Blogs | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/Blogs/2009/09/authors/http%3A/%20http%3A/www.motherjones.com/mojo/politics/2009/09/study-long-and-prosper http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en A Nice Paragraph About Why Humans Are So Damn Paranoid http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/nice-paragraph-about-why-humans-are-so-damn-paranoid <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I'm reading <em>Sapiens</em> right now, a history of early mankind published last year by historian Yuval Noah Harari. I haven't gotten very far into it, so I don't know <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_sapiens.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">if his idiosyncratic theories will end up being persuasive. Still, it's the kind of learned but big-think book I tend to like regardless of how well it holds up. I wish more deeply accomplished people were willing to write stuff like this.</p> <p>That said, here's a nice excerpt about the dangers of moving to the top of the food chain too fast:</p> <blockquote> <p>[It was] only in the last 100,000 years&mdash;with the rise of <em>Homo sapiens</em>&mdash;that man jumped to the top of the food chain....Other animals at the top of the pyramid, such as lions and sharks, evolved into the position very gradually, over millions of years. This enabled the ecosystem to develop checks and balances that prevent lions and sharks from wreaking too much havoc.</p> <p>....In contrast, <strong>humankind ascended to the top so quickly that the ecosystem was not given time to adjust.</strong> Moreover, humans themselves failed to adjust. Most top predators of the planet are majestic creatures. Millions of years of dominion have filled them with self-confidence. Sapiens by contrast is more like a banana republic dictator. <strong>Having so recently been one of the underdogs of the savannah, we are full of fears and anxieties over our position, which makes us doubly cruel and dangerous.</strong> Many historical calamities, from deadly wars to ecological catastrophes, have resulted from this over-hasty jump.</p> </blockquote> <p>This is just another way of saying that human intelligence evolved too fast for human emotions and morals to keep up. Either way, though, it sure rings true. Just take a look at the current presidential race. If any country should feel self-confident and safe, it's the United States. But boy howdy, we sure don't, do we?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 06 Feb 2016 17:39:48 +0000 Kevin Drum 296121 at http://www.motherjones.com Yep, the "Top Secret" Emails Were All About Drones http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/yep-top-secret-emails-were-all-about-drones <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>So just what was in those "top secret" emails that Hillary Clinton received on her personal email server while she was Secretary of State? The <em>New York Times</em> reports what everyone has already figured out: they were about drones. What's more, the question of whether they contain anything that's actually sensitive is <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/06/us/politics/agencies-battle-over-what-is-top-secret-in-hillary-clintons-emails.html?_r=0" target="_blank">mostly just a spat between CIA and State:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Some of the nation&rsquo;s intelligence agencies raised alarms last spring as the State Department began releasing emails from Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s private server, saying that a number of the messages contained <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_drone_top_secret.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">information that should be classified &ldquo;top secret.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>The diplomats saw things differently and pushed back at the spies. In the months since, a battle has played out between the State Department and the intelligence agencies.</strong></p> <p>....Several officials said that at least one of the emails contained oblique references to C.I.A. operatives. One of the messages has been given a designation of &ldquo;HCS-O&rdquo; &mdash; indicating that the information was derived from human intelligence sources...The government officials said that discussions in an email thread about a <em>New York Times</em> article &mdash; the officials did not say which article &mdash; contained sensitive information about the intelligence surrounding the C.I.A.&rsquo;s drone activities, particularly in Pakistan.</p> </blockquote> <p>The whole piece is worth reading for the details, but the bottom line is pretty simple: there's no there there. At most, there's a minuscule amount of slightly questionable reporting that was sent via email&mdash;a common practice since pretty much forever. Mostly, though, it seems to be a case of the CIA trying to bully State and win some kind of obscure pissing contest over whether they're sufficiently careful with the nation's secrets.</p> <p>Release them all. Redact a few sentences here and there if you absolutely have to. It's simply ridiculous to have nebulous but serious charges like these hanging like a cloud over the presidential race with Hillary Clinton unable to defend herself in any way. Release them and let the chips fall where they may.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 06 Feb 2016 16:01:24 +0000 Kevin Drum 296116 at http://www.motherjones.com What's It Like Being a Gay Soldier Fighting ISIS? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/whats-it-being-gay-soldier-fighting-isis <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I took my third dose of dexamethasone yesterday, and then a low-dose sleeping pill at midnight. I slept from 3-5 am. My body is currently a battlezone between the buzz from the dex and the sedative effect of the Temazapam, so perhaps my sense of humor is skewed. Still, I couldn't help but snicker at the cover of the latest <em>Harper's</em> that I took to bed last night:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_harpers_isis_gay_assad_army.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 15px 65px;"></p> <p>I love all my fellow lefties, even the ones who think I'm a squishy centrist sellout. You keep me honest. But sometimes you just have to laugh at our obsessions. A package about the war against ISIS is a fine idea, but using a third of it to highlight the plight of gay soldiers in the Syrian army? That's so PC it makes your teeth hurt.</p> <p>Of course, you might not find it funny at all&mdash;and you'll let me know it. If so, there's no point in explaining why this is so amusing. Like religion, you either get it or you don't.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 06 Feb 2016 15:32:18 +0000 Kevin Drum 296111 at http://www.motherjones.com Female Genital Mutilation Is Not a Uniquely Muslim Problem http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/female-genital-mutilation-not-uniquely-muslim-problem <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The <em>Independent</em> reports that about 5,000 girls and women in Britain are <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/fgm-cases-in-england-reported-every-109-minutes-a6854911.html" target="_blank">subjected to female genital mutilation each year:</a> "FGM<span> is carried out for cultural, religious and social reasons within families and communities where it is believed to be a necessary preparation for adulthood and marriage." Ian Tuttle is exasperated by their <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/430884/female-genital-mutilation-england-109-minutes" target="_blank">kid-glove treatment of the practice:</a></span></p> <blockquote> <p><span>True. But </span><em>which</em><span> cultures? </span><em>Which</em><span> religions? <strong>Hint: It&rsquo;s not Anglicans</strong>....L</span><span>et&rsquo;s be frank: </span>FGM<span> is not spontaneously afflicting preteen and teenage girls; it&rsquo;s not an illness being randomly caught. It&rsquo;s a barbarous act being perpetrated by parents of young girls in specific and identifiable cultural/religious groups. Refusing to acknowledge that reality does not help to protect <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_female_genital_mutiliation_africa_0.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">vulnerable women; it aids those who seek to repress them.</span></p> </blockquote> <p>Hmmm. "Not Anglicans." Obviously Tuttle is blaming Muslims. Oddly, though, he doesn't come right out and say this. Why? The map on the right might provide a clue.</p> <p><a href="http://www.unicef.org/cbsc/files/UNICEF_FGM_report_July_2013_Hi_res.pdf" target="_blank">According to UNICEF,</a> the practice of FGM is mostly limited to central Africa. It's not common in Morocco or Algeria or Libya or Saudi Arabia or Oman or Jordan or Syria or Iran. Basically, it's concentrated in a small swath of states in western Africa and another swath of states along the Red Sea (those in red and orange). With the exception of a handful of countries, only a small percentage of women who undergo FGM believe the practice is required by religion.</p> <p>Still, that religion is Islam. There's no need to tiptoe around that ugly fact. Or is there?</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_female_genital_mutiliation_religion.jpg" style="margin: 15px 0px 15px 45px;"></p> <p>Basically, FGM is a practice limited to certain parts of Africa&mdash;and although it's more common among Muslims than other religions, Christians are pretty close in most countries. As for Britain, its FGM problem is more due to where their African immigrants come from than it is to Islam per se.</p> <p>Female genital mutilation is a barbaric practice, and Muslims in many countries are far too tolerant of it. Anyone who fights it&mdash;as do many feminist NGOs as well as Islamic clergy and scholars&mdash;is literally doing God's work. But it's uncommon in the heartland of Islam, and in Africa it's practiced by plenty of Christians too. The only way to represent it as a uniquely Islamic problem is to imply it with a wink and a nudge but without actually producing any evidence.