Blogs | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en Kevin McCarthy: "I'm Not the Guy" <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><a href="" target="_blank">Yesterday:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones (R) sent a letter to the No. 4 House Republican saying any candidate for leadership who has committed any "misdeeds" since joining Congress should "withdraw" from the contest.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Today:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday abruptly dropped out of the race to replace John Boehner for speaker, a stunning move that further complicates an already chaotic House leadership contest....Said Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus: &ldquo;I was shocked just like everyone else&hellip;he said something to the effect of I&rsquo;m not the guy.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Ummm....WTF? I will put off further comment until I pick up my jaw from the floor.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 08 Oct 2015 17:14:10 +0000 Kevin Drum 286506 at We Get It: Paul Krugman Has Been Right All Along <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_krugman_tired.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Here is Paul Krugman just in the past month:</p> <ul><li>It&rsquo;s now seven years since I warned....</li> <li>Who could have predicted such a thing? Well, me....</li> <li>Many of us warned from the beginning that the multiplier was probably much larger....</li> <li>Those of us who took our Hicks seriously calling the big stuff &mdash; the effects of monetary and fiscal policy &mdash; right, and those who went with their gut getting it all wrong....</li> <li>As I&rsquo;ve been trying to point out....</li> <li>As I&rsquo;ve written many times....</li> <li>Attacks on Keynesians in general, and on me in particular....</li> <li>Here&rsquo;s what I wrote three years ago....</li> </ul><p>And that's not even counting his print columns, which I didn't have the patience to plow through. I'm a pretty big fan of Krugman, but even for me this stuff has long since gotten old. Maybe it's time to go cold turkey on the whole "I was right" meme and just concentrate on the economics.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 08 Oct 2015 15:46:11 +0000 Kevin Drum 286491 at Quote of the Day: Japanese Mathematician Discovers Marvelous Brain-Altering Proof <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><a href="" target="_blank">From Davide Castelvecchi,</a> writing about an impenetrable 500-page mathematical proof that might change the field forever if it's verified:</p> <blockquote> <p>But so far, the few who have understood the work have struggled to explain it to anyone else. <strong>&ldquo;Everybody who I'm aware of who's come close to this stuff is quite reasonable, but afterwards they become incapable of communicating it,&rdquo;</strong> says one mathematician who did not want his name to be mentioned. The situation, he says, reminds him of the Monty Python skit about a writer who jots down the world's funniest joke. Anyone who reads it dies from laughing and can never relate it to anyone else.</p> </blockquote> <p>Apparently Shinichi Mochizuki essentially invented a whole new branch of arithmetic geometry in order to complete his proof of the <em>abc</em> conjecture. So you have to learn a whole new field of math and <em>then</em> work your way laboriously through the actual proof. There are, according to Castelvecchi, something like four or five people in the whole world capable of doing this. Good luck, guys!</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 08 Oct 2015 15:10:04 +0000 Kevin Drum 286476 at Image vs. Reality, Vladimir Putin Edition <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The <em>LA Times</em> writes today about <a href="" target="_blank">Russia's intervention in Syria:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The outcome of Vladimir Putin's bold military gamble in Syria is far from clear, but in the short term, one loser seems certain: President Obama.</p> <p>....The White House has been poised for weeks to quietly shift more U.S. military support to seasoned Kurdish militias and other rebel fighters in northern Syria. But at this point, <strong>any change in policy will appear to be in response to <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_putin_chin.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">Putin's muscular moves,</strong> not a new initiative to help solve the multi-sided conflict.</p> </blockquote> <p>Putin is "bold" and "muscular." Obama is a "loser." Well, this piece is labeled as analysis, so I guess that's fair enough. But I hope that future articles continue to report the reality&mdash;that Obama has been planning for a while to shift his strategy in Syria&mdash;rather than merely parroting the tired judgment that he "appears" to be responding to the muscular Putin. In any case, let's continue:</p> <blockquote> <p>Middle Eastern allies who have chafed at Washington's reluctance to plunge into the 4-year-old civil war have been <strong>impressed by how the Russian president has come to an ally's defense,</strong> even if they don't like his goals or his ally, Arab officials say.