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 Managers of America Unite! You Have Nothing to Lose Except Straight Time for 60 Hours of Work a Week http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/06/managers-usa-unite-you-have-nothing-lose-except-straight-time-60-hours-work-week <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>If you're paid 12 bucks an hour, you're not making much. But hey&mdash;at least you're eligible for overtime. Hooray! Federal law dictates that you be paid time-and-a-half for working more than 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week.</p> <p>But wait. You work at McDonald's and you're a "supervisor." Under the current opaque and complicated rules adopted a decade ago by the Bush administration, that <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_manager.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">means you're management. No overtime for you. Sorry.</p> <p>That wage amounts to about $23,000 per year, and if that seems a little stingy for a manager, you're right. Way back in 1975, the Ford administration set the wage level to qualify as management at $6.25/hour, and if you adjust for inflation that amounts to about $28/hour today, or $56,000 per year. For most of us, that's intuitively a little closer to the wage we think a real manager makes.</p> <p>Well, good news. Today, after years of arguing and rulemaking, the Obama administration raised the wage level at which the "management exemption" comes into play. It's a little less than the inflation-adjusted figure from the Ford administration, but it's close. The new level is $970 per week, or about $50,000 per year. Anyone paid less than that, even if they have supervisory duties, qualifies for overtime pay. What's more, future increases are pegged to the level of inflation, so the rules will keep up with reality even when Republicans are in office.</p> <p>Naturally, the folks who benefit from the old rules are threatening havoc. <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/labor-proposal-would-make-millions-more-eligible-for-ot/2015/06/29/917a768a-1ec0-11e5-a135-935065bc30d0_story.html?wpisrc=nl_daily202&amp;wpmm=1" target="_blank">Check this out:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The National Retail Federation, a business group, says <strong>its members would probably respond by converting many salaried workers to hourly status, which could cost them benefits such as paid vacation.</strong> Other salaried workers would have their hours cut and wouldn&rsquo;t receive higher pay. Businesses might hire additional workers to avoid paying overtime or extend the hours they give part-timers. Yet supporters of extending overtime coverage say they would welcome those changes.</p> </blockquote> <p>Charming. Of course, we've heard this before in other contexts&mdash;remember all those millions of workers who were supposedly going to be cut from 30 hours a week to 29 to avoid giving them health insurance under Obamacare?&mdash;and most companies aren't likely to follow through on this threat. But it's the thought that counts. And surely there will be a few who decide that screwing their managers is good business, and I expect we'll hear about every last one of them.</p> <p>Don't listen. In this case, anecdotes are just propaganda tools. In a year or so the Department of Labor will provide us all with comprehensive statistics on what happened, and then we'll know. Until then, just enjoy the good news.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 30 Jun 2015 16:21:52 +0000 Kevin Drum 278746 at http://www.motherjones.com Health Update Update http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/06/health-update-update <!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/2015/06/health-update" target="_blank">As you may recall,</a> the key thing my doctor&mdash;and I&mdash;would like to see on the multiple myeloma front is a big drop in my M protein level, a marker for cancerous plasma cells. Today we got the latest results, and it's up to 0.9. Since the first round of chemotherapy had already gotten it down to 1.0, what this means is that the entire second round of chemotherapy at City of Hope was basically useless. I didn't respond to it at all.</p> <p>We went ahead with the biopsy today anyway, for reasons that are a little vague to me. Apparently it will give us some indication of <em>where</em> the cancerous cells are, but the results won't have any impact on my treatment plan. In a couple of days I'll start on a low daily dose of Revlimid, in hopes that it will get my M protein level down to zero. If it doesn't, then we'll try a higher dose.</p> <p>Revlimid is a highly controlled substance because it's in the same family as thalidomide and can cause serious birth defects. You cannot just pick it up at your local pharmacy. First, you have to fill out a lengthy form, and the medication is then mailed from a central location, presumably in a plain brown wrapper or something. As near as I could tell, pretty much every question on the form was some variation of me promising not to even think about getting anyone pregnant while I'm taking it. As you can imagine, this is not really an issue, so the form turned out not to be too much of a chore after all. It was just OK, OK, OK, OK, etc. I promise.</p> <p>So that's it for now. Not exactly cheery news, but the buildup of cancerous cells in my bone marrow is not actually that heavy (about 5 percent or so), which means there's a decent chance the Revlimid will be enough to keep it under control. We'll know in a couple of months or so.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 30 Jun 2015 03:49:12 +0000 Kevin Drum 278726 at http://www.motherjones.com Bree Newsome Explains Why She Tore Down the Confederate Flag in South Carolina http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/bree-newsome-explains-why-she-tore-down-confederate-flag <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Monday afternoon, Bree Newsome, the woman who scaled the flagpole at the South Carolina statehouse on Saturday and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/watch-badass-woman-scale-statehouse-flagpole-take-down-confederate-flag" target="_blank">took down the Confederate flag</a>, made her first public comments since her arrest, which were published on the progressive website <a href="http://bluenationreview.com/exclusive-bree-newsome-speaks-for-the-first-time-after-courageous-act-of-civil-disobedience" target="_blank"><em>Blue Nation Review</em></a>. She detailed her recent history of activism and described her motivation:</p> <blockquote> <p>The night of the Charleston Massacre, I had a crisis of faith. The people who gathered for Bible study in Emmanuel AME Church that night&mdash;Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Myra Thompson and Rev. Clementa Pinckney (rest in peace)&mdash;were only doing what Christians are called to do when anyone knocks on the door of the church: invite them into fellowship and worship.</p> <p>The day after the massacre I was asked what the next step was and I said I didn&rsquo;t know. We&rsquo;ve been here before and here we are again: black people slain simply for being black; an attack on the black church as a place of spiritual refuge and community organization.<br> I refuse to be ruled by fear. How can America be free and be ruled by fear? How can anyone be?</p> <p>So, earlier this week I gathered with a small group of concerned citizens, both black and white, who represented various walks of life, spiritual beliefs, gender identities and sexual orientations. Like millions of others in America and around the world, including South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and President Barack Obama, we felt (and still feel) that the confederate battle flag in South Carolina, hung in 1962 at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, must come down. (Of course, we are not the first to demand the flag&rsquo;s removal. Civil rights groups in South Carolina and nationwide have been calling for the flag&rsquo;s removal since the moment it was raised, and I acknowledge their efforts in working to remove the flag over the years via the legislative process.)</p> <p>We discussed it and decided to remove the flag immediately, both as an act of civil disobedience and as a demonstration of the power people have when we work together.