Blogs | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/Blogs/2010/12 http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en Here's Your Reminder Donald Trump's Two Sons Are Also Big Game Hunters http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/07/donald-trumps-kids-are-also-big-game-hunters <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Tuesday, an American dentist admitted to paying $50,000 to <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/07/walter-palmer-cecil-lion-hunt" target="_blank">hunt and kill Cecil the lion</a>, a beloved animal and popular tourist attraction in Zimbabwe. News of the killing sparked swift condemnation on social media, with many calling for Walter Palmer to be extradited to Zimbabwe to stand trial.</p> <p>Amid the outrage, photos quickly resurfaced of Donald Trump's sons,&nbsp;Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, posing with the dead bodies of several exotic animals, including an African elephant and leopard, they had previously hunted for sport.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/osgAJOApXt0" width="630"></iframe></p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Donaldtrump?src=hash">#Donaldtrump</a> son kills African elephant,cuts off tail to show off <a href="http://t.co/74l9YouWv3">http://t.co/74l9YouWv3</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WalterPalmer?src=hash">#WalterPalmer</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CecilTheLion?src=hash">#CecilTheLion</a> <a href="http://t.co/P7ppYkm5Va">pic.twitter.com/P7ppYkm5Va</a></p> &mdash; Zimbabwe Today (@ZimToday) <a href="https://twitter.com/ZimToday/status/626073016032751616">July 28, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>When the photos initially emerged online back in 2012, the Trump brothers staunchly defended themselves, taking to Twitter to "make no apologies."</p> <p>"In some parts its over populated. Bottom line with out hunters $ there wouldn't be much left of africa. Eco is nice but no $," one tweet from <a href="https://twitter.com/DonaldJTrumpJr/status/179507733672902657" target="_blank">Trump Jr. read. </a></p> <p>The public reminder is just the latest relic in Trump's past to stir controversy. This week alone, the <em>New York Times </em>dug up a series of depositions in which the GOP frontrunner for president once told a female lawyer she was <a href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CB8QqQIwAGoVChMIyqzXlI-BxwIVwWk-Ch0ybQxf&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2015%2F07%2F29%2Fus%2Fpolitics%2Fdepositions-show-donald-trump-as-quick-to-exaggerate-and-insult.html&amp;ei=Vi-5VcqpL8HT-QGy2rH4BQ&amp;usg=AFQjCNHdwo1AP8_88uKMErbZXVv6XDAbFw&amp;bvm=bv.99028883,d.cWw" target="_blank">"disgusting" for pumping milk</a> for her then three-year-old daughter. The day prior, the <em>Daily Beast</em> published a story resurfacing an old assertion from his former wife claiming he had once <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/07/27/ex-wife-donald-trump-made-feel-violated-during-sex.html" target="_blank">raped her. </a></p></body></html> Mixed Media 2016 Elections Animals Wed, 29 Jul 2015 20:28:33 +0000 Inae Oh 280896 at http://www.motherjones.com Marco Rubio Uses Cecil the Lion to Shame Planned Parenthood Supporters http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/07/marco-rubio-cecil-lion-planned-parenthood <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Today, Marco Rubio couldn't resist attempting to conflate two recent controversies&mdash;an <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/07/walter-palmer-cecil-lion-hunt" target="_blank">American dentist's admission</a> he killed Cecil the lion and a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/planned-parenthood-sting-videos-explained" target="_blank">sting operation</a> currently targeting Planned Parenthood&mdash;for the following take:</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Look at all this outrage over a dead lion, but where is all the outrage over the planned parenthood dead babies.</p> &mdash; Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) <a href="https://twitter.com/marcorubio/status/626454765275361281">July 29, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>The tweet, aside from demonstrating a clear lack of grammar skills, mirrors similar statements from the likes of <a href="http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2015/07/29/we_cry_over_the_death_of_cecil_the_lion_but_shrug_off_planned_parenthood" target="_blank">Rush Limbaugh</a> asserting the same blend of crazy. Rubio should probably lay off of Twitter and get back to actually <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2015/07/marco-rubio-2016-job-senator-absentee-120643.html" target="_blank">doing his job. </a></p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Animals Reproductive Rights Wed, 29 Jul 2015 19:16:31 +0000 Inae Oh 280891 at http://www.motherjones.com Millennials Living In Their Parents' Home Is Finally Starting to Taper Off http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/millennials-living-their-parents-home-finally-starting-taper <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Pew has a new report out showing that even five years after the recession ended, more young adults are living with their parents than before the recession. This is despite the fact that unemployment among 20-somethings has dropped dramatically. <a href="http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/07/29/more-millennials-living-with-family-despite-improved-job-market/" target="_blank">What's more, this trend is pretty widespread:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The decline in independent living since the recovery began is apparent among both better-educated young adults and their less-educated counterparts....This suggests that trends in young adult living arrangements are not being driven by labor market fortunes, as college-educated young adults have experienced a stronger labor market recovery than less-educated young adults.</p> <p>Trends in living arrangements also show no significant gender differences during the recovery. However, in 2015, 63% of Millennial men lived independently of family, compared with 72% of Millennial women. But a similar gender difference <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_pew_young_adults_living_parents.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">existed during the Great Recession, and both young men and young women are less likely to live independently today than they were five years ago.</p> </blockquote> <p>But the news might not be quite as bleak as Pew suggests. Take a look at the arrows in the chart on the right. The upward trend in living at home continued to rise through 2013, but it finally began to drop a couple of years ago. That's not surprising since it's pretty likely that there's a certain amount hysteresis in this phenomenon; that is, a lag between the economy improving and kids moving into their own places. This might be because wages remained low for several years after the technical end of the recession. It might be because higher debt levels took a while to pay down. It might be that it simply took a few years for recession-induced fear to end. Why move out if you're not sure the economy is really on a long-term roll?</p> <p>There's not much question that 20-somethings of this generation have it worse than my generation, which in turn had it worse than the previous generation. That means the recession hit them especially hard. But if these trends are right, it looks like optimism about work and income is finally starting to slowly improve. It's not great news, but it's good news.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:47:40 +0000 Kevin Drum 280881 at http://www.motherjones.com Watch What It's Like to Live Amidst Industrial Hog Farms http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2015/07/video-were-hog-producer-world-yay-usa <!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/Q5MxvjYS2-E" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>As I <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2015/07/bacon-jbs-cargill-pork" target="_blank">showed recently</a>, the United States is emerging as the world's hog farm&mdash;the country where massive foreign meat companies like Brazil's JBS and China's WH Group (formerly Shuanghui) alight when they want to take advantage of rising global demand for pork. (If JBS's recent deal to buy Cargill's US hog operations goes through, JBS and WH Group together will slaughter 45 percent of hogs grown in the United States.)</p> <p>A recent <a href="http://qz.com/433750/the-world-eats-cheap-bacon-at-the-expense-of-north-carolinas-rural-poor/" target="_blank">piece</a> by Lily Kuo in <em>Quartz</em> (companion video above) documents what our status as the world's source of cheap pork means for the people who live in industrial-hog country. It focuses on Duplin County in eastern North Carolina, which houses "about&nbsp;<a href="http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/wq/animal-facility-map">530 hog operations</a>&nbsp;with capacity for over 2 million pigs &hellip;.one of the highest concentrations of large, tightly-controlled indoor hog operations, also known as CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) in the world." In Duplin, "hogs outnumber humans almost 32 to 1," Kuo reports. And that means living amid lots and lots of pig shit&mdash;the county's hog facilities generate twice the annual waste of the entire population of New York City.</p> <p>As I've <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2012/11/industrial-scale-hog-farming-screws-small-towns" target="_blank">shown before</a>, the hog industry doesn't build wealth in the communities where it operates&mdash;the opposite, in fact. "Almost a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line, making Duplin County one of the poorest counties in North Carolina," Kuo writes. "It is also disproportionately black and Hispanic compared to the rest of the state."