p>Over the past few decades we've seen pack-n-crack, photo ID laws, old fashioned gerrymandering, mid-decade gerrymandering, the gutting of the Voting Rights Act, reductions in early voting, the crippling of campaign finance law, illegal purges of voter rolls, and now this: a change in the way people are counted that would favor Republican-leaning districts.</p> <p>From a purely academic view, you really have to be impressed by the GOP's relentless creativity in finding ever more ways to trim the votes of groups who lean Democratic. They've done a great job. Sure, it's been a violent and cynical assault on our country's notions of fairness in the voting booth, but that's for eggheads to worry about. After all, it worked. Right? Maybe its made a difference of only a point or two in presidential elections and fewer than a dozen districts in congressional elections, but in a closely balanced electorate that counts for a lot.</p> <p>So: nice work, GOP. You've realized that all the woo-woo talk about democracy and the sacredness of the vote is just a bunch of blah blah blah. We all mouth the words, but no one really cares. There are just too many good shows on TV to pay attention to boring stuff like this.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 27 May 2015 15:07:54 +0000 Kevin Drum 275931 at http://www.motherjones.com Cuba Is Cautiously Hopeful and You Should Be Too http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/cuba-cautiously-hopeful-and-you-should-be-too <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><em>Friend of the blog Jay Jaroch recently spent some time in Cuba. Here's the first of three posts about what he observed while he was there.</em></p> <hr width="20%"><p>If you&rsquo;re looking for a country that has solved the problem of income inequality, look no further than Cuba, where everyone has next to nothing. And that&rsquo;s not snark. It&rsquo;s an economic reality that quickly presents itself to any Westerner who spends some time there, as I did this month.</p> <p>Soon after President Obama loosened the travel restrictions, domestic debate about Cuba&rsquo;s economic future in a post-embargo world split into two predictable camps: those who worried that America would &ldquo;ruin&rdquo; Cuba with a heavy dose of fanny-packed tourists and Panera Breads, and those who dismissed this as the &ldquo;fetishization of poverty&rdquo; and welcomed the introduction of American-style capitalism as a long overdue tonic. The reality is that these are mostly debates Americans are having about their views of America. Cubans, one quickly learns, are too economically desperate to care.</p> <p>Havana is unique and dilapidated and strangely beautiful. You almost admire it in the same way you would distressed furniture, or Keith Richard&rsquo;s face. Havana looks a bit like a hurricane hit the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1965 and no one bothered to clean it up. Zoom in and you&rsquo;ll find <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_jaroch_cuba_1.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">men standing in front of a partially collapsed building holding menus imploring you to come to their <em>paladares</em> next to stray dogs fucking in the street next to a group of Canadian tourists in faux revolutionary berets next to a woman selling fruit from a cart that most Americans wouldn&rsquo;t eat on a dare. It&rsquo;s all here.</p> <p>Without exception, the Cubans I talked to welcomed the thawing of relations with the US, and even more so the coming influx of American tourists. One quickly learns why: because too much of their day-to-day economy is reliant on tourist dollars and euros. America is simply the biggest account they could land, and that&rsquo;s why they&rsquo;re hopeful. Also cautious, and not so much because they&rsquo;re worried about Starbucks; it's because they&rsquo;re worried their government will mismanage their chance at a better life. The sense was: Raul is finally allowing for some small, common-sense reforms that would have been impossible under Fidel. President Obama is allowing for some small, common sense reforms that will allow Cubans greater access to American dollars. Let&rsquo;s not screw this up. (More on that tomorrow.)</p> <p>Outside Havana, the economic stagnation is even more acute. In Cienfuegos, a middle school English teacher named Alex, who had never spoken to an American before, wanted to know what a teacher of his experience would make in Los Angeles. I told him around $75,000 a year. &ldquo;$75,000 American dollars,&rdquo; he replied, shaking his head. &ldquo;I earn 18 dollars a month.&rdquo; Alex was hardly unique&mdash;monthly salaries in Cuba run from about $14 to $20.</p> <p>In Trinidad, a city about five hours southeast of Havana, an older man sitting in his doorway stopped me on my way down the street. He wanted me to give the Americans a message: &ldquo;Hay mucha musica, pero nada de trabajo.&rdquo; We have lots of music, but no work.