</p> </blockquote> <p>Explaining why she worked together with fellow activist James Ian Tyson, she continued:</p> <blockquote> <p>Achieving this would require many roles, including someone who must volunteer to scale the pole and remove the flag. It was decided that this role should go to a black woman and that a white man should be the one to help her over the fence as a sign that our alliance transcended both racial and gender divides. We made this decision because for us, this is not simply about a flag, but rather it is about abolishing the spirit of hatred and oppression in all its forms.</p> </blockquote> <p>Read Newsome's whole statement <a href="http://bluenationreview.com/exclusive-bree-newsome-speaks-for-the-first-time-after-courageous-act-of-civil-disobedience" target="_blank">here</a>.</p></body></html> MoJo Crime and Justice Media Race and Ethnicity Charleston church shooting Mon, 29 Jun 2015 22:29:03 +0000 By Mother Jones news team 278721 at http://www.motherjones.com The Supreme Court Just Stopped Texas From Closing Almost All Of Its Abortion Clinics http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/supreme-court-texas-abortion-clinics <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The Supreme Court on Monday <a href="http://www.supremecourt.gov/orders/courtorders/062915zr_6j37.pdf" target="_blank">halted</a> key portions of Texas's <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/06/federal-court-texas-law-will-close-majority-abortion-clinics" target="_blank">anti-abortion law</a> from going into effect that would have shutdown all but nine abortion clinics in the state. The stay will remain in place while abortion rights advocates prepare to <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/06/supreme-court-abortion-texas-election" target="_blank">take their case</a> seeking to overturn portions of the Texas law to the Supreme Court.</p> <p>The court's four most conservative justices, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas, dissented from the order, indicating they would have let the clinics close.</p> <p>From the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/30/us/supreme-court-allows-texas-abortion-clinics-to-remain-open.html?smid=nytnow-share&amp;smprod=nytnow&amp;_r=0" target="_blank"><em>New York Times</em></a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>The case concerns two parts of a state law that imposes strict requirements on abortion providers. One requires all abortion clinics in the state to meet the standards for &ldquo;ambulatory surgical centers,&rdquo; including regulations concerning buildings, equipment and staffing. The other requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.</p> <p>Other parts of the law took effect in 2013, causing about half of the state&rsquo;s 41 abortion clinics to close.</p> </blockquote> <p>Read the order:</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-2120406-the-supreme-court-just-stopped-texas-from">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/viewer/loader.js"></script><script> DV.load("//www.documentcloud.org/documents/2120406-the-supreme-court-just-stopped-texas-from.js", { width: 630, height: 420, sidebar: false, text: false, pdf: false, container: "#DV-viewer-2120406-the-supreme-court-just-stopped-texas-from" }); </script></body></html> MoJo Reproductive Rights Supreme Court Mon, 29 Jun 2015 20:13:48 +0000 Pema Levy 278716 at http://www.motherjones.com NBC Finally Dumps Donald Trump http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/06/nbc-finally-dumps-donald-trump <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Monday, NBC released a statement announcing it was severing its business ties with Donald Trump following his recent remarks stating Mexican immigrants were "rapists" who carry drugs into the United States.</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">NBC announces it's ending its business relationship with <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump">@realDonaldTrump</a> . <a href="http://t.co/rVHlnHSBfK">pic.twitter.com/rVHlnHSBfK</a></p> &mdash; Meredith Blake (@MeredithBlake) <a href="https://twitter.com/MeredithBlake/status/615582065652838404">June 29, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>The network will no longer be airing the real estate mogul's Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants. Trump, who earlier this month descended from an escalator and announced he was making a bid for <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/contributor/2015/06/its-good-to-laugh" target="_blank">the White House,</a> stepped down as host from the <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/28/politics/donald-trump-the-apprentice-presidential-campaign/" target="_blank">reality show</a> in order to run for president.</p> <p>Just last week, the Spanish-language television network Univision also announced it was cutting ties with Trump due to the<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/06/univision-donald-trump-mexicans-rapists" target="_blank"> "insulting remarks."</a> Since then, Trump has threatened to sue the company. On Friday, he even publicly posted a Univision reporter's personal <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/06/26/media/donald-trump-univision-doral-golf-courses/" target="_blank">phone number</a> in retaliation to the network's announcement.</p></body></html> Mixed Media 2016 Elections Media Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:32:25 +0000 Inae Oh 278691 at http://www.motherjones.com Health Update http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/06/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>This is probably it for blogging today. It's biopsy day for me, and unfortunately this is up in LA, so it's going to wipe out most of the day. The good news is that this is the last of the tests for now, and in a week or two we'll know for sure how well I responded to the second-round chemo up at City of Hope. Whether <em>that</em> turns out to be good news or bad is the million-dollar question.</p> <p>In the meantime, I'm feeling pretty good. I bought myself a Surface 3 yesterday as part of my tablet collection hobby. It's my fourth in four years. I now have an iPad, an Android tab, and two Windows tabs. Since I don't spend a lot of money on anything else, I figure it's actually a fairly harmless and cheap hobby.</p> <p>Seems to be OK so far with a few odd quirks. But I've not yet been able to answer my key question: how well does Firefox work? Their servers appear to have been down for maintenance since last night, so I'm unable to sync the new tablet. Until then, it's basically a brick since Firefox is about half of what I do with it. Maybe the Mozilla folks will have their servers back up and running by the time I get home.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:30:04 +0000 Kevin Drum 278641 at http://www.motherjones.com Court Rules EPA Must Consider Cost in Regulation of Power Plants http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/06/court-rules-epa-must-consider-cost-regulation-power-plants <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In today's EPA case, the question at hand was whether EPA has to consider both costs and benefits when it makes the decision to regulate power plants. EPA says it has to consider only benefits during the initial decision, and can consider costs later when it writes the actual regulations themselves.</p> <p>The conservative majority on the Supreme Court disagreed. Although the Clean Air Act generally requires EPA to regulate sources that&nbsp; &ldquo;presen[t] a <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_power_plant_smokestack.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">threat of adverse effects to human health or the environment," the requirements for regulating power plants are different. EPA can only regulate power plants if it finds regulation "appropriate and necessary."</p> <p>So what does that mean? "There are undoubtedly settings in which the phrase 'appropriate and necessary' does not encompass cost," the majority opinion says, "But this is not one of them." <a href="http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-46_10n2.pdf" target="_blank">Then this:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>EPA points out that other parts of the Clean Air Act expressly mention cost, while [the power plant clause] does not. But this observation shows only that&nbsp;[the power plant clause's] broad reference to appropriateness encompasses <em>multiple </em>relevant factors (which include but are not limited to cost); other provisions&rsquo; specific references to cost encompass just cost. <strong>It is unreasonable to infer that, by expressly making cost relevant to other decisions, the Act implicitly makes cost irrelevant to the appropriateness of regulating power plants</strong>....Other parts of the Clean Air Act also expressly mention environmental effects, while [the power plant clause] does not. Yet that did not stop EPA from deeming environmental effects relevant to the appropriateness of regulating power plants.