</p> </blockquote> <p>Seriously? Sure, many of our Arab allies have been urging us for a long time to be more militantly anti-Assad. But are they really impressed by Putin's actions? He's allowed his "ally" to twist in the wind with no apparent concern at all since 2011, and then after four years he finally enters the conflict in a small way&mdash;mainly because he was about to lose Assad for good. So far, he's launched a few air sorties and launched some cruise missiles. Are our Arab allies really that easily impressed? Onward:</p> <blockquote> <p>From the White House's perspective, the problem is not only that Russia is propping up a leader who they insist must step down as a part of a political deal to end the bloodletting. It is also that <strong>Putin's moves seem aimed at emphasizing American hesitation and signaling a lack of respect for the former Cold War foe.</strong></p> <p>....Over the last week, Moscow has seemed indifferent to the risk of a confrontation with Washington as Russian forces repeatedly attacked Syrian rebels armed by the CIA and allied spy services.</p> </blockquote> <p>Once again, Putin is the Donald Trump of world leaders: lots of showmanship and media attention for a very small price. It's impressive in a way. But the simple fact remains: Putin hasn't really done very much, and the fact that his Syria offensive seems aimed mostly at tweaking Obama is a show of childishness not strength. On Wednesday he even boasted that Russia's cruise missiles "hit all the targets," something the US hardly needs to bother with since everyone already knows we have plenty of cruise missiles that have a long history of hitting their targets.</p> <p>Finally, we end with this:</p> <blockquote> <p>Putin's gamble may accomplish several of his goals: <strong>increasing Russian influence in the Middle East and on the world stage, building his image at home, and shifting Western attention from his intervention in Ukraine.</strong></p> <p>But many analysts believe that neither Putin nor anyone else can wrest military victory from the bitter cauldron in Syria. And many expect Obama, who has made that argument since the conflict began in 2011, to continue to move cautiously. Obama "has been pretty good about resisting pressure to get in deeper," said Kupchan. "I don't think he's going to react to Putin's gambit by upping the ante."</p> </blockquote> <p>Maybe we should have started with that? Putin is essentially engaged in a PR campaign. Obama isn't taking the bait because he knows perfectly well it's a fool's errand. I hope everyone in Washington keeps that firmly in mind as Putin continues his Trump-esque rampage across the media landscape.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 08 Oct 2015 14:31:49 +0000 Kevin Drum 286471 at Old White Businessman Thinks Ben Carson Would Be a "Real Black President" <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>This morning, medial mogul and News Corp. overlord Rupert Murdoch was forced to retreat from a tweet he sent out last night addressing his notion of who does and does not qualify as a "real black president." That tweet, which also appeared to endorse Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson, looked like this:</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Ben and Candy Carson terrific. What about a real black President who can properly address the racial divide? And much else.</p> &mdash; Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) <a href="">October 8, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>The message sparked a wave of backlash on social media condemning Murdoch for inappropriately criticizing President Barack Obama&mdash;the first black president of the United States&mdash;and his work to address racial issues. In an attempt to justify his offensive remarks, he referred to a recent <a href="" target="_blank"><em>New York</em></a> magazine profile looking back at the president's legacy in the African American community. But, to no one's surprise except perhaps Murdoch's, the explanation did nothing to lessen the ridicule and the outrage.</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="">@rupertmurdoch</a> Answer your phone. It's your communications VP.</p> &mdash; pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) <a href="">October 8, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="">@rupertmurdoch</a> Can you please regularly advise black Americans on which of them is "real", so they'll be free of doubt?</p> &mdash; Harry Shearer (@theharryshearer) <a href="">October 8, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>Hours later, and with a heavy meditation on the space key, Murdoch apologized.</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Apologies! No offence meant. Personally find both men charming.</p> &mdash; Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) <a href="">October 8, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>Looks like Murdoch, a noted Donald Trump detractor, is going to have to rethink how he attempts to advance Carson's presidential aspirations. It might also be helpful to remember who the sitting president actually is.</p></body></html> Mixed Media 2016 Elections Media Obama Thu, 08 Oct 2015 14:11:06 +0000 Inae Oh 286461 at Drunken Vegetarians Are Sometimes Secret Meat Eaters <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>A lot of people do things they regret when they are drunk. Maybe it's getting tanked and then incoherently divulging secret feelings for a colleague. Perhaps it's the slurred, eyes-shut karaoke rendition of Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You." Or it could be that after being sucked into an alcohol-fueled gluttonous rampage, the favorite option is diving face first into a meaty meal&mdash;even if you happen to be a socially conscious vegetarian.