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 06 Feb 2016 15:10:22 +0000 Kevin Drum 296106 at http://www.motherjones.com Voters in New Hampshire Are Asking John Kasich About Ohio's Poisoned Water http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/john-kasich-sebring-ohio <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>John Kasich's town halls are different than anyone else's in New Hampshire, and the first person who will tell you that is John Kasich.&nbsp;"White Stripes at a Republican town meeting!" he said, after taking the floor to "Seven Nation Army" Friday evening in Bedford, New Hampshire. "That has never happened before in American history." He likes to make a lot of jokes, sometimes even funny ones, and to direct non-sequiturs at unsuspecting audience members. (Before taking questions, he paused to reflect on a snowball fight he'd taken part in earlier in the day: "I tackled one of my friends!") When it ended, there was a confetti machine and a triple-layer cake for the attendees.</p> <p>But there's a serious message underlying his irreverence: he's a results guy. Take a look at Ohio, and if you like what you see, you should vote Kasich on Tuesday. The problem arises when those voters look at Ohio and instead read about the town of Sebring, where elevated levels of lead were found in the drinking water and residents weren't notified for five months. (Read the <a href="http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2016/02/01/much-went-wrong-to-delay-public-notice-of-lead-in-sebring-water.html" target="_blank"><em>Columbus Dispatch</em></a> for a fuller accounting.) With Kasich in a fight for second place in New Hampshire, and the water crisis in Flint making national headlines, he's finding the issue impossible to avoid.</p> <p>Midway through the event, Kasich took a question from a man who had read about the crisis in Sebring this morning. He wanted to know one thing: "I was wondering if you've had a chance yet to personally apologize?"</p> <p>"Well first of all, our top administration, the [Ohio] EPA, went immediately to the village," Kasich said. "We had warned the village to tell everybody that there was a risk. We have sent tests out; we have had controllers in there working to make sure the chemicals are right, because the water coming in, sir, is clean. And so at the same time we have done that, we took the operator and we got rid of him. And the federal EPA came in and said he did more than was even federally required of him. So we worked on it all the time, we worked on it with the formulas, the chemicals, and we worked to make sure that at the end of the day people are gonna be okay."</p> <p>"Have you apologized?" the man asked again. Kasich wanted to move on, but the next question was about lead, too. A middle-aged woman in the second row, more sympathetic to Kasich than the first man, raised the spectre of the "800-pound donkey in the room" (that would be Hillary Clinton).</p> <p>Clinton had made clear at Thursday's debate that she would be campaigning on getting justice for Flint, this voter noted. And she "wasn't remotely nice" about it. "I understand sodium is being added back into the water and I understand that Sebring is a lot smaller than Flint. But she will, I am sure, bring it up. It's the Clinton machine. So my question to you is she will look at you and say, 'You hired Butler, he even went on television and said that he was a little slow in responding to the situation there.' How do you stand up to Hillary and debate?" (Craig Butler is the head of the Ohio EPA.)</p> <p>Kasich pivoted. "Look, our guys acted immediately and that's how we handle every crisis," he said. Then he switched gears and talked about how many Democrats he won over in his 2014 re-election. But it's a question that's not likely to go away any time soon.</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections John Kasich Sat, 06 Feb 2016 13:18:52 +0000 Tim Murphy 296086 at http://www.motherjones.com Let Us All Take a Random Walk Through New Hampshire http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/let-us-all-take-random-walk-through-new-hampshire <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I'm feeling a little bored, and that means all of you have to listen to me regaling you with a bunch of random political tweets from my timeline. This is, truly, the best way of getting a real feel for the campaign trail from afar. First up is Donald Trump, who canceled an event today because airports were closed in New Hampshire:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">so Trump lied again? Airports were open but he used weather as his excuse to cancel New Hampshire events.</p> &mdash; Cheri Jacobus (@CheriJacobus) <a href="https://twitter.com/CheriJacobus/status/695729343042035713">February 5, 2016</a></blockquote> </blockquote> </blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Apparently so. <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/05/politics/donald-trump-snow-new-hampshire-town-hall/index.html" target="_blank">CNN reports</a> that Trump's operator at LaGuardia was open for business, and the operator in Manchester says it is "always open for business, 24 hours a day." And even if Trump did have airport trouble, it was only because he insists on going home to New York every night. Apparently the man of the people just can't stand the thought of spending a few nights at a local Hilton.</p> <p>This whole thing cracks me up because of Trump's insistence that he's a "high energy" guy. But he can't handle a real campaign, the kind where you spend weeks at a time on the road doing four or five events a day. He flies in for a speech every few days and thinks he's showing real fortitude. He'd probably drop from exhaustion if he followed the same schedule as Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush.</p> <p>Next up is Marco Rubio:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">I've been to like 4 Rubio events in the past month and I already have most of his stump speech memorized. It, um, doesn't change very much.</p> &mdash; McKay Coppins (@mckaycoppins) <a href="https://twitter.com/mckaycoppins/status/695753435736645632">February 5, 2016</a></blockquote> </blockquote> </blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>This is what makes it hard for me to figure out Rubio's appeal. To me he seems like a robot: he's memorized a whole bunch of virtual index cards, and whenever you ask a question he performs a database search and recites whatever comes up. The index cards aren't bad, mind you, and I suppose they allow him to emulate a dumb person's notion what a smart person sounds like. This is despite the fact that he normally talks with the same kind of hurried clip employed by nervous eighth graders reading off actual index cards.</p> <p>Of course, this is just a specific example of a more general problem. Every four years, it looks to me like none of the Republican candidates can win. They all seem to have too many obvious problems. But of course <em>someone</em> has to win. So sure, Rubio reminds me of an over-ambitious teacher's pet running for student council president, but compared to Trump or Carson or Cruz or Fiorina or Christie&mdash;well, I guess I can see how he might look good.</p> <p>And now for some old-school Hillary Clinton hate:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Nice. <a href="https://twitter.com/AP">@AP</a> says "a blogger specifically asked for transcripts of her speeches" instead of crediting <a href="https://twitter.com/the_intercept">@the_intercept</a> <a href="https://t.co/RcWDPL2mCk">https://t.co/RcWDPL2mCk</a></p> &mdash; Andrew Perez (@andrewperezdc) <a href="https://twitter.com/andrewperezdc/status/695761125967663105">February 6, 2016</a></blockquote> </blockquote> </blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Well, I'll be happy to credit the <em>Intercept</em>, but I can hardly say it reflects well on them. This is yet another example of hCDS&mdash;Hillary Clinton Derangement Syndrome.<sup>1</sup> I mean, has any candidate for any office ever been asked for transcripts of their paid speeches? This is Calvinball squared. Besides we all know the <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2016/02/05/what-hillary-clinton-should-say-but-cant-about-her-wall-street-speaking-fees/" target="_blank">real reason Hillary doesn't want to release the transcripts:</a> she gave the same canned speech to everyone and happily pocketed an easy $200 grand for each one. Hell, who wouldn't do that? Plus there's the obvious fact that the hCDS crowd would trawl through every word and find at least one thing they could take out of context and make into a three-day outrage. Hillary would have to be nuts to give in to this.</p> <p>Who's next? How about Ted Cruz?</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Carson campaign uploads <a href="https://twitter.com/tedcruz">@tedcruz</a> voicemails telling caucusgoers Carson is dropping out and to caucus for Ted instead <a href="https://t.co/pYe5gw8DGJ">https://t.co/pYe5gw8DGJ</a></p> &mdash; Brian Ries (@moneyries) <a href="https://twitter.com/moneyries/status/695624938179469312">February 5, 2016</a></blockquote> </blockquote> </blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Cruz really pissed off Ben Carson in Iowa, just like he seems to piss off nearly everyone who <a href="http://theslot.jezebel.com/heres-what-happens-when-you-try-and-track-down-a-ted-cr-1752337625" target="_blank">actually gets a whiff of him up close.</a> This is bad for Cruz because he's trying to appeal to evangelical voters. Unfortunately, Carson has apparently decided that as long as he's going to lose, he might as well mount a kamikaze attack against Cruz on the way down. And evangelicals listen to Carson. If he says Cruz bears false witness, then he bears false witness.</p> <p>Finally, some good news for Bernie Sanders:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">2 national polls released today both have Sanders at his highest levels yet: 42% in Quinnipiac, 45% in Reuters (latter is online poll).</p> &mdash; Taniel (@Taniel) <a href="https://twitter.com/Taniel/status/695769211449245697">February 6, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></blockquote> </blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>As it turns out, the Quinnipiac poll is probably bogus. Sam Wang points out that the median post-Iowa bounce was +6 percent in New Hampshire and +4 nationally&mdash;<a href="http://election.princeton.edu/2016/02/06/the-post-iowa-bounce-goes-to-hillary-clinton/" target="_blank">in <em>Hillary's</em> favor.