</p> </blockquote> <p>As it happens, this is not entirely clear. The origin of the phrase "the exception proves the rule" applies to this. If I say that parking is not allowed on 4th Avenue on weekdays, this implicitly means that parking <em>is</em> allowed on weekends. The fact that I made a specific rule and deliberately failed to include certain cases in that rule, means that the rule doesn't apply to the excepted cases.</p> <p>In this case, cost is specifically mentioned elsewhere in the Clean Air Act, but not here. So power plants appear to be an exception to the general rule that cost has to be considered from the very start. This means that the question is whether "appropriate and necessary" encompasses cost, or whether Congress would have specifically mentioned cost if it wanted it considered.</p> <p>The conservative majority decided cost was inherently part of that phrase. The liberal dissenters disagreed. The conservatives won.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 29 Jun 2015 15:51:59 +0000 Kevin Drum 278676 at http://www.motherjones.com John Oliver: Quit Asking Transgender People About Their Genitals http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/06/john-oliver-transgender-rights <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Friday's historic Supreme Court ruling invalidating gay marriage bans across the country was a major step for equal rights in America. But when it comes to equal rights and protection for the transgender community, the country still has a long way to go.</p> <p>"For all the strides transgender people have made lately, let's not get too complacent about how far we've come because they still face a host of obstacles," John Oliver reminded on Sunday's <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmoAX9f6MOc" target="_blank"><em>Last Week Tonight</em>.</a> "Even when the news media are trying to be supportive they can make dumb mistakes.</p> <p>It's true&mdash;just listen to how the media discusses the "wrong genitalia" and continues to ask invasive questions about a trans person's body.</p> <p>"It is no more okay to ask transgender people about their sex organs than it would be to ask Jimmy Carter whether or not he's circumcised," Oliver said. "Which by the way he is&mdash;smooth like a boiled carrot."</p> <p>Of course, the challenges facing the transgender community go much farther than how issues are discussed. As Oliver noted on Sunday, it's the practical, everyday changes such as simply allowing transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice, many parts of the country are still fighting against.</p> <p>"This is a civil rights issue. If you're not willing to support transgender people for their sake, at least do it for your own. Because we've been through this before; we know how this thing ends. If you take the anti-civil rights side and deny people something they're entitled to, history is not going to be kind to you."</p> <p><strong>Watch below: </strong></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/hmoAX9f6MOc" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> Mixed Media Gay Rights Media Sex and Gender Mon, 29 Jun 2015 15:08:02 +0000 Inae Oh 278626 at http://www.motherjones.com Supreme Court Justice Calls Death Penalty Drug "Equiva­lent of Being Burned at the Stake" http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/sotomayor-death-penalty-burned-at-stake <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Monday, the Supreme Court <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/06/supreme-court-approves-controversial-lethal-injection-drug" target="_blank">upheld</a> the use of the drug midazolam for lethal injections in a 5&ndash;4 decision that pitted the five conservative justices against the four liberal ones. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who wrote her own dissent, argued that the use of the drug, which prolongs the execution process and sometimes doesn't work at all, was in violation of the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on "cruel and unusual punishment." Then she went a step further, comparing the drug to a more notorious form of punishment&mdash;the burning of heretics at the stake:</p> <blockquote> <p>[T]he Court today turns aside petitioners&rsquo; plea that they at least be allowed a stay of execution while they seek to prove midazolam&rsquo;s inadequacy. The Court achieves this result in two ways: first, by deferring to the District Court&rsquo;s decision to credit the scientifically unsup&shy;ported and implausible testimony of a single expert wit&shy;ness; and second, by faulting petitioners for failing to satisfy the wholly novel requirement of proving the avail&shy;ability of an alternative means for their own executions. On both counts the Court errs. As a result, it leaves peti&shy;tioners exposed to what may well be the chemical equiva&shy;lent of being burned at the stake.</p> </blockquote> <p>Later in her dissent, Sotomayor added a few more comparisons for good measure. "Under the Court's new rule, it would not matter whether the State intended to use midazolam, or instead to have petitioners drawn and quartered, slowly tortured to death, or actually burned at the stake."</p> <p>Justice Stephen Breyer, in a separate dissent, went a step further, arguing that the death penalty itself might be unconstitutional.</p></body></html> MoJo Crime and Justice Supreme Court Top Stories Mon, 29 Jun 2015 14:45:31 +0000 Tim Murphy 278651 at http://www.motherjones.com The Supreme Court Just Struck Down Obama Regulations on Power Plants. Read the Opinion Here. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/supreme-court-epa-regulations <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled against EPA&nbsp;regulations to limit mercury emissions and other pollutants at power plants. Read the opinion in its entirety below:</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-2115351-scotus-epa-decision">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/viewer/loader.js"></script><script> DV.load("//www.documentcloud.org/documents/2115351-scotus-epa-decision.js", { width: 630, height: 420, sidebar: false, text: false, pdf: false, container: "#DV-viewer-2115351-scotus-epa-decision" }); </script></body></html> MoJo Climate Change Climate Desk Supreme Court Mon, 29 Jun 2015 14:45:00 +0000 Inae Oh 278631 at http://www.motherjones.com This Will Probably Not Be a Very Fun Week http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/06/will-probably-not-be-very-fun-week <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>This week's news to watch for:</p> <ul><li>Greek talks have broken down and they might be about to leave the euro, causing chaos.</li> <li>Negotiations with the Iranians have hit a pretty rough patch. <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_china_stock_market_plunge_june_2015.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">There may be no nuclear deal after all.</li> <li>Puerto Rico has effectively declared bankruptcy.</li> <li>China's stock markets, which have been falling already, are off a cliff today. "China&rsquo;s main stock index entered bear-market territory Monday," says the <em>Wall Street Journal,</em> "as a surprise interest-rate cut over the weekend failed to lift the market amid concerns over investors&rsquo; debt levels, while uncertainty about Greece shook sentiment elsewhere in the region."</li> <li>And in non-financial bad news, the Supreme Court has a couple of important cases coming up this week. The smart money suggests that the liberal run of good luck in the high court may be over. Fasten your seat belts.</li> </ul><p><strong>POSTSCRIPT:</strong> It's already happening. The Court has just upheld lethal injection procedures for executing death-row inmates and has struck down EPA rules on toxic emissions. On the brighter side, they ruled that independent commissions can draw district lines. So liberals are 1-2 so far this week.