&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a <a href="" target="_blank">new study</a> conducted by <a href="" target="_blank"></a>, a discount code company based in the United Kingdom, more than one-third of vegetarians have become nonvegetarians after a night of drinking. When <a href="" target="_blank">Drunk Hungry</a> hits, they are quick to ditch their diets&mdash;and convictions.</p> <p>And, these drunken, carnivorous vegetarians aren't even honest about falling off the wagon. Close to 70 percent have kept their boozy burger-eating a secret. The next morning they go right back to pretending to be full-time vegetarians&mdash;at least until the next happy hour.</p> <p>While most respondents did say they stand by their vegetarian principles even when they are crocked, George Charles, the founder of VoucherCodesPro, told the <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Morning Advertiser</em></a> he was surprised by the results. He emphasized that people should offer more support for their drunken vegetarian buddies in times of temptation: "I think it's important," he says, "for friends of these vegetarians to support them when drunk and urge them not to eat meat, as I'm sure they regret it the next day!"</p> <p>Friends don't ever let friends go on drunken meat binges they will regret.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Food and Ag Thu, 08 Oct 2015 13:55:07 +0000 Gabrielle Canon 286446 at Quote of the Day: "The Republican Party Left Me" <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><a href="" target="_blank">From former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke,</a> in his new memoir, <em>The Courage To Act</em>:</p> <blockquote> <p>[I] lost patience with Republicans&rsquo; susceptibility to the know-nothing-ism of the far right. <strong>I didn&rsquo;t leave the Republican Party. I felt that the party left me.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>This is, of course, a deliberate echo of Ronald Reagan's famous line about the Democratic Party leaving him. And it's hard to blame Bernanke. The know-nothing wing of the Republican Party rebelled against the TARP rescue package at the height of the economic meltdown. They howled that low interest rates would lead to imminent hyperinflation. They resolutely refused to consider fiscal stimulus despite Bernanke's repeated pleas (see helpful illustration below from 2011). They wanted to audit the Fed. They wanted to end the Fed. They wanted to put us back on the gold standard. When Bernanke told them that spending cuts would lead to higher unemployment, Rep. Kevin McCarthy refused to believe him. Now he's about to become Speaker of the House.</p> <p>Bernanke was no leftist, he was just a mainstream economist&mdash;and a cautious one. It didn't matter. Republicans didn't want to hear anything that interfered with their hard-money frenzy, even from one of their own. So they abandoned him.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/images/blog_bernanke_congressometer_0.jpg" style="margin: 15px 0px 5px 5px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 08 Oct 2015 04:17:31 +0000 Kevin Drum 286456 at Ben Carson Apparently Doesn't Know What the Debt Limit Is <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_carson_laughing.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Ladies and gentlemen, <a href="" target="_blank">Dr. Ben Carson:</a></p> <blockquote> <p><em>Ryssdal:</em> As you know, Treasury Secretary Lew has come out in the last couple of days and said, "We're gonna run out of money, we're gonna run out of borrowing authority, on the fifth of November." Should the Congress then and the president not raise the debt limit?<strong> Should we default on our debt?</strong></p> <p><em>Carson:</em> Let me put it this way: if I were the president, I would not sign an increased budget. Absolutely would not do it. They would have to find a place to cut.</p> <p><em>Ryssdal:</em> <strong>To be clear, it's increasing the debt limit, not the budget,</strong> but I want to make sure I understand you. You'd let the United States default rather than raise the debt limit.</p> <p><em>Carson:</em> No, I would provide the kind of leadership that says, "Get on the stick guys, and stop messing around, and cut where you need to cut, because we're not raising any spending limits, period."</p> <p><em>Ryssdal:</em> <strong>I'm gonna try one more time, sir.</strong> This is debt that's already obligated. Would you not favor increasing the debt limit to pay the debts already incurred?</p> <p><em>Carson:</em> What I'm saying is what we have to do is restructure the way that we create debt. I mean if we continue along this, where does it stop? It never stops. You're always gonna ask the same question every year. And we're just gonna keep going down that pathway. That's one of the things I think that the people are tired of.</p> <p><em>Ryssdal:</em> <strong>I'm really trying not to be circular here, Dr. Carson, but if you're not gonna raise the debt limit and you're not gonna give specifics on what you're gonna cut,</strong> then how are we going to know what you are going to do as president of the United States?