</a> So everyone should take a deep breath.</p> <p>Still, the big <em>Bernie</em> bounce is what people were talking about today, and it will contribute to an irresistible media narrative. And let's face it: Hillary Clinton has never been a natural politician. Most Democrats like her, but they don't love her, and this makes Sanders dangerous. What's more, since Clinton already has a record for blowing a seemingly insurmountable lead to a charismatic opponent, he's doubly dangerous. If Democrats convince themselves that they don't <em>have</em> to vote for Clinton, they just might not. She has lots of baggage, after all.</p> <p>Is this fair? No. It's politics. But Clinton still has more money, more endorsements, more superdelegates, more state operations, and&mdash;let's be fair here&mdash;a pretty long track record as a sincerely liberal Democrat who works hard to implement good policies. Sanders may damage her, but she's almost certain to still win.</p> <p>And that's that. Isn't Twitter great? It's practically like being there. I can almost feel my shoes crunching on the snow drifts.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>This is a good example of a <em>retronym</em>. At first, we just had CDS. But then Hillary ran for president, so we had to make up a new term for insane Bill hatred: bCDS. And that, of course, means we also need hCDS. It's like <em>brick-and-mortar store</em> or <em>manual transmission</em>.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 06 Feb 2016 01:53:41 +0000 Kevin Drum 296091 at http://www.motherjones.com Clinton's Pitch to New Hampshire: Electing a Woman Is the Real Revolution http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/hillary-clinton-women-revolution-sanders <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Hillary Clinton had some company at a rally for campaign volunteers in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Friday afternoon: four Democratic women who serve as US senators, and a fifth, New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, who wants to join them next January. As she makes her final push in a state whose first-in-the-nation primary she won eight years ago, Clinton is traveling with a group of prominent women politicians who are saying explicitly what she dances around&mdash;that electing the first woman president would be a big effing deal, and you should absolutely think about that when you go to the polls.</p> <p>"This is the torch that must be passed on, that you'll be passing on when you're out there door-knocking&mdash;you know how important this historical moment is for us," said Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. She told a story about a photo of her late mother with Clinton that she keeps on her desk, and related an anecdote about a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee on the subject of paid maternity leave. "A male Republican across the table says, 'Well, I don't know why that'd be mandatory, I never had to use it,'" Klobuchar recalled. "Without missing a beat, Sen. Debbie Stabenow said, 'I bet your mother did!'" The audience ate it up.</p> <p>Stabenow, from Michigan, used her five minutes to tear into the sexist standards female candidates are subjected to&mdash;something that flared up recently when the <em>Washington Post</em>'s <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/bob-woodward-hillary-clinton-shouts-article-1.2519021" target="_blank">Bob Woodward</a> (among other male pundits) suggested the former secretary of state shouted too much. Stabenow was blunt:</p> <blockquote> <p>Anyone see the movie <em>Sufragette</em>, yeah? You need to see that if you haven't. We're almost at the 100th anniversary of the women's right to vote. But there's always a message we get about we're too this or too that. Wait your turn. You smile too much, you must not be serious. You don't smile enough, you must not be friendly! You talk too much and you're too serious and you know, I wouldn't want to have a beer with you&mdash;or I would want to have a beer with you but you can't run security for your country. Your hair! You know, that&mdash;Donald Trump's hair! What about <em>that</em> hair! Come on! So let me say this, and I say this particularly to the women. Guys, you can listen, but the women: Don't do this. Don't do this. This is the moment.&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <p>"When folks talk about a rev-o-<em>lu</em>-tion," she said, elongating the final word in a brief Bernie Sanders impression, "the rev-o-<em>lu</em>-tion is electing the first woman president of the United States! <em>That's</em> the revolution. And we're ready for the revolution."</p> <p>The presence of Klobuchar, Stabenow, and Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire had another effect: It reminded voters that, notwithstanding her claim to not be a member of the Democratic establishment, Clinton has the backing of almost all of Sanders' colleagues in the Senate Democratic caucus. And they're not shy about explaining why.</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections hillary clinton Fri, 05 Feb 2016 20:10:17 +0000 Tim Murphy 296026 at http://www.motherjones.com Friday Cat Blogging - 5 February 2016 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/friday-cat-blogging-5-february-2016 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Here are the furballs up on the balcony surveying their domain. All is well in the kingdom&mdash;though Hilbert does appear to be alarmed about something. Probably a patch of light on the opposite wall or something. Hilbert is quite convinced that we humans don't take the threat of light patches seriously enough. Someday, perhaps he'll have the last laugh.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hopper_hilbert_2016_02_05.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 65px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 05 Feb 2016 19:54:38 +0000 Kevin Drum 296051 at http://www.motherjones.com The Bernie vs. Hillary Fight Is Kind of Ridiculous http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/bernie-vs-hillary-fight-kind-ridiculous <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Michigan senator Debbie Stabenow supports Hillary Clinton: "I think Bernie's terrific as an advocate. There's a difference between a strong community advocate and being someone who can get things done." Martin Longman says this is an example of <a href="http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2016_02/the_democratic_camps_are_getti059521.php" target="_blank">how nasty things are getting:</a> "Breaking out the Sarah Palin talking points isn't smart. Talk about how people view socialism all you want, but don't dismiss community organizers or advocates. This isn't a Republican campaign."</p> <p>I had to laugh at that. Nasty? I'd rate it about a 1 on the Atwater Scale. Toughen up, folks.</p> <p>And speaking of this, it sure is hard to take seriously the gripes going back and forth between the Hillary and Bernie camps. Is it really the case that we can't even agree on the following two points?</p> <ul><li>Sanders is more progressive than Clinton.</li> <li>Clinton is more electable than Sanders.</li> </ul><p>I mean, come on. They're both lefties, but Sanders is further left. The opposing arguments from the Clinton camp are laughable. Clinton is more progressive because she can get more done? Sorry. That's ridiculous. She and Bill Clinton have <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_liberal_conservative_gallup.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">always been moderate liberals, both politically and temperamentally. We have over two decades of evidence for this.</p> <p>As for electability, I admire Sanders' argument that he can drive a bigger turnout, which is good for Democrats. But it's special pleading. The guy cops to being a socialist. He's the <a href="http://voteview.com/dwnomin.htm" target="_blank">most liberal member of the Senate</a> by quite a margin (Elizabeth Warren is the only senator who's close). He's already promised to raise middle-class taxes. He can't be bothered to even pretend that he cares about national security issues, which are likely to play a big role in this year's election. He wants to spend vast amounts of money on social programs. It's certainly true that some of this stuff might appeal to people like me, but it's equally true that there just aren't a lot of voters like me. Liberals have been gaining ground over the past few years, but even now <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/180452/liberals-record-trail-conservatives.aspx" target="_blank">only 24 percent of Americans</a> describe themselves that way. Republicans would tear Sanders to shreds with hardly an effort, and there's no reason to think he'd be especially skilled at fending off their attacks.</p> <p>I like both Sanders and Clinton. But let's stop kidding ourselves about what they are and aren't. Republicans won't be be swayed by these fantasies, and neither will voters. We might as well all accept it.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 05 Feb 2016 19:50:12 +0000 Kevin Drum 296046 at http://www.motherjones.com Obamacare Enrollment Up About 15 Percent This Year http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/obamacare-enrollment-about-15-percent-year <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Open enrollment for Obamacare is over, and <a href="http://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2016/02/04/fact-sheet-about-127-million-people-nationwide-are-signed-coverage-during-open-enrollment.html" target="_blank">HHS announced yesterday</a> that 12.7 million people signed up via the exchanges plus another 400,000 via New York's Basic Health Program. So that gives us 13.1 million&mdash;up from 11.4 million last year. And since HHS is getting better at purging nonpayers, this number should hold up better throughout the year than it did in 2015. Charles Gaba has more details <a href="http://acasignups.net/16/02/05/2016-open-enrollment-tally-127m-or-130m-or-134m-depending-pov" target="_blank">here.</a></p> <p>Add to that about 15 million people enrolled in Medicaid thanks to the Obamacare expansion, and the total number of people covered this year comes to 28 million or so. This means Obamacare has reduced the ranks of the <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_uninsured_cdc_cbo_2q_2015_1.