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 29 Jun 2015 14:41:45 +0000 Kevin Drum 278661 at http://www.motherjones.com Greece Now Has to Decide Whether to Leave the Euro http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/06/greece-now-has-decide-whether-leave-euro-its-noit-no-brainer <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Today's news is all about Greece. To make a long story short, the Greeks last week presented the Europeans with an austerity proposal that was pretty much what they had been asking for. But it turned out that "pretty much" wasn't good enough. The Europeans wanted <em>exactly</em> what they had been asking for and sent the Greeks packing. Talks broke down completely, and the Greek prime minister has called for a referendum later this week. The question: Accept the humiliating European terms and stay in the euro, or reject the terms and exit the euro. <a href="http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/06/28/grisis/" target="_blank">Paul Krugman offers his opinion:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>I would vote no, for two reasons. First, much as the prospect of euro exit frightens everyone &mdash; me included &mdash; the troika is now effectively demanding that the policy regime of the past five years be continued indefinitely. Where is the hope in that? Maybe, just maybe, the willingness to leave will inspire a rethink, although probably not. <strong>But even so, devaluation couldn&rsquo;t create that much more chaos than already exists, and would pave the way for eventual recovery, just as it has in many other times and places. </strong>Greece is not that different.</p> <p>Second, the political implications of a yes vote would be deeply troubling. The troika clearly did a reverse Corleone &mdash; they made Tsipras an offer he can&rsquo;t accept, and presumably did this knowingly. So the ultimatum was, in effect, a move to replace the Greek government. And even if you don&rsquo;t like Syriza, that has to be disturbing for anyone who believes in European ideals.</p> </blockquote> <p>It's worth unpacking this a bit, and doing it in the simplest possible way. If Greeks vote no on the European proposal, it's basically a vote to abandon the euro and recreate a new version of their old currency. Call it the New Drachma. They would then devalue the ND, making Greek exports more competitive in the international market. That would mean more tourists, more olive exports, and more fish exports. At least, that's what it would mean in the long term.</p> <p>In the short term it would mean chaos. Banks would close, and capital controls would be put in place until the new currency could be put in circulation. Imports would skyrocket in price, and this would effectively mean pay cuts for everyone. Savings would be lost, and pensions would be effectively slashed.</p> <p>In other words, Greece would almost certainly suffer <em>more</em> short-term austerity by leaving the euro than by staying within in it. The payoff, hopefully, would be control of their own currency, which would allow them to rebalance their economy in the long run and begin a true economic recovery. In the meantime, however, I'd be skeptical of Krugman's belief that leaving the euro would cause a bit of chaos, but not much more than Greece is already suffering. <a href="http://equitablegrowth.org/2015/06/28/must-read-barry-eichengreen-path-grexit-tragedy-paved-political-incompetence/" target="_blank">Here's Barry Eichengreen:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Nearly a decade ago, I analyzed scenarios for a country leaving the eurozone....The costs, I concluded, would be severe and heavily front-loaded....a bank run....shutter[ing] the financial system....losing access to not just their savings but also imported petrol, medicines and foodstuffs....Not only would any subsequent benefits, by comparison, be delayed, but they would be disappointingly small....Any improvement in export competitiveness due to depreciation of the newly reintroduced national currency would prove ephemeral....Greece&rsquo;s....leading export, refined petroleum, <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/images/blog_greece_germany.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">is priced in dollars and relies on imported oil....Agricultural exports....will take several harvests to ramp up. And attracting more tourists won&rsquo;t be easy against a drumbeat of political unrest.</p> </blockquote> <p>A lot of people think it's a no-brainer for Greece to leave the euro at this point. This is why it's not. Make no mistake: it will cause a <em>lot</em> of pain. Greek incomes will effectively be slashed, and it will take years to recover on the backs of improved exports. It's quite possible that this is the only good long-term solution for Greece, which has been treated badly by its European creditors&mdash;for which you should mostly read "German creditors"&mdash; but it is no easy decision. There will be a lot of suffering for a lot of years if Greece goes down this road.</p> <p>This is why the Greek prime minister has called for a referendum on the European proposal. If Greeks vote no, then they're accepting his proposal to exit the euro and accepting the inevitable austerity that will follow. That allows him to keep governing. If they vote yes, then he will accept the European proposal and presumably step down from government. The people will have spoken, and effectively they will be saying that they were bluffing all along, and now that their bluff has been called they're willing to fold.</p> <p>For Europe, the problem is different. If Greece leaves the euro, it probably won't affect them very much. The Greek economy is simply too small to matter, and most Greek debt is now held in public hands. However, the political implication are potentially huge: it means the currency union is not forever and ever, as promised. If the pain of using a currency whose value is basically dictated by the needs of Germany becomes too severe, countries will leave. Perhaps later they will be let back in. Instead of a currency union, it will become more of a currency board, with countries coming in and out as they need to. This will be especially true if observers like Krugman are right, and the short-term pain of Greece leaving is mild and long-term recovery is strong. That would send a strong lesson to any future country stuck in the web of German monetary policy and finding itself in a deep and long economic depression.</p> <p>Stay tuned.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Economy Foreign Policy International Top Stories Mon, 29 Jun 2015 14:01:22 +0000 Kevin Drum 278636 at http://www.motherjones.com Watch Badass Woman Scale Statehouse Flagpole, Take Down Confederate Flag http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/watch-badass-woman-scale-statehouse-flagpole-take-down-confederate-flag <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A woman named Bree Newsome just scaled the flagpole in front of the South Carolina state capitol and took down the Confederate flag. She was then arrested. Badass. Too bad state workers promptly put it back up.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/gr-mt1P94cQ?rel=0&amp;controls=0&amp;showinfo=0" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> MoJo Race and Ethnicity Charleston church shooting Sat, 27 Jun 2015 16:18:36 +0000 Mother Jones 278616 at http://www.motherjones.com The Threatened Atlantic Puffins Are Nesting And It's Adorable http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/06/threatened-atlantic-puffins-are-nesting-and-its-adorable <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The Atlantic puffins are back...for now. After spending much of the year on the open sea, the photogenic birds have made their annual trip to the North Atlantic shores of Maine, Newfoundland, and the United Kingdom to breed.</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/04/gulf-maine-puffin-climate-change"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/maine_630x354_1.jpg"></a> <div class="caption"><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/04/gulf-maine-puffin-climate-change" target="_blank"><strong>Click here to read our feature on Atlantic Puffins </strong></a></div> </div> <p>But <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/04/gulf-maine-puffin-climate-change" target="_blank">as Rowan Jacobsen reported in a <em>Mother Jones </em>feature last summer</a>, rising ocean temperatures have taken a huge toll on these seabirds. Cold-water thriving zooplankton, critical to the Gulf of Maine's food web, have reached their lowest numbers ever, forcing the fish that puffins feed to their young to go elsewhere for food. Without a reliable source of food, in 2013, only 10 percent of puffin pairs in burrows tracked by researchers successfully fledged chicks (normally that rate is 77 percent).