</p> <p>This jibed with what I&rsquo;d seen of Trinidad. Other than the jobs related to tourism, I couldn&rsquo;t discern any other source of employment. Pablo, my host in Trinidad, was a civil engineer by trade, but a taxi driver by necessity. On one trip through town I asked him what jobs were available to locals beyond the tourist trade. He replied that there weren&rsquo;t any. I found that hard to believe so I asked the same question of an art gallery employee. I got the same answer&mdash;there aren&rsquo;t any other jobs. The only money coming in to that part of the country came from abroad, either in the form of remittances from family members or from tourism. We were, quite literally, the only game in town.</p> <p>In some respects, both sides of the American debate can stand down. Cuba is neither ready for Pizza Hut nor gearing up for broad-based market reforms. Yes, Cuba is changing. People who had been there five or even two years before would tell me how much had already changed. But the reality is that they&rsquo;re starting, slowly, to dig out from a half century deep hole. The infrastructure is in such disarray that they couldn&rsquo;t take a large scale influx of American tourists if they wanted to. And they want to.</p> <p>No one really knows what happens next. But this much seems clear: if you want to see what Cuba was like under socialism, you can come next year. You can come in three years. Five. Ten. It will still be there.</p> <p><strong>Next: What Cubans think of Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio.</strong></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 27 May 2015 13:00:07 +0000 Kevin Drum 275921 at http://www.motherjones.com Stop Romanticizing Your Grandparents' Food http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2015/05/romanticizing-grandparents-food <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Ever been advised to "eat like your grandmother"&mdash;that is, to seek food that's prepared in ways that would be recognized a generation or two ago, untainted by the evils of industrialization? That's nonsense, writes Rachel Laudan in a <a href="https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/05/slow-food-artisanal-natural-preservatives/">rollicking essay</a> recently published in <em>Jacobin</em>.</p> <p>Her polemic is actually a reprint. It originally appeared in <em>Gastronomica </em>way back in 2001&mdash;five years before the publication of Michael Pollan's <em>The Omnivore's Dilemma,</em> at the dawn of a boom in farmers markets and other ways to "know your farmer" and "eat local." And yet it's just as bracing to read today as it was then.</p> <p>The backlash against stuff like chicken nuggets and boxed mac 'n' cheese is "based not on history but on a fairy tale," Laudan writes. Food-system reformers tend to evoke a "sunlit past" of wholesome, home-cooked meals, to which she offers a stark riposte: "It never existed."</p> <p>Thing is, implicated though I may be in Laudan's blistering critique, I largely agree with it&mdash;with a caveat.</p> <p>You wouldn't know it from grazing the virtuous bounty on display at Whole Foods, but securing good food has always been a struggle. Laudan, a historian who has <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Cuisine-Empire-Cooking-History-California/dp/0520286316">authored a book on food and empire</a>, spices her essay liberally with pungent facts about preindustrial food. "All too often," she writes, "those who worked the land got by on thin gruels and gritty flatbreads," because all the good stuff went to their feudal lords and a rising urban merchant class. French peasants "prayed that chestnuts would be sufficient to sustain them from the time when their grain ran out to the harvest still three months away," while their Italian counterparts &nbsp;"suffered skin eruptions, went mad, and in the worst cases died of pellagra brought on by a diet of maize polenta and water."</p> <p>And she notes, as <a href="http://grist.org/article/terra-madre-notes-redeeming-fast-food/">I have</a> <a href="http://grist.org/article/food-2010-11-05-in-praise-of-fast-food/">with great relish</a>, that fast food is hardly the invention of midcentury US burger kings. "Hunters tracking their prey, fishermen at sea, shepherds tending their flocks, soldiers on campaign, and farmers rushing to get in the harvest all needed food that could be eaten quickly and away from home," she writes. But the real fast-food action was found in cities, forever packed with people living in tight quarters with few cooking resources:</p> <blockquote> <p>Before the birth of Christ, Romans were picking up honey cakes and sausages in the Forum. In twelfth-century Hangchow, the Chinese downed noodles, stuffed buns, bowls of soup, and deep-fried confections. In Baghdad of the same period, the townspeople bought ready-cooked meats, salt fish, bread, and a broth of dried chick peas. In the sixteenth cen&shy;tury, when the Spanish arrived in Mexico, Mexicans had been enjoying tacos from the market for generations. In the eighteenth century, the French purchased cocoa, apple turnovers, and wine in the boulevards of Paris, while the Japanese savored tea, noodles, and stewed fish.