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">uninsured <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhis/earlyrelease/Quarterly_estimates_2010_2015_Q12.pdf" target="_blank">from 19 percent to about 10 percent.</a> Not bad.</p> <p>Obamacare's raw enrollment numbers remain lower than CBO projected a few years ago, but that's partly because employer health care has held up better than expected&mdash;which is a good thing. The fewer the people eligible for Obamacare the better. <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/10/closer-look-2016-obamacare-enrollment" target="_blank">More on that here.</a> Generally speaking, despite the best efforts of conservatives to insist that Obamacare is a disastrous failure, the truth is that it's doing pretty well. More people are getting covered; costs are in line with projections; and there's been essentially no effect on employment or hours worked. The only real problem with Obamacare is that it's too stingy: deductibles are too high and out-of-pocket expenses are still substantial. Needless to say, though, that can be easily fixed anytime Republicans decide to stop rooting for failure and agree to make Obamacare an even better program. But I guess we shouldn't hold our collective breath for that.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 05 Feb 2016 18:07:29 +0000 Kevin Drum 296016 at http://www.motherjones.com Obama Wants to Raise Your Gas Prices to Pay for Trains http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2016/02/obama-oil-tax <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In his final State of the Union address last month, President Barack Obama <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/01/read-full-text-obama-state-of-the-union" target="_blank">promised to</a> "change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet." A few days later, he <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/01/obamas-latest-climate-crusade" target="_blank">followed through on the coal aspect of that pledge</a>, with a plan to overhaul how coal mining leases are awarded on federal land. Now, he seems ready to roll out his plan for oil.</p> <p>The president's budget proposal for his last year in office, set to be released next week, will contain a provision to place a new tax on oil, White House aides told reporters. <a href="http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2016/02/obama-oil-tax-budget-000038" target="_blank">According to <em>Politico</em></a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>The president will propose more than $300 billion worth of investments over the next decade in mass transit, high-speed rail, self-driving cars, and other transportation approaches designed to reduce carbon emissions and congestion. To pay for it all, Obama will call for a $10 "fee" on every barrel of oil, a surcharge that would be paid by oil companies but would presumably be passed along to consumers&hellip;The fee could add as much as 25 cents a gallon to the cost of gasoline.</p> </blockquote> <p>The proposal stands virtually no chance of being adopted by Congress. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the renowned climate change denier who also chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-02-04/obama-to-request-10-per-barrel-oil-tax-for-transportation-needs" target="_blank">said</a> in a statement, "I'm unsure why the president bothers to continue to send a budget to Congress. His proposals are not serious, and this is another one which is dead on arrival."</p> <p>Still, the idea may be helped a little by the sustained drop in oil prices, driven by a glut of supply from the Middle East and record production in the United States. Gas is already selling for less than $2 per gallon <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2016/02/04/gas-prices-are-plunging-so-why-is-everyone-freaking-out/" target="_blank">in all but 11 states</a>, the lowest price point since 2009. Raising that cost would also be <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/01/oil-prices-renewables-electric-vehicles" target="_blank">a boon for electric vehicle sales</a>, which have stagnated because of low gas prices as sales of gas guzzlers have climbed.</p> <p>Obama's prospective Democratic successors, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, haven't weighed in on this proposal yet, although they have both been broadly supportive of his climate change agenda. But the proposal could prove to be awkward for Clinton, who has <a href="http://time.com/4176273/hillary-clinton-tax-super-wealthy/" target="_blank">promised not to raise taxes</a> on families making less than $250,000 a year.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Climate Change Climate Desk Energy Obama Fri, 05 Feb 2016 18:02:19 +0000 Tim McDonnell 296006 at http://www.motherjones.com Ted Cruz Uses Rush Limbaugh in Radio Ad to Take Down Marco Rubio http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/ted-cruz-radio-ad-slams-rubio-rush-limbaugh <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Ted Cruz is hoping Rush Limbaugh can push him over the top in next Tuesday's New Hampshire Republican primary. Here's a spot that the senator from Texas is running on a Boston sports radio station, using the conservative yakker's words to brand Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who holds a slight edge in the race for second place, as a pro-amnesty hypocrite:</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Rush Limbaugh:</strong> "If you're looking for the Republican candidate who is the most steadfastly opposed to liberalism, whose agenda is oriented toward stopping it and thwarting it and defeating it, it's Ted Cruz."</p> <p><strong>Narrator:</strong> "Rush is right. It's Ted Cruz who's led our fights in Washington. To secure our border. To stop taxpayer-funded benefits for illegal immigrants. And it was Cruz who stood up for us against the Washington establishment. When the Gang of Eight proposed amnesty for 11 million illegal immigrants, it was wrong. Ted Cruz fought them. But what about Marco Rubio? When Rubio ran for Senate, he made this pledge:</p> <p><strong>Marco Rubio:</strong> "I will never support it, never have and never will support any effort to grant blanket legalization amnesty."</p> <p><strong>Rush Limbaugh:</strong> "That's what he said. It's not what he did. It was Marco Rubio that was a member of the Gang of Eight, and Ted Cruz that wasn't."</p> <p><strong>Narrator:</strong> Ted Cruz, the only one we can trust."</p> </blockquote> <p>The ad is not an endorsement from Limbaugh, who made the comments on his radio show. Limbaugh isn't quite the voice of God, but in a tight Republican primary, he might be the next best thing. Cruz is talking about immigration every chance he can get in the Granite State&mdash;<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/02/ted-cruz-heroin-epedemic-new-hampshire-undocumented-democrats" target="_blank">even when he's supposed to be talking about heroin</a>&mdash;as he tries to catch up to Donald Trump and keep his rival from Florida at bay.</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Ted Cruz Fri, 05 Feb 2016 16:46:00 +0000 Tim Murphy 296001 at http://www.motherjones.com Here's How Morality Shapes the Presidential Contest http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/heres-how-morality-shapes-presidential-contest <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A few years ago Jonathan Haidt wrote <em>The Righteous Mind</em>, an attempt to understand the way different people view morality. I won't say that I bought his premise completely, but I did find it interesting and useful. In a nutshell, Haidt suggests that we all view morality through the lens of six different "foundations"&mdash;and the amount we value each foundation is crucial to understanding our political differences. Conservatives, for example, tend to view "proportionality"&mdash;an eye for an eye&mdash;as a key moral concern, while liberals <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_candidates_moral_foundations.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">tend to view "care/harm"&mdash;showing kindness to other people&mdash;as a key moral attribute. You can read more about it <a href="http://moralfoundations.org/" target="_blank">here.</a></p> <p>So which presidential candidates appeal to which kinds of people? <a href="http://www.vox.com/2016/2/5/10918164/donald-trump-morality" target="_blank">Over at Vox,</a> Haidt and Emily Ekins write about some recent research Ekins did on supporters of various presidential candidates. I've condensed and excerpted the results in the chart on the right. As you can see, Democrats tend to value care but not proportionality. Republicans are just the opposite. No surprise there. But were there any moral values that were unusually strong for different candidates <em>even after controlling for ideology and demographics?</em></p> <p>Yes. Sanders supporters scored extremely low on the authority axis while Trump supporters scored high on authority and low on the care axis. Outside of the usual finding for proportionality, that's it. Hillary Clinton supporters, in particular, were entirely middle-of-the-road: "Moral Foundations do not significantly predict a vote for Hillary Clinton; demographic variables seem to be all you need to predict her support (being female, nonwhite, and higher-income are all good predictors)."</p> <p>So there you have it. Generally speaking, if you value proportionality but not care, you're a Republican. If you value care but not proportionality, you're a Democrat. Beyond that, if your world view values authority&mdash;even compared to others who are similar to you&mdash;you're probably attracted to Donald Trump. If you're unusually resistant to authority, you're probably attracted to Bernie Sanders. The authors summarize the presidential race this way:</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Bernie Sanders draws young liberal voters who have a strong desire for individual autonomy</strong> and place less value on social conformity and tradition. This likely leads them to appreciate Sanders's libertarian streak and non-interventionist foreign policy. Once again, Hillary Clinton finds herself attracting more conservative Democratic voters who respect her tougher style, moderated positions, and more hawkish stance on foreign policy.