</p></body></html> Tom Philpott Food and Ag Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:33:43 +0000 Tom Philpott 280866 at http://www.motherjones.com There's a New Planned Parenthood Video, But There's Just Nothing There http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/theres-new-planned-parenthood-video-theres-just-nothing-there <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Another day, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xw2xi9mhmuo" target="_blank">another video hit job on Planned Parenthood.</a> Apparently the strategy here is to release new videos every three or four days and hope that mere repetition is enough to convince people that something&mdash;<em>something</em>&mdash;must <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hand_drawing_hand.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">be wrong here. Over at <em>National Review</em>, <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/planned-parenthood-video-baby-hands-ian-tuttle" target="_blank">Ian Tuttle is disturbed:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>At the 10:22 mark of the Center for Medical Progress&rsquo;s latest video, released today, there is a picture of a hand. By the curve of the thumb and the articulation of the fingers, one can see that it is a right hand. It was formerly the right hand of an 11.6-week-old fetus; it is now part of the various organic odds and ends being sifted through on a plate in the pathology lab of a Planned Parenthood clinic.</p> <p>....I keep calling it a hand. Maybe I shouldn&rsquo;t....But I see a hand &mdash; five fingers and lines across the joints, like you learn to sketch in art class. I see a hand in form no different from my own. Or no different from Horowitz&rsquo;s hands, or Edison&rsquo;s, or Michelangelo&rsquo;s.</p> <p>The most famous image Michelangelo painted was of hands: God&rsquo;s hand extended to Adam&rsquo;s....The sculptor Auguste Rodin spent much of his life fashioning hands....Rodin prefigured Heidegger&rsquo;s observation: &ldquo;My hand . . . is not a piece of me. I myself am entirely in each gesture of the hand, every single time.&rdquo;....Galen of Pergamon, the great Greek physician, in his treatise <em>On the Use of the Various Parts of the Body</em>, noted that to man alone had the Creator chosen to give the hand, the only instrument &ldquo;applicable to every art and occasion&rdquo;:</p> <p>....The gods, the arts, survival, history &mdash; all that we are has required, literally, many hands. In the hand, the whole man, and in the man, the whole cosmos.</p> <p>Now, in a pie dish, for sale.</p> </blockquote> <p>That's very poetic, but like the video itself, tells us nothing. Yes, Planned Parenthood donates fetal tissue to medical research facilities. They charge enough to cover their costs, nothing more. Among the tissue they donate are hands. And this is not a sinister "black market," as the video claims: It's done in the open with the permission of the mother, and the tissue is transferred only to qualified researchers.</p> <p>The idea behind the video, of course, is that it's supposed to automatically trigger disgust in us. And it does. After all, most of us felt a little disgusted when we dissected frogs in 9th grade biology. It's just part of human nature, and the Planned Parenthood haters are smart to take advantage of it.</p> <p>But you know what? I'm an organ donor. I'm not sure my organs are actually safe for harvesting anymore, but if they are, then my body will be chopped up and used for its best and highest purpose when I'm dead. Some organs will be used for transplants, I hope. Some will be given to research laboratories. Some may end up as the raw materials for other stuff. If I were alive and watching, I'd probably feel pretty queasy. And yet, no one really blinks an eye at the routine job of harvesting organs and tissue from dead people who have given their permission.</p> <p>This is no different. It's every bit as altruistic and admirable as harvesting useful tissue from adults. Period.</p> <p>So far, the worst anyone has come up with from these videos is that some of the Planned Parenthood folks caught on tape used a "tone" that was unfortunate. Give me a break. This is the way any doctor talks among other health care professionals. They're experienced enough to talk plainly about their work in private, and they make jokes about it like any normal person. It's simply wrong to pretend that this is anything ominous.</p> <p>And that hand on the pie dish? Who knows? It might save someone's life someday.</p> <p><strong>POSTSCRIPT:</strong> And I'll repeat what I said before. If you think abortion is murder, then of course you object to the use of organs and tissue from aborted fetuses. If you don't, then you think it's fine. There's nothing new going on here. It's just a slightly different twist on the same fight between pro-lifers and pro-choicers that's been going on for decades</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:57:56 +0000 Kevin Drum 280856 at http://www.motherjones.com Health Care Spending Growth Will Rise a Bit Over the Next Decade, But Only a Bit http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/health-care-spending-growth-will-rise-bit-over-next-decade-only-bit <!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_health_spending_growth.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">By coincidence, a new article in <em>Health Affairs</em> confirms an offhand guess I made a few days ago. <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/medicare-cost-projections-are-down-stunningly-2015-report" target="_blank">I wrote,</a> "I happen to think the slowdown in medical costs is real, and will continue for some time (though not at the extremely low rates of the past few years)." <a href="http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/early/2015/07/15/hlthaff.2015.0600" target="_blank">The <em>Health Affair</em>s researchers write:</a> "Recent historically low growth rates in the use of medical goods and services, as well as medical prices, are expected to gradually increase. However, in part because of the impact of continued cost-sharing increases that are anticipated among health plans, the acceleration of these growth rates is expected to be modest."</p> <p>As the <em>Wall Street Journal</em> notes, this is is similar to what <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-health-spending-growth-jumped-to-5-5-in-2014-1438114020" target="_blank">Medicare actuaries have been saying for a while:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The actuaries again Tuesday pointed to the stronger economy and aging population as the main factors in shaping Medicare&rsquo;s future spending.</p> <p>Prescription-drug spending, long a target of warnings from the insurance industry, drew particular attention from the actuaries, who pointed to a big rise in spending growth there as costly new specialty drugs such as Sovaldi, for hepatitis C, came on the market in 2014. Spending growth on pharmaceutical products jumped by 12.6% in 2014, up from 2.5% in 2013....In all, health care will comprise about a fifth of the U.S. economy by 2024, <strong>and the growth rate will exceed the expected average growth in gross domestic product by 1.1 percentage points.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>So: good news or bad news? The bad news is that health care spending keeps increasing steadily. It's currently about 17 percent of GDP and will increase to about 20% of GDP over the next decade. The good news is that this is slow growth: only about 1.1 percent higher than overall economic growth. Any other time in the past 30 years we would have killed for a growth rate that low.</p> <p>There's probably no way to avoid health care costs growing at least a little faster than the rest of the economy. We keep making advances, and our revealed preferences are pretty clear on at least one point: we value health care highly and are willing to pay more for it even at the expense of other items. That probably won't be true forever, but it's true for now.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:02:42 +0000 Kevin Drum 280846 at http://www.motherjones.com Michael Bay Made a Movie About Benghazi and It Looks Insane http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/07/guy-armageddon-made-movie-about-benghazi-and-it-looks-insane <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Anthropomorphic stick of dynamite Michael Bay, the director of <em>The Rock</em>, <em>Armageddon</em>, <em>Bad Boys</em>, <em>Bad Boys II</em>, and four <em>Transformers</em> movies (also <em>Pain and Gain</em>&mdash;don't forget <em>Pain and Gain</em>!), has made a movie about the September 11, 2012, attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead.</p> <p>The movie's release date is January 15, 2016&mdash;just in time for the Iowa caucuses.</p> <p>The film, <em>13 Hours</em>, based on a book by the same name, is sure to prompt lots of discussion&mdash;intelligent and otherwise&mdash;on the presidential candidacy of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was in charge of the State Department at the time of the attack. Here's the trailer:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/SqM9eF3vbWM?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Foreign Policy Media Military Wed, 29 Jul 2015 14:58:15 +0000 Tim Murphy 280836 at http://www.motherjones.com Jimmy Kimmel Slams the American Dentist Who Killed Cecil the Lion http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/07/jimmy-kimmel-cecil-lion <!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/_LzXpE1mjqA" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Following news an American dentist admitted to paying $50,000 to hunt and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/07/walter-palmer-cecil-lion-hunt" target="_blank">kill Cecil the lion</a>, Zimbabwe's most beloved animal, comedian Jimmy Kimmel took to his show on Tuesday night to deliver an emotional response.</p> <p>"The big question is: Why are you shooting a lion in the first place?," Kimmel said. "I mean, I'm honestly curious to know why a human being would feel compelled to do that. How is that fun? Is it that difficult for you to get an erection that you need to kill things that are stronger than you? If that's the case, they have a pill for that. It works great. Just stay home and swallow it, and you save yourself a lifetime of being the most hated man in America who never advertised JELL-O Pudding on television."