</p> <p>This isn't the first time puffins in Maine have faced an existential threat. After <a href="https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/atlantic-puffin" target="_blank">300 years of hunting and over harvesting eggs</a>, Atlantic puffin colonies in Maine nearly disappeared. Fortunately, a successful Audubon Society initiative in the 1970s brought them back to nesting islands off the coast of Maine; by 2013, 1,000 pairs were laying eggs there.</p> <p>During the past couple of years, cold water has returned to the gulf of Maine, which is great news for the puffins. In 2014, they <a href="http://projectpuffin.audubon.org/maine-puffins-rebound" target="_blank">saw a rebound:</a> 75 percent of chicks survived. This year they are back again and as cute as ever. You can watch them below on the Audubon's puffin live cam until August when they leave again for the ocean:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GqxWzuLDWlU" width="630"><br></iframe></p> <p>If that's not enough, below are some more photos and video of Atlantic puffins:</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/shutterstock_82914316.jpg" style="height: 598px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption"><a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-82914316/stock-photo-pretty-puffin-pig.html?src=dt_last_search-4">Randy Rimland</a>/Shutterstock</div> </div> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GgYlglwXiqk" width="630"></iframe></p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/shutterstock_113519149.jpg" style="height: 420px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption"><a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-113519149/stock-photo-a-puffin-on-a-cliff-norway.html?src=LFB7T9xzdMYItDIPXS_74g-1-19">Helen Kattai</a>/Shutterstock</div> </div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/shutterstock_84243166.jpg" style="height: 420px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption"><a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-84243166/stock-photo-atlantic-puffin-or-common-puffin-fratercula-arctica-in-flight-on-mykines-faroe-islands.html?src=pp-photo-84240019-LFB7T9xzdMYItDIPXS_74g-4&amp;ws=1">Eric Isselee</a>/Shutterstock</div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/shutterstock_103764713_0.jpg" style="height: 417px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption"><a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-103764713/stock-photo-puffin-colony-farne-island-uk.html?src=LFB7T9xzdMYItDIPXS_74g-1-93">gabrisigno</a>/Shutterstock</div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> Blue Marble Climate Change Food and Ag Top Stories Sat, 27 Jun 2015 10:00:08 +0000 Luke Whelan 278566 at http://www.motherjones.com Congress Doesn't Think Agricultural Sustainability Has Anything to Do With Your Health http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/06/congress-doesnt-think-agriculture-has-anything-do-your-health <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Every five years, the US government revisits its Dietary Guidelines&mdash;suggestions for how Americans should eat. The guidelines won't legally require you to, say, eat an apple a day, but they do affect things like agricultural subsidies and public school lunches, so they're fairly influential.</p> <p>When the committee tasked with making scientific recommendations for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines released <a href="http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015-scientific-report/PDFs/Scientific-Report-of-the-2015-Dietary-Guidelines-Advisory-Committee.pdf" target="_blank">its report</a> this year, it ruffled some feathers. For the first time it included concerns about the environmental issues linked to certain dietary patterns and agricultural practices&mdash;for example, how <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/02/salt-sugar-chicken-what-look-upcoming-dietary-guidelines-report" target="_blank">eating less meat</a> and more plant-based foods is "more health promoting and is associated with a lesser environmental impact." Or that <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/03/tom-vilsack-2015-dietary-guidelines-sustainability-environment" target="_blank">assuring food security</a> might rely on creating agricultural practices that "reduce environmental impacts and conserve resources."</p> <p>Some lobbyists and politicians, especially those who pad their pockets with cash from Big Food and Big Ag, weren't too happy about these suggestions. As <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/03/tom-vilsack-2015-dietary-guidelines-sustainability-environment" target="_blank">I've written in the past</a>, the suggestion that plant-based diets might be healthier for people and the planet messes with the meat industry's bottom line, so why would they back it? In <a href="http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2015/comments/readComments.aspx" target="_blank">letters</a> sent to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack over the past few months, industry groups have tried to argue that sustainability issues do not fall within the scope of the Dietary Guidelines. <a href="http://www.beefusa.org/CMDocs/BeefUSA/2015_Dietary_Guidelines_NCBA_Comments.pdf" target="_blank">One letter</a> from the National Cattleman's Beef Association argued that the advisory committee "clearly does not have the background or expertise to evaluate the complex relationship between food production and the dietary needs of a growing American and international population."</p> <p>The House Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, which <a href="http://cspinet.org/new/pdf/riders-dga-campaign-analysis-report.pdf" target="_blank">accepted at least $1.4 million</a> from the food industry in 2013 and 2014, apparently caved to these complaints. It recently stuck a rider in its <a href="http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bills-114hr-sc-ap-fy2016-agriculture-subcommitteedraft.pdf" target="_blank">2016 Agricultural Appropriations bill</a> that would A) explicitly prohibit the upcoming Dietary Guidelines from mentioning anything other than diet and nutrient intake, and B) force the guidelines to only rely on scientific evidence that has been rated "Grade 1: Strong" by the Department of Agriculture. <em>Politico</em> reported on Thursday that a <a href="http://www.politico.com/morningagriculture/0615/morningagriculture18894.html?ml=ae_l" target="_blank">similar Senate agriculture appropriations rider</a> would force any advice in the Dietary Guidelines to be "solely nutritional and dietary in nature."</p> <p>In an unprecedented move, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has shot back with <a href="http://www.foodpolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/dgac_appropriations_bill_response_6_2015.pdf" target="_blank">a letter of its own</a>. Health and food systems <em>should</em> be more closely related in the government's eyes, the committee argued. "Future food insecurity is predictable without attention to the safety, quality, cost, and sustainability of the food supply," the letter stated, adding that "the US health and public health systems are burdened with preventable health problems." In other words, to narrow the reach of the Dietary Guidelines is to ignore the connection between things like exercise and obesity, for instance, or agricultural pesticide use and disease. To read more of the DGAC's arguments, see the full <a href="http://www.foodpolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/dgac_appropriations_bill_response_6_2015.pdf" target="_blank">letter here</a>.</p> <p>Expect the finalized Dietary Guidelines late this year. In the meantime, it looks like the DGAC isn't giving up the battle for a more holistic national framework for how people eat. They certainly have <em>Food Politics</em> author Marion Nestle on their side; as she <a href="http://www.foodpolitics.com/2015/06/lets-stop-congress-from-interfering-with-the-dietary-guidelines-please/" target="_blank">summarizes</a> on her blog:</p> <blockquote> <p>[Members of the DGAC] were asked to review and consider the science of diet and health and did so. They reported what they believe the science says. Some segments of the food industry didn't like the science so they are using the political system to fight back. That some members of Congress would go along with this is shameful.