</p> </blockquote> <p>Yum!</p> <p>In short, Laudan has delivered an evocative corrective to the culinary romanticism that pervades our farmers markets and farm-to-table culinary temples.</p> <p>Yet her "plea for culinary modernism" contains its own gaping blind spot. If Laudan's "culinary Luddites" feast on tales of an imaginary prelapsarian food past, she herself presents a gauzy and romanticized view of industrialized food.</p> <p>Starting around 1880, she notes, US and European farmers began spreading more fertilizer and using better farm machinery, sparking the agricultural revolution that's with us today: reliance on hybrid (now genetically modified) seeds, agrichemicals, monocrops. To hear her tell it, it's been nonstop progress ever since.</p> <blockquote> <p>For all, Culinary Modernism had provided what was wanted: food that was processed, preservable, industrial, novel, and fast, the food of the elite at a price everyone could afford. Where modern food became available, populations grew taller, stronger, had fewer diseases, and lived longer. Men had choices other than hard agricultural labor, women other than kneeling at the <em>metate</em> (Mexican corn grinder) five hours a day.</p> </blockquote> <p>What she misses, of course, are the downsides. She celebrates the year-round availability of fruits and vegetables, but doesn't mention the army of ruthlessly exploited workers (Mexicans in the US West, and in the South, until recently, the descendants of enslaved African Americans) required to plant, tend, and harvest it. Yes, meat, once enjoyed "only on rare occasions" by working people, is now within easy reach of most Americans, but Laudan doesn't pause to ponder what it means for the people <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/10/chain-ted-genoways-spam-hormel" target="_blank">who work for poverty wages in factory-scale slaughterhouses</a>. To speak nothing of fast-food, restaurant, and supermarket workers.</p> <p>Nor does she ponder the people cut off from industrialized food's bounty: The nearly 1 billion people, most of them in the Global South, who lack enough to eat&mdash;many of whom work on plantation-style farms that provide wealthy consumers with coffee, sugar, bananas, and other fruits and vegetables.</p> <p>She also evades the ecological question. Large Midwestern farms provide the grain that feeds our&nbsp;teeming factory meat operations. In doing so, they systemically <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/08/toledos-tapwater-troubles-raise-hard-questions-about-our-ag-system" target="_blank">foul water</a> with <a href="http://www.nrdc.org/health/atrazine/" target="_blank">agrichemicals</a> and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/02/iowas-vaunted-farms-are-losing-topsoil-alarming-rate" target="_blank">hemorrhage topsoil</a>, essentially a fossil resource. Meat farms, meanwhile, have become overreliant on antibiotics&mdash;contributing to an antibiotic-resistance crisis that now <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2015/01/antibiotic-failure-will-cost-10-million-lives-annualy-2050">claims 700,000 lives worldwide</a>. California's agricultural behemoth, which churns out the bulk of US-grown fruits and vegetables and nearly all US-grown nuts, relies on oversubscribed and <a href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=3&amp;ved=0CC8QFjAC&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.motherjones.com%2Ftom-philpott%2F2014%2F04%2Fcalifornia-drought-groundwater-drilling&amp;ei=1x1lVfewHIGhsQWh74CgBQ&amp;usg=AFQjCNH_beTj9olNijtseuyuOk1gn4xusA&amp;sig2=JwbDwZmHfAvd44PhNAmB1Q&amp;bvm=bv.93990622,d.b2w" target="_blank">rapidly depleting water resources</a>. And so on.</p> <p>Finally, there's health. Laudan is right that starvation is mostly a thing of the past in the industrialized world, but she has little to say about how <a href="http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-publhealth-032013-182351?journalCode=publhealth" target="_blank">our modern diet is contributing to new forms of misery</a>: high rates of <a href="http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/33/11/2477.full" target="_blank">type 2 diabetes</a>, <a href="http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/avoid-these-foods-for-a-healthier-heart" target="_blank">heart disease</a>, and <a href="http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-07/uoe-uoe071513.php" target="_blank">cancer</a>.</p> <p>I share her annoyance at the historical fantasia that often passes for analysis among foodies. The key insight to be drawn from Laudan is that our species has rarely if ever experienced an equitable or sustainable way of feeding itself. But that doesn't mean we should stop trying&mdash;or that monocrops and agrichemicals bring us any closer.</p></body></html> Tom Philpott Food and Ag Top Stories Wed, 27 May 2015 10:00:10 +0000 Tom Philpott 275861 at http://www.motherjones.com