</p> <p>The segment included photos of previous animals baited and hunted by the Minnesota dentist, identified as Walter Palmer.</p> <p>Kimmel's monologue mirrored outrage seen on social media after Zimbabwean authorities revealed on Tuesday that Palmer was behind the brutal hunt. The 13-year-old lion was seen as a national treasure in the country.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Animals Film and TV International Media Wed, 29 Jul 2015 14:31:12 +0000 Inae Oh 280831 at http://www.motherjones.com These National Parks Got an "F" in Air Pollution http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/07/these-national-parks-have-worst-air-pollution <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>It's late summer, and Americans are flocking to the country's national parks for some recreation and fresh air.</p> <p>But a <a href="http://www.npca.org/assets/pdf/NPCA-Polluted-Parks-July-2015.pdf" target="_blank">study</a> released this week by the National Parks Conservation Association found that air in some of the country's most popular parks is not so fresh&mdash;and it's potentially hazardous. The report rated the country's 48 parks in three categories: levels of ozone (a pollutant that can irritate or damage lungs), haziness, and the impacts of climate change on the park. Here are the 12 worst contenders (full list available <a href="http://www.npca.org/assets/pdf/NPCA-Polluted-Parks-July-2015.pdf" target="_blank">here</a>):</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/polluted-parks-list.png"><div class="caption">National Parks Conservation Association</div> </div> <p>Ozone is a pollutant common in smog, and it's particularly prevalent on hot summer days. Seventy-five percent of the parks had ozone levels between 2008 and 2012 that were "moderate" or worse, according to the federal government's <a href="http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=pubs.aqiguideozone" target="_blank">Air Quality Index</a>. Four national parks&mdash;Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Joshua Tree, and Yosemite&mdash;regularly have "unhealthy" ozone levels, meaning that the average hiker should reduce strenuous activity and those with asthma should avoid it altogether. (You can see the air quality in your area <a href="http://airnow.gov" target="_blank">here</a>.)</p> <p>Jobs at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, including those indoors, come with pollution warnings saying that at times the air quality "may pose human health problems due to air pollution," according to the report.</p> <p>Pollution doesn't just make visitors and employees sick; it also ruins one of the parks' main attractions: the views. Smog affects vistas in all of the parks; on average, air pollution obstructs fifty miles from view. Here are some examples of how far visitors can see in miles today compared to "natural" levels, when air isn't affected by human activity.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/visibility-in-miles.png"><div class="caption">National Parks Conservation Association</div> </div> <p>The NPCA didn't look into specific causes of air pollution in each location, but generally, the the report attributes it to the the usual suspects: coal-fired power plants, cars, and industrial and agricultural emissions. Under the <a href="http://www.epa.gov/visibility/program.html" target="_blank">Regional Haze Program</a>, developed by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1999, states are required to implement air quality protection plans that reduce human-caused pollution in national parks, the NCBA contends that loopholes prevent power plants and other big polluters from being affected by the rules.</p> <p>Ulla Reeves, the manager of the NPCA's clean air campaign, maintains that if enforcement for the Regional Haze Program isn't improved, only 10 percent of the national parks will have clean air in 50 years. "It's surprising and disappointing don't have the clean air that we assume them to have and that they must have under the law."</p></body></html> Blue Marble Charts Climate Change Econundrums Top Stories Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:05:11 +0000 Julia Lurie 280806 at http://www.motherjones.com Scientists Say Supposedly Miraculous Ingredients in Weed Killers Don't Actually Work http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2015/07/are-farmers-using-nanotech-fight-superweeds <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Before pesticides go from the laboratory to the farm field, they have to first be vetted by the Environmental Protection Agency. But they're commonly mixed&mdash;sometimes by the pesticide manufacturers, sometimes by the farmers themselves&mdash;with substances called adjuvants that boost their effectiveness (to spread more evenly on a plant's leaf in the case of insecticides, or to penetrate a plant's outer layer, allowing herbicides to effectively kill weeds). Despite their ubiquity, adjuvants aren't vetted by the EPA at all; they're considered "inert" ingredients.</p> <p>I first wrote about them last year, when <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/04/california-almond-farms-blamed-honeybee-die" target="_blank">adjuvants mixed with fungicides came under suspicion</a> of triggering a large bee&nbsp;die-off during California's almond bloom. Recently, an <a href="http://www.agprofessional.com/news/adjuvants-alone-won%E2%80%99t-solve-glyphosate-resistance">eye-popping article</a> by Purdue weed scientists in the trade journal <em>Ag Professional</em> brought them to my attention again. The piece illustrates the unregulated, Wild West nature of these additives.</p> <p>In the article, the authors note that two companies are hotly promoting adjuvant products as a kind of miracle cure for the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.country-guide.ca/2015/07/17/herbicide-resistance-selection-pressure-reducing-options-for-weed-control/46999/">ever-increasing scourge </a>of herbicide-resistant weeds. That's a bold claim, given that resistant weeds <a href="http://stratusresearch.com/blog/glyphosate-resistant-weeds-intensifying" target="_blank">now plague more than 60 million acres of farmland</a>.</p> <p>Odder still, both companies attribute their products' effectiveness to nanotechnology, a controversial, lightly regulated engineering tool that leverages the fact that when you break common substances into tiny particles, they behave in radically different ways than they do at normal sizes. Nanoparticles are so tiny, their size is measured in nanometers&mdash;a billionth of a meter. (A human hair is about 80,000 nanometers thick; nanoparticles typically measure in at less than 100 nanometers.)</p> <p>An adjuvant called <a href="http://extension.entm.purdue.edu/pestcrop/2015/Issue16/ChemXcel.pdf">ChemXcel</a>, from a Minnesota-based company called C&amp;R Enterprises, claims to "kill herbicide-resistant weeds" when mixed with common herbicides like glyphosate. It works its magic through "patented, proprietary nano-drivers" that "alter the glyphosate chemistry" by "coating the individual DNA gene-sequencing molecules internally," the company claims.</p> <p>Then there's <a href="http://maxsystemsag.com/products/ag-products/nanorevolution-20%E2%84%A2">NanoRevolution 2.0</a>, marketed by a company called Max Systems. When goosed with a bit of NanoRevolution 2.0, the company <a href="http://extension.entm.purdue.edu/pestcrop/2015/Issue16/NanoTechSheet.pdf">states</a>, "the herbicide 'piggybacks' onto the nano particles as they penetrate the leaf structure, carrying the herbicide directly to the root system for a faster enhanced plant absorption of herbicides even on hard-to-control weeds."</p> <p>Taken aback by the claims and the use of nanotech, I contacted the EPA to see what, if anything, the agency had to say. "While we are not familiar with those particular products, EPA has jurisdiction over substances that meet the definition of pesticides, that is, claims are made for them that they kill, repel, prevent, or otherwise control pests," an Environmental Protection Agency spokesperson wrote in an email. "As long as pesticide adjuvant products don&rsquo;t make pesticidal claims, they are not pesticides and the components of adjuvants are therefore not pesticide ingredients (either active or inert)"&mdash;and thus not subject to EPA vetting. Manufacturers aren't even required to list ingredients in adjuvants.</p> <p>Here, for example, is Max Systems describes the ingredients of NanoRevolution 2.0:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20Shot%202015-07-28%20at%204.25.52%20PM%20copy.jpg"></div> <p>Purdue weed scientist Bill Johnson, who co-authored the <em>Ag Professional</em> piece, says he and his team found that neither of these "nano" products work as advertised. "I began getting calls about&nbsp;reports that these things were being pushed in northern Indiana, and I thought, we need to prove or disprove the claims."</p> <p>So he and colleagues tested the products on a weed patch known to be glyphosate resistant, mixing them with glyphosate at levels recommended by the manufactures. The results, published in the trade journal <em>Ag Professional</em>, were underwhelming. On its own, Roundup (Monsanto's version of the glyphosate herbicide) killed just 13.8 percent of weeds. Mixed with ChemXcel, it killed 15 percent of weeds, while the called NanoRevolution 2.0/Roundup mix killed 18 percent of weeds.</p> <p>Johnson explained that herbicides are always mixed with adjuvants&mdash;they're typically needed to help the herbicide penetrate a weed's outer layer. But these particular ones perform no better or worse than conventional adjuvants on the market. But they don't come anywhere near to solving the herbicide-resistance problem, as the companies claim to do.</p> <p>C.J. Mannenga, co owner of C&amp;R Enterprises, pushed back strongly on Johnson's assessment and challenged his results. "We know our product works," he said. "We've shown it in Georgia, we've shown in Ohio, we've shown it in Missouri, we've shown it&nbsp;in Iowa," he said. When we spoke Tuesday afternoon, Mannenga told me that he was in Osborne, Kansas, about to "meet with a major [agrichemical] distributor" who is "extremely interested in the product ...