</p> <p>....On the Republican side...despite Trump's longevity in the polls, authoritarianism is clearly not the only dynamic going on in the Republican race. In fact, the greatest differences by far in the simple foundation scores are on proportionality. <strong>Cruz and Rubio draw the extreme proportionalists &mdash; the Republicans who think it's important to "let unsuccessful people fail and suffer the consequences,"</strong> as one of our questions put it.</p> <p>....One surprise in our data was that <strong>Trump supporters were not extreme on any of the foundations.</strong> This means that Trump supporters are more centrist than is commonly realized; consequently, Trump's prospects in the general election may be better than many pundits have thought. Cruz meanwhile, with a further-right moral profile, may have more difficulty attracting centrist Democrats and independents than would Trump.</p> </blockquote> <p>So which moral foundations define you? If you're curious, <a href="http://moralfoundations.org/questionnaires" target="_blank">click here and take the test.</a></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 05 Feb 2016 16:10:56 +0000 Kevin Drum 295996 at http://www.motherjones.com Chart of the Day: Net New Jobs in January http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/chart-day-net-new-jobs-january <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The American economy <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm" target="_blank">added 151,000 new jobs last month,</a> 90,000 of which were needed to keep up with population growth. This means that net job growth clocked in at a ho-hum 61,000 jobs&mdash;all of it in the private sector. The headline unemployment rate ticked down to 4.9 percent. This is not a great result, but all the trends were in the right direction. Labor force participation was up, the number of employed workers was up, and the number of unemployed people declined.</p> <p>Surprisingly, this produced decent wage growth: both hourly and weekly earnings of production and nonsupervisory employees went up at an annual rate of about 3.5 percent. That's not bad.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_net_jobs_january_2016.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 25px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 05 Feb 2016 15:17:01 +0000 Kevin Drum 295991 at http://www.motherjones.com Fed-Up Uber Drivers Aim to Disrupt Super Bowl 50—With Their Own Mobile App http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/uber-strike-united-app-super-bowl-50 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A disruptive smartphone app turned Uber into a $50 billion global juggernaut. Now a group of disgruntled Uber drivers, with the help of their own smartphone app, aims to kneecap the car-hailing service precisely when and where it will be most in demand: Super Bowl Sunday in the Bay Area.</p> <p>For Uber, the stakes are high. The big game is in Santa Clara, about an hour from Uber's San Francisco headquarters. The company has chipped in $250,000 to $500,000 in cash and services to sponsor the Super Bowl Host Committee, <a href="http://qz.com/597403/for-the-first-time-you-can-take-an-uber-to-the-super-bowl/" target="_blank">according to <em>Quartz</em></a>. In return, it gets to be the first ride-sharing service allowed to access a Super Bowl game. It will even have exclusive pick-up and drop-off zones at the stadium&mdash;a coup for Uber's marketing department, assuming the company doesn't fall on its face.</p> <p>And that's where Uber's labor problems may come back to haunt it. The drivers, who often <a href="https://medium.com/the-wtf-economy/not-cool-uber-194198bed715#.k987vax0s" target="_blank">make less than minimum wage</a>, are angry because the company <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/carolineodonovan/uber-drivers-protest-fare-cuts-ahead-of-super-bowl#.enlMWZWyM" target="_blank">slashed fares</a> nationwide over the past month. On Monday, several hundred of them protested at Uber's offices in San Francisco and New York.</p> <p>The group behind the San Francisco protest, <a href="http://uniteduberdrivers.com/" target="_blank">United Uber Drivers</a>, has <a href="http://www.ridesharereport.com/uber-drivers-protest-in-san-francisco-plan-to-disrupt-super-bowl-50/" target="_blank">pledged to hold</a> a massive strike on Super Bowl Sunday, and some Uber drivers in other cities have said they will <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1123342764366976/" target="_blank">do the same in solidarity</a>. According to the industry publication <em>Ride Share Report</em>, the drivers intend to slow highway traffic near the stadium and inundate the streets around crowded Super Bowl events in San Francisco.</p> <p>That might not be all. United Uber Drivers did not respond to emails from <em>Mother Jones</em>, but downloading the group's special iPhone app offers a bit more insight into its plans:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/united-uber.gif"></div> <p>Other messages explain that when a push notification is received through the app, all drivers will be asked to go offline simultaneously, crippling Uber's network. "We need you to invite every Uber driver you know," urges the first message, written in November. "This communication technology will allow us to invite, unite and strike effectively without any fear or loss of the business relationship with Uber."</p> <p>But that might be easier said than done. With an estimated 40,000 Uber drivers in the Bay Area, the group will need a lot of downloads to mount an effective strike. Of course, people said the same thing about some startup's harebrained bid to defeat the taxi industry. Uber proved them wrong.</p></body></html> MoJo Labor Sports Tech Top Stories Uber Fri, 05 Feb 2016 11:00:13 +0000 Josh Harkinson 295941 at http://www.motherjones.com We Are Live-Blogging the Democratic Debate in New Hampshire http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/we-are-live-blogging-democratic-debate-new-hampshire <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>As debates go, this one was pretty good. The moderators generally did a good job, allowing the candidates to argue when it made sense, but ending things when it looked like there was nothing useful left to say. This is a lot easier with two people than ten, of course, and also easier when both candidates are relatively civil.</p> <p>Hillary was more aggressive than I've seen her before. Her complaint early on that Bernie was slandering her with innuendo and insinuation (and "artful smears") was tough but, I think, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/yes-bernie-sanders-questioning-hillary-clintons-integrity" target="_blank">also fair.</a> And I have a feeling Bernie felt a little embarrassed by it. He was certainly careful to pull things back to a civil tone after that. Hillary is not a natural campaigner, but she's a good debater, and this was Hillary at her pugnacious best.</p> <p>Obviously foreign affairs are not Bernie's strong point, but I was still a little surprised at just how poorly prepared he was to say much of anything or to draw much of a contrast with Hillary's views. Either he really doesn't know much, or else he thinks his dovish views are losers even <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_democratic_debate_2016_04_04_0.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">among the Democratic base. I won't pretend that Hillary was a genius on this stuff&mdash;almost nobody is on a debate stage&mdash;but at least she sounded well briefed and confident.</p> <p>On financial issues, Bernie was surprisingly weak. This really is his strong point, but he continues to have a hard time getting much beyond platitudes. I get that it's a debate and 90 seconds isn't much, but it's still enough time for a little more detail than "the system is rigged." Hillary didn't do much better, but she held her own and gave a strong response to the two (!) questions about her Goldman Sachs speeches.</p> <p>Overall, I doubt this debate changed many minds. Bernie insisted that we can dream. Hillary insisted that we figure out what's doable. I'd score it a clear win for Hillary based on her aggressiveness and generally solid answers compared to Bernie's platitudes and obvious reluctance to attack hard. But I admit this might just be my own biases talking, since Hillary's approach to politics is closer to mine than Bernie's.</p> <p><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/02/04/sanders-clinton-debate-transcript-annotating-what-they-say/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_debate-print-1115pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory" target="_blank">Debate transcript here.</a></p> <hr width="30%"><p><strong>11:06 -</strong> And that's a wrap.</p> <p><strong>11:04 -</strong> Hillary: We need to "come up with the best answers." That's her campaign in a nutshell.</p> <p><strong>11:02 -</strong> No, neither Hillary nor Bernie will pick the other as VP. Come on, Chuck.</p> <p><strong>10:58 -</strong> But Bernie will happily get suckered! It's campaign finance reform for him.</p> <p><strong>10:55 -</strong> Hillary isn't going to be suckered into setting a top priority, thus throwing all the others under the bus. Come on, Chuck.</p> <p><strong>10:47 -</strong> I thought this was a 90-minute debate. What's the deal?</p> <p><strong>10:44 -</strong> Regarding Flint, I will not be happy until either Hillary or Bernie mentions that we now know lead poisoning leads to higher crime rates, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/01/lead-crime-link-gasoline" target="_blank">"as brilliantly set out in an article by Kevin Drum a couple of years ago."</a> I will vote for whoever says this first.</p> <p><strong>10:42 -</strong> Bernie on the death penalty: In a violent world, "government should not be part of the killing." I have to admit I've never really understood this particular bit of reasoning.</p> <p><strong>10:31 -</strong> Ah. Hillary now gets to use Colin Powell as backup for her email problems.</p> <p><strong>10:29 -</strong> Hillary is thrilled about all the young people supporting Bernie. OK then.</p> <p><strong>10:25 -</strong> Bernie loves the caucus process? Seriously?</p> <p><strong>10:17 -</strong> Bernie: "Pathetic" that Republicans refused to support VA reform.