</p> </blockquote> <p>It sure <em>sounds</em> as if Carson doesn't know what the debt limit is, doesn't it? Kai Ryssdal tries manfully to get a straight answer out of him, and after the fourth try Carson rambles into a long disquisition on the infinite-time-horizon fiscal gap, at which point Ryssdal finally gives up. I guess I don't blame him.</p> <p>On the other hand, I'll give Carson credit for something Ryssdal doesn't: telling him what he'd cut in order to balance the budget. Carson is pretty clear about this: he would cut the government across the board by 3-4 percent via the simple expedient of keeping spending flat for everything. In real terms, this gets you to Carson's 3-4 percent decrease. He says he'd do this for three or four years, and boom! Balanced budget.</p> <p>Ryssdal badgers Carson about this, but doesn't ask the obvious follow-ups: You'd cut Social Security 3-4 percent each year? Medicare? Defense? Veterans? If the answer is no&mdash;as it probably would be&mdash;<em>then</em> you ask Carson how he's going to balance the budget with just the stuff that's left over.</p> <p>In any case, it's pretty scary that a guy this ignorant of the basics of governance is doing so well in the Republican primary. Not surprising, maybe, but still scary.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 08 Oct 2015 00:35:36 +0000 Kevin Drum 286451 at Hillary Clinton Announces Opposition to TPP, But Her Reasons Are Pretty Weak <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Hillary Clinton, who was once a fan of the TPP trade deal, announced today that she's now opposed to it. That's fine. But her reasons seem <a href="" target="_blank">less than compelling:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>In her statement, Clinton said she is "continuing to learn about the details of the new Trans-Pacific Partnership, including looking hard at what&rsquo;s in there to crack down on currency manipulation, which kills American jobs, and to make sure we&rsquo;re not putting the interests of drug companies ahead of patients and consumers."</p> <p>She had said months ago that the currency provision would be a key test for her.</p> </blockquote> <p>The pharmaceutical provisions are indeed a point of considerable controversy, but the final draft of the agreement <em>weakens</em> them compared to what the US was asking for back when Hillary was involved. As for currency manipulation, TPP doesn't address that at all.</p> <p>So one provision she mentions has been improved, and the other does no harm because it's not addressed. If the deal looked OK a year ago, it should still look OK today. Likewise, if it looks bad today, it should have looked bad a year ago. So what really changed? Bernie Sanders, most likely. Just as the Republican side of things has been buffeted by the Trump Effect, the Democratic race has been been influenced by the Bernie Effect&mdash;which is just what he wanted, since I don't think he entered the race because he truly believed he had a chance to become president. He just wanted to move the conversation to the left, and he's succeeded at that.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 07 Oct 2015 22:12:22 +0000 Kevin Drum 286431 at New Dietary Guidelines Won't Include Sustainability <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>When the USDA's Dietary Guidelines&nbsp;are released later this year, they're sure to make waves in the nation's food economy. Updated every five years, the rules&mdash;the government's official line on what Americans should eat to stay healthy&mdash;inform decisions on everything from agricultural subsidies to government food assistance programs to school lunch.</p> <p>But there's one thing the new guidelines won't touch: the health of our environment.</p> <p>In a <a href="" target="_blank">statement</a> posted Tuesday on the USDA website, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwel announced that the guidelines will not include recommendations about how to choose foods with the lightest impact on the planet.&nbsp;The dietary guidelines, they wrote, are not "the appropriate vehicle for this important policy conversation."</p> <p>The decision came despite the fact that in its February <a href="" target="_blank">report</a>, the <a href="" target="_blank">Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee</a>&mdash;the team that reviews scientific and medical evidence and offers advise on what should be included&mdash;highlighted the ties between environmental impact and healthy eating. "Access to sufficient, nutritious, and safe food is an essential element of food security for the US," the report stated. "A sustainable diet ensures this access for both the current population and future generations."</p> <p>As my colleague Maddie Oatman <a href="" target="_blank">noted</a> when the committee released its recommendations, those ideas didn't go over well with Big Ag backers. Industry groups sent <a href="" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); text-decoration: none; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: dotted; border-bottom-color: rgb(0, 0, 0);" target="_blank">letters </a>to Secretary Vilsack arguing that environmental impact is outside the scope of the Dietary Guidelines and spent millions of dollars trying to dissuade the USDA from including sustainability in its update.