&nbsp;I'm going to do a demonstration to show them indeed it does work."</p> <p>While the product's information sheet doesn't list its active ingredients, he readily revealed it to me: "it's just carbon nanotubes."</p> <p>Carbon nanotubes&nbsp; are one of the most controversial nanoparticles&mdash;often <a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/carbon-nanotube-danger/">compared to asbestos</a> for their ability to lodge into the lungs and cause trouble when they're breathed in. This <a href="http://www.sustainableproduction.org/downloads/ECN_casestudy_0325.pdf">2014 assessment</a> by researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell is hardly comforting:</p> <blockquote> <p>Though ecosystem impacts remain understudied across the CNT [carbon nanotube] lifecycle, evidence suggests that some aquatic organisms may&nbsp;be at risk. While there have been significant advances in the regulation of CNTs in recent years, the lack of attention to the potential carcinogenic effects of these nanomaterials means that current&nbsp;efforts may provide a false sense of security.</p> </blockquote> <p>Meanwhile, no one employed by NanoRevolution 2.0 maker Max Systems returned my request for comment.</p></body></html> Tom Philpott Food and Ag Top Stories Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:00:08 +0000 Tom Philpott 280821 at http://www.motherjones.com Mark Cuban Has the Dumbest Reason For Supporting Donald Trump http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/07/the-lakers-are-the-best-team-in-the-nba <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Mark Cuban is a famous billionaire. He owns the Dallas Mavericks. He also appeared on a <a href="https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CB8QtwIwAGoVChMIpPqZr8f-xgIVwZYeCh3Jogb6&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DIAp1Jb_p8G4&amp;ei=n9e3VeSuIsGtesnFmtAP&amp;usg=AFQjCNHI5YjDyTbGa2Y6RNFcASmW3bGdcQ&amp;bvm=bv.98717601,d.dmo" target="_blank">few episodes</a> of the terrible TV show <em>Entourage</em>. He apparently is <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/07/28/mark-cuban-summarized-donald-trumps-appeal-in-just-43-words/?postshare=6231438110823464" target="_blank">quite the fan of Donald Trump's presidential campaign</a>!</p> <p>Why, you ask? Let him <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/mark-cuban-donald-trump-best-thing-2015-7#ixzz3hDFRnNlv" target="_blank">explain</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>I don't care what his actual positions are. I don't care if he says the wrong thing. He says what's on his mind. He gives honest answers rather than prepared answers. This is more important than anything any candidate has done in years.</p> </blockquote> <p>He doesn't care what his actual positions are? You can never know what is in a politician's heart. Literally all you can go on are their actions and deeds.</p> <p>This is bad reasoning and Mark Cuban should feel bad.</p></body></html> MoJo Tue, 28 Jul 2015 19:36:08 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 280801 at http://www.motherjones.com Boehner Planning to Pick Up His Ball and Go Home http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/boehner-planning-pick-his-ball-and-go-home <!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_US_Capitol_0.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Is it just me, or is this trick <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/house-gop-lawmakers-look-for-way-around-highway-funding-impasse-1438091252" target="_blank">getting a little old?</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Mr. Boehner said the three-month [highway] bill could come up for a House vote on Wednesday. <strong>If the bill passes, the House would adjourn for an August recess Wednesday,</strong> a day earlier than previously planned, a House GOP aide said. That would leave the Senate to accept one of the two House highway bills or to immediately cut off federal reimbursements to states for transportation projects. The Senate will have a hard time completing its highway bill before Thursday.</p> </blockquote> <p>I need some scholarly help here. Has it been common in the past for one house to pass a bill and then immediately adjourn, leaving the other house with the option of either passing their bill or shutting down a chunk of government? Or is this something new that modern Republicans have discovered? Historians of Congress, please chime in.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 28 Jul 2015 18:55:05 +0000 Kevin Drum 280791 at http://www.motherjones.com This American Trophy Hunter Allegedly Beheaded Zimbabwe's Most Beloved Lion http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/07/walter-palmer-cecil-lion-hunt <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><strong>Update, July 28, 4:40 p.m.: </strong>Walter Palmer <a href="http://www.startribune.com/read-the-full-statement-from-walter-palmer/318947551/" target="_blank">released a statement</a> Tuesday afternoon saying he "deeply regrets" killing Cecil the Lion and implied he may have been misled by local guides.</p> <p>A Minnesota dentist has been identified as the big game hunter who allegedly paid $50,000 to <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/zimbabwe/11767119/Cecil-the-lions-killer-revealed-as-American-dentist.html" target="_blank">kill Cecil the Lion</a>, one of Zimbabwe's most beloved animals, and a main tourist attraction for the Hwange National Park. Zimbabwean police said Walter Palmer is now being investigated for baiting the 13-year-old lion and then killing the animal with a crossbow.</p> <p>"They went hunting at night with a spotlight and they spotted Cecil," Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force's <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/28/killer-of-cecil-the-lion-was-american-zimbabwe-officials-claim" target="_blank">Johnny Rodrigues said</a>, according to <em>The Guardian</em>. "They tied a dead animal to their vehicle to lure Cecil out of the park and they scented an area about half a kilometer from the park."</p> <p>"He never bothered anybody. He was one of the most beautiful animals to look at," he added.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/H4a2htZ2wIQ" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Palmer has been accused of paying local hunters, two of whom have since been <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/53d983a8f9d5423883a462feb773c18d/zimbabwe-2-appear-court-killing-cecil-lion" target="_blank">arrested</a>, to aid the hunt. According to Zimbabwean officials, Cecil was also skinned and beheaded.</p> <p>According to Minnesota's Star Tribune, Palmer is preparing to dispute some of the allegations. "Obviously, some things are being misreported," he said, <a href="http://lhttp://www.startribune.com/zimbabwe-2-to-appear-in-court-for-killing-cecil-the-lion/318828251/" target="_blank">according to the report</a>. Palmer's spokesman told <em>The Guardian</em> that "Walter believes that he might have shot that lion that has been referred to as Cecil," but added that Palmer believed "he had the proper legal permits and he had hired several professional guides."</p> <p>News of Cecil's killing was swiftly met with outrage on social media. Since being identified as Cecil's alleged killer, Palmer's dental business in Minnesota&mdash;<a href="https://twitter.com/PaulBlume_FOX9/status/626049305380540417" target="_blank">which was closed on Tuesday</a>&mdash;has been flooded by negative <a href="http://www.yelp.com/biz/river-bluff-dental-bloomington?osq=walter+palmer" target="_blank">Yelp reviews </a>condemning the allegations.</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">I hope justice is served to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WalterPalmer?src=hash">#WalterPalmer</a>, the heartless bastard that killed <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CecilTheLion?src=hash">#CecilTheLion</a> <a href="http://t.co/ajHVLOUIti">http://t.co/ajHVLOUIti</a> <a href="http://t.co/LwsmRkrK0R">pic.twitter.com/LwsmRkrK0R</a></p> &mdash; Ryan Phinny (@RyanPhinny) <a href="https://twitter.com/RyanPhinny/status/626064963442839556">July 28, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" height="238" src="/files/yelp.png" width="536"><div class="caption">Yelp</div> </div> <p>In 2009, Palmer was profiled by the <em>New York Times </em>for a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/sports/13elk.html" target="_blank">feature</a> on the controversial sport of trophy hunting in which he described his ambition for setting new hunting records. He told the paper he learned to shoot at the age of five. In 2008, Palmer pled guilty to lying to federal officials about where a black bear had been killed.</p> <p>"We are extremely saddened by the news of Cecil the Lion being illegally killed for sport&mdash;not only from an animal welfare perspective, but also for conservation reasons," Jeff Flocken, North American Regional Director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare said in a statement. "African lion populations have declined sharply, dropping nearly 60 percent in the last three decades."</p></body></html> Mixed Media Animals Crime and Justice Tue, 28 Jul 2015 17:46:36 +0000 Inae Oh 280786 at http://www.motherjones.com Unlike Dad, Rand Paul Is More Interested in Winning Than in His Principles http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/unlike-dad-rand-paul-more-interested-winning-his-principles <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Harry Enten tells us that Rand Paul <a href="http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/whats-wrong-with-rand-pauls-campaign/" target="_blank">isn't doing too well:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Something is awry at the Rand Paul campaign. The main super PAC supporting his presidential bid raised just $3.1 million in the first half of 2015....On Sunday, a new NBC News/Marist poll showed support for the Kentucky Republican declining to just 4 percent in New Hampshire (compared with 14 percent in February).