</p> <p><strong>10:12 -</strong> I hate to say this, but Bernie on North Korea sounds about as well briefed as Donald Trump. Very strange situation. Handful of dictators&mdash;or, um, maybe just one. Gotta put pressure on China. "I worry very much about an isolated, paranoid country with atomic bombs."</p> <p><strong>10:10 -</strong> Bernie does himself no favors on national security. I'm closer to his position than Hillary's, but Bernie honestly sounds like he's never given this stuff a moment's thought. At least Hillary has some views and sounds confident in her abilities.</p> <p><strong>10:08 -</strong> Bernie wagging his finger again. I'm pretty sure the hosts will call on him regardless.</p> <p><strong>10:06 -</strong> Bernie really needs to have a foreign policy other than "I voted against the Iraq War."</p> <p><strong>10:05 -</strong> Why is there bipartisan loathing of being "the policeman of the world"? What does this even mean?</p> <p><strong>10:03 -</strong> Hillary: we have a very cooperative government in Afghanistan. You bet. Wildly incompetent and corrupt, but pliable.</p> <p><strong>10:01 -</strong> Everyone agrees that a Muslim civil war is the right way to handle the Middle East.</p> <p><strong>9:59 -</strong> Hillary frequently insists on responding even when Bernie hasn't really left a mark. Leave well enough alone!</p> <p><strong>9:58 -</strong> Hillary provides Shermanesque answer about not sending ground troops to Iraq or Syria.</p> <p><strong>9:46 -</strong> Oh FFS. Is "Release the transcripts!" going to be the next big Hillary "scandal"?</p> <p><strong>9:44 -</strong> Unfortunately, Hillary doesn't really explain her more complicated financial regulation plan very well. There's probably no help for that, especially in 90 seconds.</p> <p><strong>9:42 -</strong> I'm with Hillary on reinstating Glass-Steagall. To me, it's the Democratic equivalent of raising the retirement age to save Social Security: easy to understand, but not the best answer by a long way.</p> <p><strong>9:41 -</strong> Hillary defends her Goldman Sachs speeches competently, but Bernie doesn't really fight back. He just provides a generic answer about the pernicious power of Wall Street.</p> <p><strong>9:31 -</strong> Hillary is attacking very hard tonight. Bernie voted to deregulate derivatives! Not that there's anything wrong with that. You think she's played this game before? Bernie responds by telling people to look up a YouTube.</p> <p><strong>9:29 -</strong> Bernie answers with generic criticism of special interests and money in politics. Not a strong response.</p> <p><strong>9:27 -</strong> Hillary criticizes Bernie for claiming to run a positive campaign, but constantly attacking her "by innuendo, by insinuation." Then she asks him to stop the "artful smear" he's been carrying out against her. This is a tough hit on Bernie.</p> <p><strong>9:26 -</strong> Hillary: "I won't make big promises." Not sure that came out as well as it should have.</p> <p><strong>9:23 -</strong> I think Hillary missed a chance to say that of course Bernie is a Democrat and he shouldn't have to defend himself on that score. It would have been a nice moment for her with no downside.</p> <p><strong>9:19 -</strong> Hillary refers to Bernie as "self-appointed gatekeeper" of who's a progressive. Ouch.</p> <p><strong>9:17 -</strong> Bernie: Obama was a progressive by 2008 standards.</p> <p><strong>9:15 -</strong> Bernie: none of his ideas are radical. True enough, by non-American standards.</p> <p><strong>9:14 -</strong> Good answer from Hillary on whether she's progressive enough: Under Bernie's standards, no one in the party is truly progressive.</p> <p><strong>9:07 -</strong> Hillary: "The numbers just don't add up" for all of Bernie's proposals.</p> <p><strong>9:01 -</strong> I see that Rachel Maddow is as excited as I am that Martin O'Malley has dropped out.</p> <p><strong>9:00 -</strong> And with that, on with the debate!</p> <p><strong>8:58 -</strong> This is the second election cycle in which I've liked both of the Democratic frontrunners. In 2008 I ended up leaning for Obama, which I don't regret. This year I'm leaning toward Hillary. Both times, however, I've been surprised at how fast things turned ugly. But ugly they've turned.</p> <p><strong>8:53 -</strong> Last night on Twitter I said that Hillary Clinton had given a terrible answer to the Goldman Sachs speech question. I was immediately besieged with outraged comments about how I was just another Beltway shill who's always hated Hillary. This morning I wrote that Bernie Sanders was disingenuously pretending not to criticize Clinton over her Wall Street contributions even though he obviously was. I was immediately besieged with outraged comments about how I was just another Beltway shill who's always been in the bag for Hillary. Welcome to the Democratic primaries.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum 2016 Elections Elections Hillary Clinton Top Stories bernie sanders Fri, 05 Feb 2016 01:53:28 +0000 Kevin Drum 295961 at http://www.motherjones.com Rubio Feasts on the Leftovers in New Hampshire http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/rubio-feasts-leftovers-new-hampshire <!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_new_hampshire_gop_poll_2016_02_04_0.jpg" style="margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Apologies for two polls in one day, but the <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/04/politics/new-hampshire-republican-cnn-wmur-poll/index.html" target="_blank">latest CNN poll</a> shows something interesting in the Republican race. Donald Trump is still in the lead in New Hampshire, but in the wake of the Iowa caucuses Marco Rubio has picked up a lot of support. Basically, several other folks have either left the race or lost their fan base, and nearly all of it has gone to Rubio.</p> <p>It's only one poll, and the absolute margin of error is large, but it probably shows the trend fairly well. And what it suggests is that as the also-rans steadily drop out of the race, Rubio is picking up the bulk of their support. If this happens in other states as well, Rubio could be well on his way to building a commanding lead.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 05 Feb 2016 01:25:55 +0000 Kevin Drum 295981 at http://www.motherjones.com Ted Cruz Attacks Sean Penn—and Here's Penn's Response http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/ted-cruz-sean-penn-el-chapo <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>At an addiction policy forum in Hooksett, New Hampshire, on Thursday, Sen. Ted Cruz, the winner of the Republican Iowa caucuses, turned his talk about the awful consequences of addiction into <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/ted-cruz-sean-penn-el-chapo" target="_blank">a rant against&hellip;illegal immigration</a>. And, of course, the media and Hollywood. After describing how addiction has affected his family&mdash;his half sister died of a drug overdose in 2011&mdash;Cruz quickly pivoted to discuss the flood of "undocumented Democrats" (Freudian slip?) coming across the border from Mexico and the need to build a wall to keep them out. He suggested the wall was also needed to protect the United States from drug cartels. Then he turned to the entertainment industry and one member in particular:</p> <blockquote> <p>El Chapo. You know, Sean Penn seems to think he is a sexy and attractive character. I <em>so</em> appreciate Hollywood for glorifying vicious homicidal killers. What a cute and chic thing to celebrate. Someone who murders and destroys lives for a living. El Chapo's organization brings vast quantities of drugs into this country, vast quantities of heroin.</p> </blockquote> <p>Of course, this was a reference to Sean Penn's recent <em>Rolling Stone </em><a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/el-chapo-speaks-20160109" target="_blank">article</a>, in which Penn conducted an interview with the fugitive drug cartel chieftain in a secret jungle location. The piece did not celebrate El Chapo&mdash;but Cruz was looking to blame all the usual suspects for the drug epidemic in New England: the media, Democrats, and a big-name actor.</p> <p>Asked to respond to Cruz's effort to link him to the addiction plague in the Granite State, Penn, in an email, told <em>Mother Jones</em>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Ted Cruz is a generically funny and dangerously adept thought-smith. Clearly, he watches too much television and neglected to read my article before criticizing. It's understood. He's busy trading genius and raising aspirations with Mr. Trump. Blame Canada.</p> </blockquote> <p>Penn's last sentence is a reference to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOR38552MJA" target="_blank">this</a>.</p> <p>We've asked the Cruz campaign if it would like to respond&mdash;and whether the senator is a fan of <em>South Park. </em></p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Thu, 04 Feb 2016 22:33:19 +0000 David Corn 295956 at http://www.motherjones.com More Classified Emails Found on Private Server http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/more-classified-emails-found-private-server <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The indefatigable Ken Dilanian reports the latest news on <a href="http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/rice-aides-powell-also-got-classified-info-personal-emails" target="_blank">classified information being sent to private email accounts:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The State Department&rsquo;s Inspector General has found <strong>classified information sent to the personal email accounts of former Secretary of State Colin Powell and the senior <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_colin_powell.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">staff of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice,</strong> NBC News has learned.</p> <p>In a letter to Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy dated Feb. 3, State Department Inspector General Steve Linick said that the State Department has determined that 12 emails examined from State&rsquo;s archives contained national security information now classified &ldquo;Secret&rdquo; or &ldquo;Confidential.&rdquo; The letter was read to NBC News.