</p> <p>Director of the Earth Institute <span class="xn-person" itemscope="" itemtype=""><span itemprop="name">Jeffrey Sachs, who is </span></span><span>a Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General <span class="xn-person" itemscope="" itemtype=""><span itemprop="name">Ban </span></span><span class="xn-person" itemscope="" itemtype=""><span itemprop="name">Ki</span></span>-moon, <a href="" target="_blank">called </a></span>Tuesday's announcement a "shameful abnegation of political responsibility," after heralding <span>the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report as a key breakthrough. </span></p> <p><span>"For US government officials to suggest that this chapter should be deleted would be to argue for deleting science itself; a shameful abnegation of political responsibility in the face of lobbying pressure," he said</span> in a <a href="" target="_blank">press release</a><span>. "Secretaries Burwell and Vilsack will be remembered for whether they stand up for science or for corporate lobbies."</span></p></body></html> Blue Marble Health Wed, 07 Oct 2015 20:36:18 +0000 Gabrielle Canon 286356 at People Magazine Just Made an Unprecedented Push for Gun Control Laws <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><em>People </em>magazine, one of the country's largest publications, with a circulation of more than <a href="" target="_blank">3.5 million readers</a>, just threw its weight behind the push for increased gun control by publishing contacts for every member of Congress, and urging their readers to lobby for action.</p> <p>In an editorial on Wednesday, the magazine's editorial director Jess&nbsp;Cagle explained the unprecedented decision to enter the gun debate after the latest <a href="" target="_blank">mass shooting</a> at a community college in Oregon.</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/threats_0_0_0.png"></a> <div class="caption"><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>The early warning signs that could stop the next shooting rampage </strong></a></div> </div> <blockquote> <p>As President Obama said, our responses to these incidents&mdash;from politicians, from the media, from nearly everyone&mdash;have become "routine." We all ask ourselves the same questions: How could it happen again? What are we doing about gun violence in America? There are no easy answers, of course. Some argue for stricter gun laws, others say we should focus on mental health issues, some point to a culture that celebrates violence.</p> <p>But this much we know: As a country we clearly aren't doing enough, and our elected officials' conversations about solutions usually end in political spin.</p> <p>In this issue we pay tribute to the nine Oregon victims, as well as 22 other men, women and children who've lost their lives in mass shootings&mdash;incidents where a murderer has opened fire on a crowd&mdash;in the U.S. during the past 12 months.</p> </blockquote> <p>The move by <em>People</em> is remarkable considering the magazine&mdash;a staple at every newsstand and doctor's office in America&mdash;is traditionally associated with <a href="" target="_blank">celebrity gossip</a> and general <a href=",,20785838,00.html" target="_blank">human interest </a>stories that carry little risk of being offensive or overtly political, meaning its message could reach many more Americans outside the DC echo chamber, in which action on gun violence has completely stalled.</p> <p>Read <em>People</em>'s <a href="" target="_blank">entire announcement here.</a></p></body></html> Mixed Media Guns Media Wed, 07 Oct 2015 19:58:18 +0000 Inae Oh 286371 at Microsoft Announced Some Stuff Yesterday <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Yesterday really highlighted the difference between Apple PR and Microsoft PR. Last month, I started hearing about Apple's big product announcement at least a week before it happened. By the time Der Tag rolled around I had read at least a dozen previews, and on the day itself practically everyone was not just reporting on it, but liveblogging it, tweeting it, Instagramming it, and just generally going bananas. And that was for an announcement that turned out to be fairly unexciting.</p> <p>On Tuesday, Microsoft put on its big product announcement show. I had no idea it was on the calendar. I hadn't read a word about it beforehand. On the day itself, my Twitter feed was silent. The front pages of newspapers were busy with other <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_surface_pro_4.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">things. And that's despite the fact that Microsoft was actually introducing some fairly cool stuff.</p> <p>(Note: this is not meant as an Apple vs. Windows fight. If you think nothing related to Windows could ever be cool, that's fine.)</p> <p>But it also highlighted how far from the mainstream my tastes seem to be. One of Microsoft's announcements, for example, was a new notebook with a detachable screen that can be used as a tablet. Ho hum. There are dozens of those around. Except for one thing: this notebook screen has 267 ppi resolution, which means you can actually use it as a tablet without your eyes going cockeyed. But that got hardly any attention at all. Why? Am I the only one who's been waiting for a genuinely high-res Windows tablet? And even if I am, why else would anyone even care about this new laptop? It's expensive and otherwise not especially noteworthy.