</p> </blockquote></body></html> Blue Marble Food and Ag Regulatory Affairs Top Stories Fri, 26 Jun 2015 22:15:12 +0000 Maddie Oatman 278581 at http://www.motherjones.com This Cartoon Is Going to Become Iconic http://www.motherjones.com/contributor/2015/06/the-gays-won-the-civil-war <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The <a href="https://www.facebook.com/SPLCenter/photos/a.439820219699.236067.170591064699/10153455501654700/?type=1&amp;permPage=1" target="_blank">Southern Poverty Law Center</a> posted this cartoon to its Facebook page. The credit reads CagleCartoons.com but I can't actually find it on there. I'll update with proper credit when I figure it out. Safe to say, this is amazing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div id="fb-root">&nbsp;</div> <script>(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script><div class="fb-post" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/SPLCenter/posts/10153455501654700:0" data-width="500"> <div class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore"> <blockquote cite="https://www.facebook.com/SPLCenter/posts/10153455501654700:0"> <p>There it is.</p> Posted by <a href="https://www.facebook.com/SPLCenter">Southern Poverty Law Center</a> on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/SPLCenter/posts/10153455501654700:0">Friday, June 26, 2015</a></blockquote> </div> </div></body></html> Contributor Fri, 26 Jun 2015 20:15:44 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 278591 at http://www.motherjones.com And Now For Something Completely Different http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/06/now-something-completely-different <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A new<sup>1</sup> study from Swift, Stone, and Parker has identified the top four components of a successful online fundraising appeal. Here they are:</p> <ul><li>The end of a quarterly fundraising cycle.</li> <li>Clear comparisons to the opposition's fundraising results.</li> <li>Over the top doomsaying.</li> <li>Cats.</li> </ul><p>Lucky for me, I've got all those things, so I figured I'd take a crack at it.</p> <p class="rteindent1">Check out <em>National Review's</em> current fundraising drive. <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/420201/two-fifty-very-nifty-jack-fowler" target="_blank">One reader</a>&nbsp;just gave $250! <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/420233/lifeline-sanity-jack-fowler" target="_blank">This guy</a> coughed up $100! They've even got a <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/385379/join-national-review-wine-club-and-save-100-and-get-two-complimentary-bottles-pinot" target="_blank">wine club</a> to suck in new contributors. And a cruise!</p> <p class="rteindent1"><em>These guys are killing us.</em> Without your help, the heirs of William F. Buckley will dominate the political magazine market for years to come. And you know what that means: More articles about how the only real racism is anti-white <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hilbert_hopper_fundraiser.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">racism. More pseudo-science about how the globe is probably cooling, not warming. More hagiographies of Marco Rubio. More whining about how white people can't use the N-word. More blog posts about Jonah Goldberg's dog.</p> <p class="rteindent1">Maybe you think this doesn't matter to you? Think again. This week features <a href="https://www.nationalreview.com/nrd/articles/419954/reagans-supply-side-genius" target="_blank">"Reagan's Supply-Side Genius,"</a> and it doesn't matter if you try to ignore it. Your crazy uncle is going to be regaling you about it <em>for hours</em> this Thanksgiving unless you figure out how to fight back.</p> <p class="rteindent1">This blog is your ticket. We need contributions to help us fight back against the avalanche of right wing babble. Right. Now.</p> <p class="rteindent1">This is our final push. My cats are down to their last bowl of kibble. The fell hordes of <em>NR</em> are already cackling at their imminent victory. Soon we won't be able to afford the very pixels that make up this blog. I know you don't want that. So please, make a generous contribution today. The first $10 will go to cat food.<sup>2</sup> The rest will go to fighting the dark hordes. And Jonah's dog.</p> <p>OK, I'm joking around here. But we really are closing out our fiscal year next week and <em>Mother Jones</em> can use all the help we can get. If you can afford to <a href="https://secure.motherjones.com/fnp/?action=SUBSCRIPTION&amp;list_source=7Z56KD&amp;extra_don=1&amp;abver=A" target="_blank">pitch in</a>, please do&mdash;so I never have to write a fundraising appeal like this and actually mean it.</p> <p><a href="https://secure.motherjones.com/fnp/?action=SUBSCRIPTION&amp;list_source=7Z56KD&amp;extra_don=1&amp;abver=A" target="_blank">Make a tax-deductible gift by credit card here</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&amp;hosted_button_id=9JQ8KKMWQUQT4" target="_blank">Or via PayPal here.</a></p> <p><em>1: See the Annals of Improbably Convenient Results, v. 83, p. 101.<br> 2: Just kidding. The cats already have a bottomless supply. Your full donation will go towards MoJo&rsquo;s hard-hitting journalism that gets people talking.</em><em> Like our groundbreaking package, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/04/true-cost-of-gun-violence-in-america" target="_blank">"The True Costs of Gun Violence in America,"</a> that <a href="https://twitter.com/markfollman/status/612073338240811008" target="_blank">President Obama alluded to</a> in the wake of Charleston.&nbsp;</em></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 26 Jun 2015 19:00:09 +0000 Kevin Drum 278306 at http://www.motherjones.com Texas County Clerk Refuses to Issue Marriage Licenses to Gay Couples http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/texas-county-clerk-refuses-to-issue-gay-marriage-licenses <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Despite this morning's landmark Supreme Court <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/06/supreme-court-historic-ruling-same-sex-marriage-obergefell-hodges" target="_blank">decision</a> to legalize gay marriage across the country, at least one county clerk in Texas <a href="http://www.dentonrc.com/local-news/local-news-headlines/20150626-denton-county-clerk-awaits-guidance-fron-da-on-issuing-licenses.ece" target="_blank">has refused</a> to issue marriage licenses to two same-sex couples.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.dentonrc.com/local-news/local-news-headlines/20150626-denton-county-clerk-awaits-guidance-fron-da-on-issuing-licenses.ece" target="_blank">Denton Record-Chronicle reports</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Denton County Clerk Juli Luke issued a statement that she would defer to guidance from Denton District Attorney Paul Johnson before issuing any marriage licenses in Denton County today to same sex couples.</p> <p>"It appears this decision now places our great state in a position where state law contradicts federal law," Luke wrote.</p> </blockquote> <p>A sign <a href="http://ntdaily.com/first-marriage-license-for-gay-couple-denied-in-denton/" target="_blank">posted</a> at the clerk's office stated that it would not issue licenses until it addressed "a vendor issue." But county officials may also be <a href="http://www.theeagle.com/news/local/texas-attorney-general-says-u-s-supreme-court-gay-marriage/article_cb1bfefc-1c15-11e5-ab77-e3ee0d003e38.html" target="_blank">waiting for guidance</a> from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who criticized the high court's ruling in a statement on Friday, <a href="http://www.theeagle.com/news/local/texas-attorney-general-says-u-s-supreme-court-gay-marriage/article_cb1bfefc-1c15-11e5-ab77-e3ee0d003e38.html" target="_blank">calling</a> it "a dilution of marriage as a societal institution." The <em>Austin American-Statesman</em> <a href="http://www.statesman.com/news/news/supreme-court-approves-gay-marriage/nmmWq/" target="_blank">reported</a> that at least two other counties are holding off issuing licenses, but that three&mdash;Travis, Bexar, and Dallas&mdash;had already done so following the ruling.