</p> <p>....Colin Powell told NBC News he strongly disputed that the information in the messages was classified, and characterized the contents as innocuous. <strong>Said Powell, &ldquo;I wish they would release them so that a normal, air-breathing mammal would look at them and say, &lsquo;What&rsquo;s the issue?&rsquo;&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Sorry, Colin! It's an election year, and no normal mammals are to be found. Just the usual horde of hacks and bottom-feeders.</p> <p>FWIW, I agree with him. Just release everything. Aside from a few zealots at the CIA playing stupid interagency games, nobody who's actually seen any of these emails seems to think there's anything even slightly confidential about any of them. It's long past time to cut the crap and put this whole thing to bed one way or the other.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 04 Feb 2016 19:42:41 +0000 Kevin Drum 295936 at http://www.motherjones.com Debate Live-Blogging Tonight! http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/debate-liveblogging-tonight <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I don't find the Democratic debates nearly as interesting as the Republican slugfests, but I'll be liveblogging tonight's showdown regardless. It's on MSNBC at 9 pm Eastern, and for the first time we don't have to waste a third of our questions on Martin O'Malley. That alone makes it worth tuning in.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 04 Feb 2016 19:01:03 +0000 Kevin Drum 295931 at http://www.motherjones.com Donald Trump Losing Steam After Iowa Loss http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/donald-trump-losing-steam-after-iowa-loss <!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_gop_poll_ppp_2016_02_04_0.jpg" style="margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">It's only one poll, and a national poll at that, but PPP says Donald Trump is <a href="http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/2015/PPP_Release_National_20416.pdf" target="_blank">suffering badly from his loss in Iowa:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>"Donald Trump's really seen some cratering in his support this week," said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. "A key part of his message has always been that he's a winner and now that he's lost something Republicans&mdash;and especially conservatives&mdash;aren't finding him as compelling as they did a few weeks ago." [Marco] Rubio is the candidate with the real momentum in the race. He's up 8 points from his 13% standing in our poll right before Christmas."</p> </blockquote> <p>Trump is still a few points ahead in the main polling, but PPP also polled a three-man race between Trump, Rubio, and Ted Cruz. The winner was Rubio. Trump can huff and puff and threaten to sue the entire state of Iowa&mdash;in other words, his usual MO&mdash;but it's not going to change things. Live by the polls, die by the polls.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 04 Feb 2016 18:54:49 +0000 Kevin Drum 295926 at http://www.motherjones.com This Is How Much the Koch Brothers Hate Donald Trump http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/koch-brothers-have-donald-trump-problem <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>There is one man standing in the way of the Koch brothers' plans to elect a free-market conservative to the White House in November. His name is Donald J. Trump.</p> <p>The Kochs, whose fascinating political evolution I detail in my book <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Sons-Wichita-Brothers-Americas-Powerful/dp/1455518727" target="_blank">Sons of Wichita</a>,</em> are not fans of the bombastic real estate mogul whose positions on everything from taxes to foreign policy are at odds with theirs. Charles Koch has said Trump's plan to create a Muslim registry would <a href="http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/3a5c5d40-b4a3-11e5-b147-e5e5bba42e51.html" target="_blank">"destroy our free society"</a>&mdash;and for months Trump has been a source of debate and discussion within their donor network, which is <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/27/us/politics/kochs-plan-to-spend-900-million-on-2016-campaign.html?_r=0" target="_blank">raising nearly $900 million</a> for the 2016 elections. Early on in the race, some members of the network believed, as did almost everyone else, that Trump would implode on his own. Some still do. And a very small handful of Koch network donors are Trump supporters. But in recent months, the Kochs and their allies&mdash;who now are largely leaning toward Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz&mdash;have considered a campaign targeting Trump, whose candidacy they believe poses a threat to the Republican Party, if not the country at large.</p> <p>The Kochs' Trump problem is the topic of my <a href="http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/02/koch-brothers-take-on-trump" target="_blank">new piece,</a> just out at <em>Vanity Fair</em>. I report:</p> <blockquote> <p>But Trump's second-place Iowa finish was more a blow to his ego, in some respect, than the viability of his campaign. If he prevails in New Hampshire, where he's maintaining a huge lead in the polls, pressure is likely to mount within the Koch network to launch an offensive before a march to the nomination gains formidable momentum. When the Kochs and several hundred of their allies gathered last weekend for another summit, halting Trump was a major topic of discussion.</p> <p>What form might this attack take? According to <em>The Hill</em>, the Kochs' operatives have carefully assessed Trump's vulnerabilities&mdash;and those of the other candidates&mdash;and determined that highlighting his track record of bankruptcies and predatory business deals harms his standing with likely voters. (The Democrats deployed a similar strategy, to great effect, against Romney's "vulture capitalism.")</p> <p>"As to whether we would mount something like that, everything is on the table,&rdquo; one senior Koch official told me. "But there's no real plan. In all of our meetings we've discussed it."</p> <p>One thing that has held the Koch network back so far, in addition to the Trump backers within their ranks, is the concern that taking on Trump would inevitably draw the thin-skinned tycoon's legendary invective, which it almost certainly would. If the Kochs go after Trump, rest assured that he will take every opportunity to highlight how he's being attacked by a cabal of billionaires seeking to control the outcome of the election. And this more or less explains their caution to this point. By taking on Trump, the Kochs risk lending credence to his claims of being an outsider who is battling against a corrupt political system rigged by the elites.</p> </blockquote> <p>If Trump performs poorly in New Hampshire, the Koch network may be able to avoid a damaging showdown. But if he wins, it may already be too late to halt the runaway Trump train, especially if there's no Trump-targeting campaign in the can. So what happens if Trump seizes the nomination? Here's where things get very interesting.</p> <blockquote> <p>If Trump becomes the nominee and he faces self-declared socialist Bernie Sanders in November, the senior Koch official explains, members of the donor network are likely to hold their noses and back Trump's candidacy. But there's another scenario that could prove far more controversial and possibly damaging for the network: a Trump-versus-Clinton matchup. There is absolutely no love between the Clintons and the Kochs, whose company experienced one of the most traumatic periods in its history as it fought off regulators during Bill Clinton's presidency. But, so strong is the dislike for Trump within Koch network, that a Clinton-Trump race is a tough call. "I could see the network not participating in the presidential election at all," says the senior Koch official.</p> </blockquote> <p>This doesn't mean the Koch network would stand down in 2016 entirely. Under this scenario, donors would instead channel their resources into other races. If this were to occur&mdash;and it's a very big <em>if</em>&mdash;that would be a stunning development for a network of donors that has been amassing such a huge warchest for the presidential race.</p> <p>Read the full story <a href="http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/02/koch-brothers-take-on-trump" target="_blank">here</a>.</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Thu, 04 Feb 2016 18:02:49 +0000 Daniel Schulman 295911 at http://www.motherjones.com Watch a Very Smug Martin Shkreli Invoke the Fifth Amendment http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/watch-very-smug-martin-shkreli-invoke-fifth-amendment <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Martin Shkreli, the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/12/pharma-ceo-martin-shkreli-was-just-arrested-securities-fraud" target="_blank">former pharmaceuticals executive</a> who sparked national outrage after it was discovered he price-gouged a drug by more than 5,000 percent, appeared before the House<strong> </strong>Oversight committee on Thursday for a hearing<strong> </strong>on pharmaceutical pricing. When members of the committee asked him about the price-fixing that led to a federal investigation of his company, Shkreli repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege "against self-incrimination" and refused to answer.</p> <p>He instead let his smug smile<strong> </strong>speak for itself<strong>, </strong>while Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md) described the struggles of his constituents to pay for their medicine.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MwHnqtqO2b4" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>At one point, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) asked Shkreli how to pronounce his name, to which he received a rare response. Gowdy then said, "See, there you can answer some questions&mdash;that one didn't incriminate you!"</p> <p>Gowdy continued, "I just want to make sure you understand you are welcome to answer questions and not all of your answers are going to subject you to incrimination. You understand that, don't you?"</p> <p>"I intend to follow the advice of my counsel," Shkreli replied. "Not yours."