</p> <p>....The more worrying problem for Paul is his favorability numbers: They&rsquo;re also dropping....Over the first five weeks of 2015, Paul&rsquo;s favorable rating averaged 62 percent among Republicans. Just 14 percent had an unfavorable view of him. Over the five most recent weeks, though, Paul&rsquo;s favorable rating has averaged 52 percent, with an unfavorable rating of 27 percent. His net favorability rating (favorable <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_rand_paul_stare.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">minus unfavorable) has dropped by nearly half, from +48 percentage points to +25 percentage points.</p> </blockquote> <p>Enten's question: "What&rsquo;s Wrong With Rand Paul&rsquo;s Campaign?" I think we all know the answer.</p> <p>Rand's father, Ron Paul, always attracted a fair amount of money and a fair amount of steady support. Not huge amounts, but respectable. The reason was that he was never seriously running for president. He just liked having a stage for his ideas, and since he wasn't trying to win, he could stay as true to his libertarian beliefs as he wanted. He had no need to waffle.</p> <p>But son Rand has bigger plans. He <em>is</em> seriously running for president, and that means he has to pay attention to the aspects of his political views that just aren't going to play well with important blocs of Republican voters. From the start he was never quite as pure a libertarian as dad, but now he's discovering that he can't even be as pure a libertarian as <em>he's</em> been in the past. So he waffles. He changes his views. He spends time looking at polls. He worries about saying things that will piss off the white evangelicals, or the elderly, or the pragmatic business set. The result is that the folks who admired him for his principled libertarianism are dropping him, while the rest of the Republican Party has yet to warm up to him. After all, he is the guy who said the ongoing chaos in Iraq was the fault of the Republican president who started the Iraq War, not Barack Obama. He's also the guy who wanted to eliminate aid to Israel. And he's the guy who wanted to gut Medicare for everyone&mdash;even the folks currently receiving it.</p> <p>He's kinda sorta changed his mind on all these things, but that makes him look like a sellout to the libertarian crowd and a opportunistic panderer to the tea party crowd. Is it any wonder his poll numbers have tanked?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 28 Jul 2015 16:26:05 +0000 Kevin Drum 280781 at http://www.motherjones.com Fox's Poll Cutoff for the Republican Debate Works Better Than Rachel Maddow Suggested Last Night http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/foxs-poll-cutoff-republican-debate-works-better-rachel-maddow-suggested-last-nigh <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Last night Rachel Maddow invited Lee Miringoff, polling director for the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, to discuss the way Fox News is using polls to cut the Republican debate field down to ten candidates. Basically, both Maddow and Miringoff agreed that the whole thing was ridiculous because so many of the candidates on the right-hand tail were so close to each other. Is it really fair for a guy who polls at 3.2 percent to be on stage while a guy with 2.7 percent is kicked to the corner? After all, the margin of error is 3 percentage points. There might not really be any difference between the two.</p> <p>For some reason, Miringoff didn't push back on this. But he should have. There are two key bits of arithmetic they left out:</p> <ul><li>A typical poll has a 3 percent margin of error. But Fox News is averaging five polls. I don't know precisely what the margin of error is in this case, but it's probably somewhere around 1.5 percent.</li> <li>The margin of error goes down as you go farther out on the tails. If you have two candidates polling 51-49, you can use the standard margin of error. But for candidates polling at 2 or 3 percent? It's roughly half the midpoint margin of error.</li> </ul><p>Put these two together, and the true margin of error for all the also-rans is something like 0.7 percentage points. This doesn't entirely negate Maddow's point, since the difference between 10th and 11th place might still be less than that. But it does mean the results are a lot less random than she suggested. Assuming Fox does its poll averaging correctly, there's actually a pretty good chance that the top ten really are the top ten.</p> <p>That said, I wouldn't do the debate this way either. I'd rank all the candidates using the polling average, and then have one debate with all the even-numbered candidates and a second debate with all the odd-numbered candidates. Make it a 3-hour show with 90 minutes given to each group. What's so hard about that?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 28 Jul 2015 15:14:54 +0000 Kevin Drum 280776 at http://www.motherjones.com Congress Just Can't Help But Fall In Love With a Nuclear Physicist http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/congress-just-cant-help-fall-love-nuclear-physicist <!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_ernest_moniz.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Maybe you could call this the <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2015/07/28/ernest-moniz-is-blinding-lawmakers-with-science-on-iran/" target="_blank">revenge of the nerds?</a></p> <blockquote> <p>He&rsquo;s blinding them with science.</p> <p>Or intellectually charming them anyway. That&rsquo;s how Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz seems to be winning fans in the difficult fight to sell the Iran deal on Capitol Hill....Moniz, a nuclear physicist with mad-scientist hair, has already been credited as the administration&rsquo;s secret weapon in the lengthy negotiations to secure an Iran deal that will prevent the rogue country from securing a nuclear weapon.</p> <p>....Moniz can certainly lapse into the technical talk with aplomb &mdash; and when he gets to talking about the half-lives of isotopes and the detection technologies that will be deployed to survey Iran&rsquo;s suspected nuclear activities, he can leave his audience in the dust.</p> <p>But in the two years since Moniz became Energy Secretary, lawmakers have far more often noted and applauded the former professor&rsquo;s natural ability to translate complex scientific concepts into digestible terms.</p> </blockquote> <p>It's funny, in a way. Plenty of highly-qualified scientists have testified before Congress, and mostly they get treated as if they were balky university freshmen. But nuclear physics! That still has cachet. Start talking about the half-lives of isotopes and legislators swoon with admiration.</p> <p>Except for dumbest among them, of course, who can't tell the difference between an MIT-trained physics PhD and Dr. Phil. That, of course, would be Wisconsin's favorite son, Ron Johnson. He just wanted to talk about the danger of electromagnetic pulses. Nice work, Senator.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 28 Jul 2015 14:23:23 +0000 Kevin Drum 280771 at http://www.motherjones.com Soon You Might Actually Be Able to Tell How Much Added Sugar Is in Your Food http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/07/hopefully-you-will-soon-be-able-tell-how-much-added-sugar-your-food <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>When the popular news quiz show <em>Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! </em>hosted the country's Surgeon General, Vicek Murthy, <a href="http://www.npr.org/programs/wait-wait-dont-tell-me/" target="_blank">last weekend</a>, he was confronted with the question: What's your one weakness? "Sweets," he answered, "I like bread pudding and cheesecake, in particular."</p> <p>Many of us can identify with the hankering for the occasional piece of cheesecake after dinner. But lots of the added sugar you inhale probably doesn't come in the form of dessert. Rather, Americans get much of their sweetening in the form of beverages&mdash;especially soda&mdash;and packaged foods that at first glance seem snacky or savory (yep, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/03/how-much-food-is-6-teaspoons-of-sugar" target="_blank">one serving of hoisin sauce</a> has two whole teaspoons; barbecue sauce one and a half). While the World Health Organization <a href="http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/notes/2014/consultation-sugar-guideline/en/" target="_blank">has suggested</a> that adults should get no more than 5 percent of their daily calories from added sweeteners&mdash;that's about 6 teaspoons&mdash;the average American ingests roughly five times that amount every day.</p> <p>For decades, researchers and doctors have been sounding the alarm about the negative health risks associated with a diet too rich in added sugars&mdash;from obesity, poor nutrition, diabetes, and <a href="http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Added-Sugars_UCM_305858_Article.jsp" target="_blank">even heart disease</a>. But as <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/03/how-much-food-is-6-teaspoons-of-sugar" target="_blank">I've written about in the past</a>, even if you're concerned about your levels of added sugar intake, it's nearly impossible to tell how much you might be eating: Current food labels don't require added sugar to be listed. There's even indication that food companies have gone to great lengths to keep that information hidden from the public's eyes. The US Department of Agriculture used to list added sugars for popular products in online, but the database <a href="http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=12107" target="_blank">was removed in 2012</a> after companies claimed that added sugar amounts should be considered trade secrets.</p> <p>So in March, the Food and Drug Administration proposed revising nutrition labels to include added sugars on packaged foods. And on Friday, the agency went even further by <a href="http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm455837.htm" target="_blank">proposing to require</a> that packaged food companies must also include a percent daily value of added sugar on the nutrition label. (The daily value would be based on the recommendation that added sugar not exceed 10 percent of total calories, or roughly 12 teaspoons of sugar a day).