</p> <p>Tod King and Casey Cavelier, who visited the Denton County clerk's office on Friday morning to obtain a license after being together for 19 years, told the college newspaper <a href="http://ntdaily.com/first-marriage-license-for-gay-couple-denied-in-denton/" target="_blank"><em>North Texas Daily</em></a>: "We were really excited this morning...We took a rainbow flag and hung it on the house. Then we came down here and got a little disappointed that they weren&rsquo;t prepared for this."</p> <p>Other couples were <a href="https://twitter.com/KWatsonDRC/status/614470390925119488" target="_blank">disappointed</a> as well:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Second couple Sara Nickell and Laura Hernandez refused license. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SCOTUSMarriage?src=hash">#SCOTUSMarriage</a> <a href="http://t.co/UorDEQBhU4">pic.twitter.com/UorDEQBhU4</a></p> &mdash; Kristen Watson (@KWatsonDRC) <a href="https://twitter.com/KWatsonDRC/status/614470390925119488">June 26, 2015</a></blockquote> <p>Obstacles to same-sex marriage weren't just remaining in Texas. Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood <a href="http://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2015/06/26/hinds-not-issuing-same-sex-marriage-licenses/29333011/" target="_blank">said in a statement</a> on Friday that clerks would have to wait until the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals lifts a stay on a federal judge's order to overturn the state's ban on gay marriage.</p></body></html> MoJo Gay Rights Supreme Court Fri, 26 Jun 2015 18:38:57 +0000 Edwin Rios 278556 at http://www.motherjones.com Friday Cat Blogging - 26 June 2015 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/06/friday-cat-blogging-26-june-2015 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>This is a bird's eye view of cat TV. Sort of like breaking the fourth wall, feline style. But how did Kevin get on TV? He was in here just a minute ago. Very fishy, no?</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hilbert_hopper_2015_06_26.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 40px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 26 Jun 2015 18:00:07 +0000 Kevin Drum 278486 at http://www.motherjones.com In a Few Years, Gay Marriage Will Be About as Threatening as Cell Phones http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/06/few-years-gay-marriage-will-be-about-threatening-cell-phones <!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/images/Blog_Gay_Wedding.jpg" style="margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Jonathan Bernstein gets it right on <a href="http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-06-26/gay-marriage-won-t-be-controversial" target="_blank">same-sex marriage:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Perhaps the most amazing thing about the Supreme Court&rsquo;s decision today in <em>Obergefell</em>, which recognizes marriage as a basic right, is that it&rsquo;s not going to be very controversial.</p> <p>....How do I know? Because we&rsquo;ve seen it in state after state in which marriage equality was enacted. There&rsquo;s no controversy remaining in Massachusetts; for that matter, there&rsquo;s little or no controversy remaining in Iowa, which had court-imposed marriage equality in 2009. On a related issue, conflict over gays and lesbians serving in the military ended immediately after &ldquo;don&rsquo;t ask don&rsquo;t tell&rdquo; was replaced four years ago. In practice, extending full citizenship and human rights to all regardless of sexual orientation and identity is actually not all that controversial&nbsp;&mdash; at least not after the fact.</p> </blockquote> <p>I get the fact that gay marriage seems creepy and unnatural to some people. I don't like this attitude, and I don't feel it myself, but I get it.</p> <p>But you know what? Bernstein is right. For a while it will continue to be a political football, but not for long. Even the opponents will quickly realize that same-sex marriage changes....nothing. Life goes on normally. The gay couples in town still live and hang out together just like they always have, and a few marriage ceremonies didn't change that. In their own houses, everything stays the same. The actual impact is zero. No one is trying to recruit their kids to the cause. Their churches continue to marry whoever they want to marry. After a few months or a few years, they just forget about it. After all, the lawn needs mowing and the kids have to get ferried to soccer practice and Chinese sounds good for dinner&mdash;and that gay couple who run the Jade Palace over on 4th sure make a mean Kung Pao Chicken. And that's it.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 26 Jun 2015 17:30:09 +0000 Kevin Drum 278551 at http://www.motherjones.com Are We Still Yammering About Whether the Civil War Was About Slavery? Really? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/06/are-we-still-yammering-about-whether-civil-war-was-about-slavery-really <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Are we still arguing about whether the Civil War was <em>really</em> fought over slavery? Seriously? What's next? The Holocaust was really about Jews overstaying their tourist visas? The Inquisition was a scientific exploration of the limits of the human body? The Romans were genuinely curious about whether a man could kill a hungry lion? The Bataan death march was a controlled trial of different brands of army boots?</p> <p>WTF?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 26 Jun 2015 16:56:43 +0000 Kevin Drum 278541 at http://www.motherjones.com Canada Warns: "Goldfish the Size of Dinner Plates Are Multiplying Like Bunnies" http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/06/canada-warns-goldfish-size-dinner-plates-are-multiplying-bunnies <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><em>A Fish Out of Water</em> was one of my favorite childhood books. A boy buys a goldfish and is warned not to feed him too much. But he does, and the goldfish outgrows his tank. Then he outgrows a flower vase. Then he outgrows the bathtub. Then he outgrows the swimming pool. Finally, the owner of the shop comes to the rescue and gets the fish back to its normal size. The boy promises <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_fish_out_of_water.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">never to overfeed his fish again. Lesson learned: listen to your elders. The End.</p> <p>Except....what if this was more than just a charming kids' book? Could it actually have been a premonition of 21st century ecological disaster? What if there really were gigantic goldfish out there <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2015/06/25/canadian-officials-say-discarded-pet-goldfish-are-multiplying-and-getting-kind-of-ginormous/?hpid=z6" target="_blank">rampaging through our lakes and ponds?</a></p> <blockquote> <p>If you have a goldfish, and you are kind of over that goldfish, to the point where you are now wondering whether it might be best to set that goldfish free, please rethink that decision. That's the request from the Alberta government, which is trying to get Canadians to refrain from dumping out their fish tanks into ponds. Because those ponds are filling up with those discarded goldfish, which are getting really, really big in the wild.</p> <p>Or, as the CBC notes: <strong>"Goldfish the size of dinner plates are multiplying like bunnies."</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>If it can happen in Canada, it can happen in America. You have been warned.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 26 Jun 2015 16:29:16 +0000 Kevin Drum 278531 at http://www.motherjones.com Genius Conservative Compares Gay Marriage to 9/11, Pearl Harbor http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/10-years-ago-we-had-bob-hope-johnny-cash-and-steve-jobs-now-were-gay <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>So, you're a conservative and you're upset that every state is going to be forced to be nice to gay people, so you take to Twitter to share your outrage and you reach for a simile. Not just any simile but, like, a <em>good simile</em>&mdash;one that has a strong tradition and is emotionally evocative and will let everyone know you mean business. <em>Ding! Ding! Ding! </em>You've <a href="http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5166" target="_blank">got it</a>!</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">June 26, 2015: a date which will live in infamy.