</p> <p>Shkreli, who was once labeled the "most hated man in America," repeatedly invoked the Fifth Amendment, even when he was asked what he would say if given the chance to speak to people with HIV/AIDS who<strong> </strong>were unable to purchase the drug Darapim after his dramatic price hike. He also refused to discuss his $2 million purchase of a Wu-Tang clan album.</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Video: MartinShkreli asked about <a href="https://twitter.com/WuTangClan">@WuTangClan</a> purchase during committee hearing. <a href="https://t.co/rNGHdjVw7y">https://t.co/rNGHdjVw7y</a></p> &mdash; Lisa Tozzi (@lisatozzi) <a href="https://twitter.com/lisatozzi/status/695277756523941889">February 4, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>Shkreli's choice to remain silent comes after weeks of defiant Twitter rants and a bizarre diss video aimed at Ghostface Killah, after the rapper publicly mocked him:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lI9jywQ4cgc" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>After he left the hearing on Thursday, however, Shkreli started communicating and posted this on Twitter:</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Hard to accept that these imbeciles represent the people in our government.</p> &mdash; Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) <a href="https://twitter.com/MartinShkreli/status/695264859907317761">February 4, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center></body></html> MoJo Crime and Justice Pharma Thu, 04 Feb 2016 17:53:47 +0000 Inae Oh 295896 at http://www.motherjones.com Flint Probably Has Bigger Problems Than Lead Pipes http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/flint-probably-has-bigger-problems-lead-pipes <!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.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2016/02/flint_mayor_karen_weaver_calls.html" target="_blank">The latest from Flint:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Mayor Karen Weaver is calling for immediate removal of lead pipes from Flint's water distribution system, and is expected to detail her request at a news conference later Tuesday, Feb. 2....<strong>Replacing all of Flint's lead service lines has been estimated to cost more than $60 million.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2016/02/11_cities_in_jersey_have_more_lead-affected_kids_t.html" target="_blank">The latest from New Jersey:</a></p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Eleven cities in New Jersey, and two counties, have a higher proportion of young children with dangerous lead levels than Flint, Mich., does,</strong> according to New Jersey and Michigan statistics cited by a community advocacy group....In New Jersey, children 6 years of age and younger have continued to ingest lead from paint in windows, doors and other <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_lead_new_jersey.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">woodwork found in older homes, particularly in older, poorer cities, said Elyse Pivnick, director of environmental health for Isles, Inc., a community development organization based in Trenton.</p> <p><strong>"In light of the Flint debacle, we wanted people to understand that water is not the only thing that's poisoning children,"</strong> she said. "Most people think the lead problem was solved when we took lead out of gasoline and new homes in the 1970s, but that's not true."</p> </blockquote> <p>I suppose it's inevitable that residents of Flint want to replace their lead pipes. But it's probably unfortunate. At this point, Flint's water pipes are almost certainly pretty safe, and will become even safer over the next few months as properly treated waters rebuilds the scale inside the pipes. A multi-year program to replace them will most likely have no effect at all on childhood lead levels.</p> <p>So what would I spend $60 million on if I had the choice? Two things:</p> <ul><li>Lead paint abatement in older homes. The biggest danger points are <a href="http://www.ricknevin.com/uploads/4-6_Prevent_Childhood_Lead_Poisoning.pdf" target="_blank">window casings in old homes,</a> because the friction from opening and closing windows eats through newer layers of paint and exposes old lead paint, which is then ground into lead dust.</li> <li>Soil testing and cleanup. This is decidedly unsexy, but in modern cities this is where most of the lead is. Lead from gasoline spent decades settling into urban soil after we burned it in our cars, and every summer, when the weather dries up, it gets "resuspended" and becomes a source of lead poisoning all over again.</li> </ul><p>In both cases, the lead poisoning mechanism is the same: small children get lead dust on their fingers and then lick it off. This is one of the reasons that lead poisoning is a much smaller problem for adults than for children. Lead in small doses doesn't affect mature brains strongly, and even if it did, adults mostly don't play in the dirt and then lick their hands. Kids do.</p> <p>The first step in soil abatement is mapping: figuring out which spots have the highest levels of lead contamination. The next step is cleaning it up. There are multiple ways of doing this, some <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/21/science/earth/21fishbones.html" target="_blank">cheap</a> and some <a href="http://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/documents/wkrch9_stu_eng.pdf" target="_blank">expensive,</a> and only a professional evaluation can determine the best method in specific areas.</p> <p>Anyway, that's that. The problem, of course, is that there's no chance at all that anyone is going to give Flint $60 million to clean up its soil and its old windows. But someone might give them $60 million to replace their lead pipes. It won't do nearly as much good, but at least it's something.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 04 Feb 2016 17:38:05 +0000 Kevin Drum 295916 at http://www.motherjones.com Chris Christie: I May Be Old and Smelly, but at Least I'm Not Ted Cruz http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/chris-christie-im-old-and-smelly-least-im-not-ted-cruz <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie likes to think of himself as a guy who tells voters what he believes, and as he makes a last-gasp attempt to climb out of sixth place in the New Hampshire Republican primary, what he's telling people is this: He really can't believe he's losing to these idiots.</p> <p>Speaking at a retirement community in Bow, New Hampshire, on Wednesday afternoon, Christie used an anecdote about the late actor James Gandolfini to rip into front-runner Donald Trump as a highly skilled magician deceiving the electorate with smoke and mirrors.</p> <p>As he told the seniors, when he was a US attorney from New Jersey, Christie had gone with his daughter to a Broadway performance of <em>Beauty and the Beast</em>. Gandolfini, whose daughter on the show, Jamie-Lynn Discala, played the role of Belle, saw Christie in the line for refreshments and tapped him on the shoulder. "He said, 'Um, I'm Jimmy Gandolfini,' Christie recalled. "I said, 'I know.' And he said to me&mdash;he's a big guy, he had a very strong firm handshake, as you might imagine, and he wasn't letting go of my hand, so he's shaking and he pulled me towards him&mdash;and he says, 'You know it's all make-believe, right?'"</p> <p>Christie paused for a moment, and then got to his point. "You know it's all make-believe, right?," he said, getting into it. "The guy who's running first in the polls right now&mdash;you know it's all make believe. You know that there's not really a board room he and Ivanka sit in, right? You know that when he says you're fired you're not really fired, right? Because it's not real! It is an all an act! It is all for TV!"</p> <p>Trump, who leads in the polls by double digits, has perhaps overshadowed the notoriously blustery Christie by being even more blustery. But Christie wasn't simply trying to take Trump down a few notches; he also wanted to bring down Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, the first- and third-place finishers in Iowa who are both now lapping him in the state where he's invested most of his energy. In the second truck-driving metaphor of his speech, he took aim at the two freshmen senators who don't know how to drive in the mud:</p> <blockquote> <p>New is great&mdash;it's shiny and pretty. It looks great. I understand that. New is really good. Even on a day like today, right, you went and passed the car dealer and saw a new pickup truck, and you said, "Look at that pickup truck! It looks good." So you go and you buy the new truck and you park that truck right in front of your house. Let's say this rain keeps going, I don&rsquo;t know what the forecast is, but if it keeps raining for a while you know what happens, rain turns everything into mud. And let's say you go outside to get your new car after a day or so in the rain. You get in that new truck the first time and start it up. You put it in gear and it's in the mud and the wheels start spinning. And you're thinking, why can't I get out of the mud? I gotta get out of the mud. You keep doing it, you're going back and forth, the wheels are spinning, and you're starting to get frustrated, and what's the only thing that's running through your mind? Where the heck is my old truck! My old truck always got me out of the mud. I never got stuck in the mud with my old truck. My old truck's banged up a little bit. It's scratched up a little bit. It doesn't smell nearly as good as it used to. It doesn't look as good as it used to, but I can't go anywhere in this new truck because it can't get out of the mud.</p> <p>There's two different kinds of trucks in this race, man. The Marco Rubio&ndash;Ted Cruz truck is the new, shiny, smells-nice truck. And then there's the Chris Christie truck. It&rsquo;s old. It's beat up. It's dinged up. It doesn't smell as good as it used to. But man, the Chris Christie truck knows how to get out of the mud. You know why? Because it's been in the mud before.</p> </blockquote> <p>Chris Christie is a smelly old truck, and he wants your vote, New Hampshire. Except, that is, when he's <a href="http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/06/chris_christie_comes_under_attack_for_use_of_state_helicopter_by_group_with_ties_to_hillary_clinton.html" target="_blank">a helicopter</a>.</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Thu, 04 Feb 2016 17:32:13 +0000 Tim Murphy 295906 at http://www.motherjones.com