</p> <p>The FDA has already received pushback from industry groups about the attempt to make added sugar quantities more transparent; the Corn Refiner's Association <a href="http://file:///Users/moatman/Downloads/Corn_Refiners_Association_CRA_Comments_re_FDA_Docket_No_FDA-2012-N-1210_NFP_Proposed_Changes.pdf" target="_blank">questioned</a> the agency's "statutory authority to do so" and complained of a lack of "credible scientific evidence." Meanwhile, <a href="http://file:///Users/moatman/Downloads/FDA_2012_N_1210_Kellogg_Comments.pdf" target="_blank">Kellogg argued</a> that the proposal "to distinguish added sugars...may confuse consumers." Of course, Kellogg happens to be the world's "second largest producer of cookies, crackers, and savory snacks."</p></body></html> Blue Marble Food and Ag Health Regulatory Affairs Tue, 28 Jul 2015 10:09:33 +0000 Maddie Oatman 280751 at http://www.motherjones.com Getting a Home Loan Is Expensive—Especially for Black Women http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/07/race-gender-interest-rates-mortgages <!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://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11146-014-9473-0" target="_blank">A recent study</a> in the <em>Journal of Real Estate and Finance Economics</em> finds that black home loan borrowers are charged higher interest rates than their white counterparts&mdash;and that black women pay the highest rates of all. &nbsp;</p> <p>The three finance professors who <a href="http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11146-014-9473-0" target="_blank">authored</a> the study analyzed the mortgages and demographic characteristics of more than 3,500 households during the height of the housing boom&mdash;2001, 2004, and 2007&mdash;using the Federal Reserve's triennial <a href="http://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/scf/scfindex.htm" target="_blank">Survey of Consumer Finances.</a> They found that on average, black borrowers were charged between 0.29 and 0.31 percentage points more in interest than whites, even after controlling for their debt and credit history.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/mortgages%20race-01.png" style="max-width: 630px; float: left;"></div> <p>The racial disparity was most pronounced for subprime borrowers who couldn't qualify for low-interest mortgages (the left side of the chart above), with black borrowers paying interest rates that were at least 0.4 percentage points higher than whites in the same group.</p> <p>Within this group paying the highest interest rates, black women paid the highest rates of all, at an average rate of 7.9 percent. But a statistically significant disparity persisted even among those who paid lower interest rates (the right side of the chart), the study notes. In this group, black borrowers paid interest rates between 0.1 percent and 0.4 percentage points higher than their white counterparts.</p> <p>Over at <em>Quartz</em>,&nbsp;Melvin Backman <a href="http://qz.com/436667/study-black-women-face-racism-and-sexism-in-the-mortgage-market/" target="_blank">explains</a> how these disparities translate into dollars: According to Freddie Mac's <a href="http://calculators.freddiemac.com/response/lf-freddiemac/calc/home02" target="_blank">mortgage cost calculator</a>, a $200,000, 30-year mortgage would cost a black man about $3,000 more than a white man over the course of the loan. A black woman getting the same loan would pay nearly $9,000 more than a white woman.</p> <div class="atlas-chart" data-height="230" data-id="EJbUQEBv" data-width="640">&nbsp;</div> <p>The study adds to a body of research showing that black mortgage applicants are <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/24/lending-discrimination-black-borrowers-face-higher-hurdles-in-lending-study_n_1300509.html" target="_blank">more likely</a> to be denied credit than white applicants, and are <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/storyline/wp/2014/12/23/if-youre-poor-your-mortgage-rate-can-depend-on-the-color-of-your-skin/" target="_blank">more likely</a> to be charged higher interest rates than whites. It also appears to confirm the racial disparities identified in lawsuits against several of America's top mortgage lenders, including <a href="http://www.phillyvoice.com/two-discrimination-lawsuits-wells-fargo-dismissed/" target="_blank">Wells Fargo</a> and <a href="http://www.justice.gov/usao-cdca/dojcountrywide-settlement-information" target="_blank">Bank of America's Countrywide</a>, which <a href="http://www.law360.com/articles/661239/provident-pays-9m-to-settle-discriminatory-lending-suit" target="_blank">faced</a> hefty payouts in a slew of discrimination lawsuits following the housing-market crash. The <a href="http://www.epi.org/publication/bp335-boa-countrywide-discriminatory-lending/" target="_blank">lawsuits</a> had even prompted the Obama administration to <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/13/business/wells-fargo-to-settle-mortgage-discrimination-charges.html" target="_blank">set up</a> a new unit in the Department of Justice's civil rights division to deal with the caseload. <script src="http://atlas.qz.com/javascripts/atlas.js"></script></p> <p>But the new study also suggests more granular disparities between black and white borrowers. Among black borrowers, for example, younger homeowners without a college education paid some of the highest interest rates. And among those paying higher interest rates, black women, who already <a href="http://sacobserver.com/2015/04/black-women-face-challenges-in-building-wealth/" target="_blank">face</a> <a href="http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2010/03/closing_the_wealth_gap_between_black_and_white_women.1.html" target="_blank">stiff</a> obstacles to economic mobility, were likely to be charged interest <a href="http://www.mtgprofessor.com/glossary.htm" target="_blank">rate premiums</a> two to three times that of what black men were charged. While they do not speculate about the causes of these racial and gender gaps between borrowers, the authors conclude, "it is the more financially vulnerable black women who suffer the most."</p></body></html> MoJo Charts Economy Race and Ethnicity Top Stories Tue, 28 Jul 2015 10:09:31 +0000 Jaeah Lee 280001 at http://www.motherjones.com Donald Trump's Lawyer: Marital Rape Cannot Be Rape http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/07/donald-trumps-lawyer-marital-rape-cannot-be-rape <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>So Donald Trump used to be married to Ivana Trump. According to an account resurfaced by <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/07/27/ex-wife-donald-trump-made-feel-violated-during-sex.html?via=mobile&amp;source=twitter" target="_blank">Tim Mak and&nbsp;Brandy Zadrozny at the <em>Daily Beast</em></a>, the former Mrs. Trump once used the word "rape" during legal proceedings in connection with an event between her and her ex-husband, the current GOP front-runner:</p> <blockquote> <p>Ivana Trump's assertion of "rape" came in a deposition&mdash;part of the early '90s divorce case between the Trumps, and revealed in the 1993 book <em>Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump</em>.</p> <p>The book, by former <em>Texas Monthly</em> and <em>Newsweek</em> reporter Harry Hurt III, described a harrowing scene.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://thebea.st/1MvYVK3" target="_blank"><em>The Daily Beast</em> has the entire "violent assault."</a> It's indeed harrowing. Trump has denied the allegations.</p> <blockquote> <p>"It's obviously false," Donald Trump said of the accusation in 1993, according to <em>Newsday</em>. "It's incorrect and done by a guy without much talent&hellip; He is a guy that is an unattractive guy who is a vindictive and jealous person."</p> </blockquote> <p>It&rsquo;s important to note that this never went to court, Trump never faced any charges, and Ivana Trump herself walked back the allegations before the book in question was published:</p> <blockquote> <p>"As a woman, I felt violated, as the love and tenderness, which he normally exhibited towards me, was absent. I referred to this as a 'rape,' but I do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense."</p> </blockquote> <p>This brings us now to Donald Trump's lawyer who <em>The Daily Beast </em>reached out to for comment. He went on a tirade that would make Trump blush:</p> <blockquote> <p>Michael Cohen, special counsel at The Trump Organization, defended his boss, saying, "You're talking about the front-runner for the GOP, presidential candidate, as well as private individual who never raped anybody. And, of course, understand that by the very definition, you can't rape your spouse."</p> <p>"It is true," Cohen added. "You cannot rape your spouse. And there's very clear case law."</p> </blockquote> <p>Realizing perhaps that denying the undeniable criminality of spousal rape was not the best way to kill the story, Cohen switches gears, making things worse:</p> <blockquote> <p>"You write a story that has Mr. Trump's name in it, with the word 'rape,' and I'm going to mess your life up&hellip;for as long as you're on this frickin' planet&hellip;you're going to have judgments against you, so much money, you'll never know how to get out from underneath it," he added.</p> </blockquote> <p>Trump's lawyer continued to threaten the reporter by saying, "Tread very fucking lightly, because what I&rsquo;m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting."</p> <p>One thing is clear: Trump's lawyer <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/donald-trump-insult-generator" target="_blank">has the same rhetorical style as Trump</a>.</p> <p>Shout out to my friend Nina Strochlic and former deputy Asawin Suebsaeng for helping report the story.