</p> &mdash; Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) <a href="https://twitter.com/BryanJFischer/status/614446550413115392">June 26, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></blockquote> </blockquote> </blockquote> <p>Now you're getting those faves, you're getting those retweets, you're getting those hateful replies. You're liking this feeling. You're flying high. You're on a cloud. You're on the moon, my love. You are a starship leaving this goddamned solar system! You want to chase the feeling. You want more. You want to never stop feeling like this. <em>Why would anyone ever want to not feel like this?</em> But how can you top Pearl Harbor?</p> <p>You know what to do, baby. You know what to do:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">From a moral standpoint, 6/26 is now our 9/11.</p> &mdash; Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) <a href="https://twitter.com/BryanJFischer/status/614446235194363904">June 26, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></blockquote> </blockquote> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2010/09/bryan-fischer-values-voter-summit" target="_blank">Bryan Fischer, ladies and gentleman.</a></p></body></html> MoJo Gay Rights gay marriage Fri, 26 Jun 2015 16:18:50 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 278521 at http://www.motherjones.com Obamacare Still Isn't Safe, and Liberals Better Not Forget It http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/06/obamacare-still-isnt-safe-and-liberals-better-not-forget-it <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Greg Sargent warns Democrats <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2015/06/26/morning-plum-gop-wont-give-up-fight-against-obamacare-dems-should-take-that-seriously/" target="_blank">not to get complacent about Obamacare:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>House Republicans are still forging ahead with a separate lawsuit against Obama over the law (though it may not be resolved for years). Conservatives like Ted Cruz are still calling for holding spending bills hostage to roll back the ACA. GOP presidential hopefuls Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, and Cruz are all pledging to keep up the fight to repeal Obamacare &mdash; &ldquo;every single word,&rdquo; as Cruz puts it.</p> <p>....<em>Democrats should take continued GOP opposition to Obamacare very seriously.</em> It has serious real-world consequences. As long as states hold out against the Medicaid expansion, it could slow the law&rsquo;s efforts to realize its goal of expanding coverage. One thing this means is that Democrats should redouble their efforts to regain electoral ground on the level of the states, where future decisions about the Medicaid expansion will be made.</p> </blockquote> <p>When Obama won the 2012 election, I figured Obamacare was finally safe. Except....there was still the Supreme Court. But they mostly upheld Obamacare, and once again I thought it was finally safe. Whew. Still, Republicans kept fighting. And things remained dicey as long as Obamacare was still vaporware. Then it finally went into effect in 2014, and disastrous rollout or not, <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_obamacare_nightmare.jpg" style="margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">I figured that was it. Once it's actually helping millions of people, it's safe. But wait! Then there was another Supreme Court case. But that dropped this week, and Obamacare was once again upheld.</p> <p>So <em>now</em> Obamacare is finally safe, right? You'd think so, wouldn't you? But Republicans are obsessed with Obamacare like no other law that's been passed in decades. It's kind of scary, the same way it was scary watching the unhinged Captain Ahab stumping around the Pequod. So no, Obamacare is still not safe. Not unless Democrats win at least the White House, and maybe both the White House and the Senate, in 2016. At that point, Republicans will finally have to give up. They'd have no plausible path to repeal, and by 2020 the law would have been in place for seven years; it would be covering upwards of 25 million people; and the health care industry would&nbsp; be so plugged into Obamacare's rules that it would literally take years to extricate them if the law was repealed.</p> <p>It sounds bizarre&mdash;not least of all to me, who badly underestimated how long Republicans could stay maniacally fixated on Obamacare&mdash;but it won't truly be safe until and unless Democrats win in 2016. I sure hope Democrats figure this out. If you want to know what we're up against, use Kevin's Quick Zeitgeist Test. Type "Obamacare" into Google and then go to image view. Here's the URL:</p> <blockquote> <p><a href="https://www.google.com/search?lr=&amp;cr=&amp;safe=images&amp;gws_rd=ssl&amp;um=1&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;hl=en&amp;tbm=isch&amp;source=og&amp;q=obamacare&amp;sa=N&amp;tab=wi&amp;ei=-HSNVfnbNMLFggSu7YbIAw" target="_blank">https://www.google.com/search?lr=&amp;cr=&amp;safe=images&amp;gws_rd=ssl&amp;um=1&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;hl=en&amp;tbm=isch&amp;source=og&amp;q=obamacare&amp;sa=N&amp;tab=wi&amp;ei=-HSNVfnbNMLFggSu7YbIAw</a></p> </blockquote> <p>Now do a quick count of pro vs. anti Obamacare images in, say, the top 50 results. Not counting neutral photos, I put it at about 10:1 for the haters. These guys aren't giving up. Those of us who support Obamacare had better show a similar level of passion for keeping it around.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 26 Jun 2015 16:07:36 +0000 Kevin Drum 278526 at http://www.motherjones.com Mike Huckabee Set the Bar Really High for the Worst Reaction to the Same-Sex Marriage Ruling http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/mike-huckabee-just-set-bar-really-high-worst-reaction-same-sex-marriage <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>As of 10:01 a.m. on Friday, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/06/supreme-court-historic-ruling-same-sex-marriage-obergefell-hodges" target="_blank">marriage equality was the law of the land</a>, effectively ending one of the most divisive debates in American politics over the last decade.</p> <p>Unless you're former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, that is. Earlier this week, even before the Supreme Court issued its ruling, the GOP presidential candidate called on conservative Christians to engage in a massive "<a href="http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/santorum-huckabee-join-anti-gay-extremists-vowing-resist-marriage-equality-ruling" target="_blank">Biblical disobedience</a>" campaign against the "false god of judicial supremacy," <a href="http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/mike-huckabee-fight-gay-marriage-dred-scott-ruling-civil-disobedience" target="_blank">comparing</a> the widely expected majority decision in the gay marriage case to the <em>Dred Scott</em> case that upheld the Fugitive Slave Act:</p> <blockquote> <p>For a lot of believers, the question comes, do we have civil disobedience, or do we have Biblical disobedience? For many of us, civil disobedience&mdash;when we believe that the civil government has acted outside of nature, and nature's god, outside of the bounds of the law, outside of the bounds of the Constitution&mdash;we believe that it's the right and the moral thing to do. Now I understand that's a very controversial thing to say. But Todd, what if no one had acted in disobedience to the Dred Scott decision of 1857? What if the entire country had capitulated to judicial tyranny and we just said that because the Supreme Court said in 1857 said that a black person wasn&rsquo;t fully human&mdash;suppose we had accepted that, suppose Abraham Lincoln, our president, had accepted that, would that have been the right course of action? And I don't know of anyone, I mean seriously, I don't know of anyone who believes that the Supreme Court made the right decision in Dred Scott.</p> </blockquote> <p>In the war for marriage equality, Huckabee is the lonely Japanese soldier dutifully defending his island bunker years <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_holdout" target="_blank">after the last shots were fired</a>. He just doesn't know it yet.</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Gay Rights mike huckabee Fri, 26 Jun 2015 15:22:29 +0000 Tim Murphy 278501 at http://www.motherjones.com