</p></body></html> MoJo Elections Tue, 28 Jul 2015 02:12:07 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 280766 at http://www.motherjones.com Obamacare Rates In California Will Rise Only 4% in 2016 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/obamacare-rates-california-will-rise-only-4-2016 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Obamacare's moment of truth is coming. By now we've heard all the scare stories about a few health insurers in a few states requesting gigantic rate hikes for next year. But over the next few weeks, states are going to start publishing the <em>actual</em> average rate increases that consumers will see in 2016. <a href="http://www.coveredca.com/PDFs/7-27-CoveredCA-2016PlanRates-prelim.pdf" target="_blank">California released its report today.</a> It's still marked preliminary, but you can expect that the final numbers will be very close to these:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_california_obamacare_rate_increase_2015.jpg" style="margin: 15px 0px 15px 15px;"></p> <p>I've highlighted two numbers. First, the overall average rate increase is 4.0 percent. That's way lower than you've seen in the scary headlines. And this is for a state that makes up more than a tenth of the country all by itself.</p> <p>Second, the price of the second-lowest-price silver plan has gone up 1.8 percent. This is the figure used to calculate subsidy levels, so it's an important one. In fact, here's an interesting consequence of that number: because subsidies will be going up roughly 1.8 percent, and the cost of the <em>lowest</em>-price silver plan is going up only 1.5 percent, the net cost (including subsidies) of buying the cheapest silver plan is actually going down. As you can see in the bottom row, if you shop for the lowest-priced plan, your premiums are likely to <em>decrease</em> about 4.5 percent.</p> <p>I have a feeling this number is not going to be widely reported on Fox News.</p> <p>Now, California isn't necessarily a bellwether for all the other states. Because it's the biggest state in the union, it has lots of competition that helps drive down prices. A big population also means less variability from year to year. Also: California's program is pretty well run, and the California insurance market is fairly tightly regulated. All this adds up to a good deal for consumers.</p> <p>In any case, the headline number here is a very reasonable 4 percent increase in overall premiums, and a 4.5 percent <em>decrease</em> for consumers shopping for the cheapest plans. These are real statewide numbers, not cherry-picked bits and pieces designed to encourage hysteria. Once again, it looks like Obamacare is working pretty well.</p> <p>This all comes via Andrew Sprung, who has much more detail <a href="http://xpostfactoid.blogspot.com/2015/07/some-sidelights-on-covered-californias.html" target="_blank">here.</a></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 28 Jul 2015 00:28:23 +0000 Kevin Drum 280761 at http://www.motherjones.com Boy Scouts End Age-Old Ban on Gay Leadership http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/07/boy-scouts-end-age-old-ban-gay-leadership <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The Boy Scouts of America voted today to scrap a blanket ban on gay leaders, marking the end of a policy as old as the group itself. The change will also bar discrimination based on sexual orientation in all Boy Scouts of America official facilities and paying jobs.</p> <p>Robert Gates, president of the Boy Scouts of America (and former US defense secretary), <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/05/boys-scouts" target="_blank">called</a> for an end to the ban in May, saying the organization should "deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be."</p> <p>The end of the ban does not, however, mark complete acceptance of gay leaders: Some scout groups, particularly those with close religious affiliations, will be able to limit leadership positions to heterosexuals.</p> <p>Here are some stories that demarcate turning points in the controversy:</p> <ul><li>An <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/04/meet-navigators-anti-boy-scouts-who-have-doubled-numbers-one-year" target="_blank">alternative group called the Navigators</a> gained traction with families fed up with BSA policies against gay scouts, atheists, and families who wanted their daughters and sons to be in the same scouting troop. Navigators USA publicized itself as an organization that "welcomes all people...no matter what gender, race, lifestyle, ability, religious or lack of religious belief."</li> <li>This timeline shows <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/02/timeline-boy-scouts-gay-ban-policy-history" target="_blank">just how long</a> anti-gay discrimination has been going on in the BSA.&nbsp;</li> <li>In 2013, the BSA <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/05/boy-scouts-vote-ban-gay-members" target="_blank">ended its ban on kids</a> in the program who identify as gay, but kept its ban on adults&mdash;meaning, in effect, that once a scout turned 18, he could be kicked out.</li> <li>The Boy Scouts council <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/01/boy-scouts-threaten-kick-out-troop-who-supports-gay-members" target="_blank">threatened to kick out</a> a Maryland pack for posting an inclusive statement on its website promising not to discriminate against gay scouts.</li> <li>BSA funders such as UPS, United Way, the Merck Company Foundation, and the Intel Foundation fled for the hills as <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/01/boy-scouts-verizon-protest-lgbt" target="_blank">a direct result </a>of the Boy Scouts' anti-gay policies.</li> </ul><p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Gay Rights Top Stories boy scouts Mon, 27 Jul 2015 23:31:09 +0000 Becca Andrews 280696 at http://www.motherjones.com Sorry Donald, Most Republicans Don't Actually Care That Much About Illegal Immigration http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/immigration <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2015/07/27/morning-plum-big-majority-of-gop-voters-favors-mass-deportation-poll-finds/?hpid=z2" target="_blank">Greg Sargent</a> has an item today noting that by a 63-34 percent margin in a <a href="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2015/images/07/26/72715cnnorc.pdf" target="_blank">new CNN poll,</a> Republicans believe the main focus of immigration policy should be stopping the flow of illegal immigration and deporting the illegal immigrants who are already here. No big surprise there. But when I clicked over to the poll itself I found a couple of things related to immigration that were kind of interesting.</p> <p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_pew_unauthorized_immigrant_population_1.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">First, CNN asked "Just your best guess, do you think the number of immigrants coming to the United States illegally has increased or decreased in the last few years?" Among Republicans, 83 percent thought it had increased. Granted, asking about the "last few years" is a little ambiguous, but if you assume at a minimum that it means less than a decade, then 83 percent of Republicans are woefully misinformed. As you can see from the <a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/07/22/unauthorized-immigrant-population-stable-for-half-a-decade/" target="_blank">Pew data</a> on the right, the illegal immigrant population dropped considerably in 2008 and 2009 and has been basically flat ever since.</p> <p>(By the way, among Democrats 61 percent think immigration has increased. That's a little better, but still not exactly a proud moment in voter awareness. It isn't just Fox News that's keeping us all misinformed.)</p> <p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_cnn_poll_important_issues_2015_07_27_0.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">The second interesting question was one that asked about which issues were most important. This kind of thing always has to be taken with a grain of salt, but even so it's a little surprising how little Republicans actually care about immigration. For all the attention it's gotten from Donald Trump, only 9 percent said it was their most important issue, the lowest showing of any of the issues CNN asked about. The economy and terrorism/foreign policy were far and away the biggest worries among Republicans. Also surprisingly, health care didn't register very high either. The tea party may be yelling endlessly about the need to repeal the worst law since the Fugitive Slave Act, but among all Republicans, only a few rate it as a critical issue.</p> <p>So....immigration and Obamacare probably aren't going to be gigantic issues this year among Republicans&mdash;or in the general election. As usual, the economy will be #1, and #2 will probably be terrorism and foreign policy in general.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 27 Jul 2015 21:32:11 +0000 Kevin Drum 280701 at http://www.motherjones.com Want to Meet a 9/11 Truther? Go to a Donald Trump Event http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/07/donald-trump-911-truther <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Despite all the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/07/donald-trump-campaign-speech-lindsey-graham" target="_blank">outrageous stunts</a> and patently <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/07/donald-trump-does-not-avoid-women-mandrake" target="_blank">racist quotes</a> from Donald Trump's current campaign for president, the real estate mogul continues to lead as the front-runner for the GOP nomination.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/07/27/5-things-i-learned-by-spending-four-hours-in-the-donald-trump-experience/?postshare=6091438023037152" target="_blank"><em>Washington Post</em>'s David Weigel</a> recently visited a Trump "family picnic" to take a look at the pandemonium surrounding the campaign. It's also where 9/11 Truth Activist Rick Shaddock happened to be before meandering into the press room to ask the following question:</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">excellent segue game from a 9/11 truther, via <a href="https://twitter.com/daveweigel">@daveweigel</a>'s trump story <a href="http://t.co/zSuc7JAyEi">http://t.co/zSuc7JAyEi</a> <a href="http://t.co/LzitlEXI73">pic.twitter.com/LzitlEXI73</a></p> &mdash; Jim Newell (@jim_newell) <a href="https://twitter.com/jim_newell/status/625747632586129408">July 27, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>Trump rejected the question, asking the reporters in the room, "Is this guy some kind of conspiracy guy?" But he shouldn't have been all too surprised by Shaddock's presence. After all, if you're going to peddle outrageous conspiracy theories, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/10/vaccine-denial-conspiracy-theories-gmos-climate" target="_blank">you're going to attract outrageous conspiracy theorists.</a></p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Mon, 27 Jul 2015 21:03:41 +0000 Inae Oh 280716 at http://www.motherjones.com Hillary Clinton Refuses to Take a Position on the Keystone Pipeline http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/07/hillary-clinton-still-wont-take-position-keystone-xl <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Hillary Clinton took a strong stance on clean energy Monday, telling a crowd in Des Moines, Iowa, that her efforts to tackle climate change would parallel President John F. Kennedy's call to action during the space race in the 1960s.</p> <p>"I want to get the country back to setting big ambitious goals," Clinton said. "I want us to get back into the future business, and one of the best ways we can do that is to be absolutely ready to address the challenge of climate change and make it work to our advantage economically."</p> <p>Her remarks tracked closely with an ambitious plan her campaign released Sunday night, which <a href="http://www.vox.com/2015/7/26/9044343/hillary-clinton-renewable-solar" target="_blank">set a target</a> of producing enough renewable energy to power all the nation's homes and businesses by 2027.</p> <p>"America's ability to lead the world on this issue hinges on our ability to act ourselves," she said. "I refuse to turn my back on what is one of the greatest threats and greatest opportunities America faces."</p> <p>Still, the Democractic front-runner refused&mdash;as she has <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jan/22/hillary-clinton-dodges-keystone-pipeline-questions-canada" target="_blank">several times before</a>&mdash;to say whether or not she supports construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. That project, which would carry crude oil from Canada's tar sands to refineries and ports in the United States, is seen by many environmentalists as a blemish on President Barack Obama's climate record. It has been <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/01/breaking-president-obama-would-veto-congress-keystone-xl-pipeline-legislation-wh" target="_blank">stalled for years</a> in a lengthy State Department review that began when Clinton was still Secretary of State. The Obama administration has resisted several recent attempts by Congress to force Keystone's approval, but it has yet to make a final decision on the project&mdash;although one is expected sometime this year.</p> <p>"I will refrain from commenting [on Keystone XL], because I had a leading role in getting that process started, and we have to let it run its course," Clinton said, in response to a question from an audience member.</p> <p>Her non-position on Keystone earned derision from environmentalist Bill McKibben, whose organization 350.org has been at the forefront of opposition to the pipeline.</p> <p>"I think it's bogus," he said in an email. "Look, the notion that she can't talk about it because the State Dept. is still working on it makes no sense. By that test, she shouldn't be talking about Benghazi or Iran or anything else either. The more she tries to duck the question, the more the whole thing smells."</p> <p>Clinton also punted on an audience request to reveal further details of how exactly she would finance the renewable energy targets she announced yesterday, which aim even higher than those already put in place by Obama. She reiterated that one key step would be to ensure the extension of federal tax credits for wind and solar energy that have expired or are set to expire over the next few years. And she said that she would continue Obama's practice of pursuing aggressive climate policies from <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/05/obama-carbon-rules-coal-plants-climate-epa-climate-plan-explainer" target="_blank">within the White House</a>, saying that "we still have a lot we can do" without waiting for a recalcitrant Congress to act.</p> <p>Clinton acknowledged that the clean energy boom would come at a cost for the US coal industry, which is already in <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/04/mitch-mcconnell-war-coal" target="_blank">steep decline</a>. She said she would "guarantee that coal miners and their families get the benefits they've earned," but didn't elaborate on what she meant or how specifically she would achieve that.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p>Environmental groups offered a generally positive reaction to Clinton's policy announcement Sunday. In a statement, League of Conservation Voters vice president Tiernan Sittenfield commended her for "calling out climate change deniers and effectively illustrating the urgent need to act on a defining issue of our time." She also <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/07/24/tom_steyer_s_climate_litmus_test_can_nextgen_force_hillary_clinton_to_finally.html" target="_blank">earned praise</a> from billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, who has set a high bar on climate action for any candidate who wants to tap his millions.</p> <p>"I refuse to let those who are deniers to rip away all the progress we've made and leave our country exposed to climate change," Clinton said.</p></body></html> Blue Marble 2016 Elections Climate Change Climate Desk Hillary Clinton Top Stories Infrastructure Mon, 27 Jul 2015 17:45:30 +0000 Tim McDonnell 280686 at http://www.motherjones.com Added Sugar Is Your Enemy, Not Aspartame http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/added-sugar-your-enemy-not-aspartame <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Why does anyone still choose sugared sodas over artificially-sweetened sodas? One reason is taste. If you don't like the taste of aspartame or saccharin, then that's that. Another reason might be a rare medical condition that makes you allergic (or worse) to certain artificial sweeteners.</p> <p>But that probably accounts for only a small fraction of the people who continue to drink sugared sodas. The rest are most likely convinced that artificial sweeteners are bad for you. But they're wrong. It's <em>sugar</em> that's bad for you. <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/28/upshot/the-evidence-supports-artificial-sweeteners-over-sugar.html?hp&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;module=mini-moth&amp;region=top-stories-below&amp;WT.nav=top-stories-below&amp;abt=0002&amp;abg=1" target="_blank">Aaron Carroll brings the research:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>One of the oldest artificial sweeteners is saccharin. Starting in the 1980s, Congress mandated that any product containing it be accompanied by the following: &ldquo;Use of this product may be hazardous to your health. This product contains saccharin, which has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals.&rdquo;....There was a problem, <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_diet_coke.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">though. This link has never been confirmed in humans....<strong>Based on these newer studies, saccharin was removed from the carcinogen list in 2000.</strong> But by that time, opinions were set. It did little to make anyone feel safe.</p> <p>....Aspartame was introduced in the United States around the time that saccharin began taking a beating....But in 1996, a study was published in <em>The Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology</em> titled &ldquo;Increasing Brain Tumor Rates: Is There a Link to Aspartame?&rdquo; Most people ignored the question mark....There were any number of problems with this logic....Because aspartame was approved in 1981, blaming it for a rise in tumors in the 1970s seems impossible. Finally, much more comprehensive studies couldn&rsquo;t find links....<strong>A safety review from 2007, published in Critical Reviews in Toxicology, found that aspartame had been studied extensively and that the evidence showed that it was safe.</strong></p> <p>....But what about sugar?....Epidemiologic studies have found that even after controlling for other factors, <strong>one&rsquo;s intake of added sugars is associated with the development of type 2 diabetes,</strong> with a 1.1 percent increase in prevalence for each can of sugar-sweetened soda. A study following people for an average of more than 14 years published last year in <em>JAMA Internal Medicine</em> found that <strong>those in the highest quintile of added sugar consumption had more than twice the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease</strong> than those in the lowest quintile, even after controlling for many other factors.</p> </blockquote> <p>Anyway, that's what science says. Unfortunately, science also says that <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/denial-science-chris-mooney" target="_blank">presenting facts to people almost never changes their minds.</a> In fact, it can do just the opposite as people respond defensively to the notion that they've been wrong for a long time. So I suppose no one reading this is actually going to switch to diet sodas. Instead they'll cherry-pick studies that support their previous point of view. Or claim that all the studies exonerating artificial sweeteners are funded by big business and not to be trusted. Or perhaps make an outr&eacute; claim about how aspartame interacts with gluten and animal fat to produce....something or other.</p> <p>That's life, I guess. However, I suggest that you swamp Professor Carroll's inbox with all these insights instead of bothering me with them. He's the expert after all. Or, just switch to water. Then you won't have to worry about it.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 27 Jul 2015 16:51:33 +0000 Kevin Drum 280691 at http://www.motherjones.com