</p> <p>Ditto for the new Surface Pro 4. It's slightly bigger and a bit lighter than the old Surface Pro, and it sports faster processors. That's all fine, though nothing to shout about. But! Its screen is super high-res, just like the notebook. I've been pining away for this for years. I want one. And I have a birthday coming up.</p> <p>So that's question #1: Does the rest of the world think that 200 ppi is basically fine? I mean, it <em>is</em> fine, in a way. I use a 200 ppi tablet all the time, and it's OK. But it's not great. Surely this deserves more attention, especially since Retina displays have been a selling point on iPads for a long time.</p> <p>Question #2: Still no GPS? Come on. What would it take, a ten-dollar chip plus an antenna? On a tablet that costs a thousand bucks, you'd think Microsoft could spring for this. But maybe no one cares. Am I the only person who thinks it's sometimes useful to use a big tablet rather than a tiny phone to display maps? Unfortunately, I can rarely do that because you need GPS for it to work. (Or, alternatively, some way to tap into my phone's GPS, the same way I tap into its internet connection via WiFi.)</p> <p>And now for Question #3. Let's let <em>Slate's</em> Will Oremus <a href="" target="_blank">set the stage:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The Surface Pro 4 nominally starts at $899, but that&rsquo;s without a keyboard, or the fast processor, or any of the other goodies that make the Surface a viable PC. Realistically, it&rsquo;s going to run you well over $1,000 and will top $1,500 fully loaded. So, yes, it had <em>better</em> replace your PC.</p> </blockquote> <p>What's the deal with the continuing obsession over fast processors? I've been using Windows tablets with crappy Atom processors for a couple of years, and never had any complaints. I could easily use any of them as my primary desktop machine. The lowest-end processor on the Surface 4 is quite a bit faster than an Atom SOC, so why all the angst over needing something even better?</p> <p>Obviously there are exceptions. If you're doing software builds or heavy-duty video editing or high-end gaming, you'll want lots of memory and the fastest processor you can get. But you're probably not going to do any of those things on a tablet anyway, no matter how good it is. For all the ordinary stuff we white-collar worker types do&mdash;spreadsheets, word processing, email, web browsing, etc.&mdash;just about any modern processor will work fine. Why sweat it?</p> <p>(More generally,&nbsp;Oremus is right about the price, though. You'll need a keyboard and a docking station if you plan to use a tablet as your primary machine. That will push the Surface Pro 4 up to $1,200 or so even at the low end.)</p> <p>And what the hell, as long as I'm on the subject, here's Question #4: why are Macs so popular among journalists? Back in the day, Macs had real advantages in display graphics, which led to the development of lots of image editing and page makeup software for Macs. That made them very popular with graphic artists. But writers? Word processing is word processing. A cheap notebook does it as well as an expensive one. So why did journalists migrate to Macs in such numbers? Anyone have any idea?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 07 Oct 2015 19:53:54 +0000 Kevin Drum 286376 at Quote of the Day: You'd Have to Be Nuts to Want a Leadership Role in the Republican Party <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>We all know that John Boehner quit the speakership because he was finally fed up trying to deal with the lunatics in his own party. But how about some of the tea party darlings, like Trey Gowdy or Paul Ryan? <a href="" target="_blank">Apparently they feel about the same:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>[Gowdy] insists he&rsquo;s not interested in joining leadership, not in any capacity. He is funny, and biting, about the chaos of the present House.</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t have a background in mental health, so I wouldn&rsquo;t have the right qualifications to lead right now,&rdquo;</strong> he says. Who wants you to be in leadership? &ldquo;No friend does,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>....&ldquo;To me, just speaking as one member, the smartest kid in the class is Paul Ryan,&rdquo; Gowdy said. &ldquo;If I had one draft choice and I was starting a new country, I would draft Paul to run it. Not because I agree with him on everything, but because <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_squirrel_2015_10_07.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">he&rsquo;s super, super smart. <strong>And when someone is super, super smart and is not interested, that tells you something. It tells me a lot.</strong>&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>By coincidence, this is sort of related to the conservative fantasy I talked about in the <a href="" target="_blank">previous post.</a> Folks like Gowdy and Ryan are smart enough to see it too, even though they're both stone conservatives themselves. A leadership role wouldn't give them the power to actually implement the conservative agenda, but too many conservatives these days don't care. They're living the fantasy that if only their leaders fought hard enough, they could win. So when they don't win, it must mean that they didn't fight very hard. Right now, there's just no way to puncture that fantasy.</p> <p>And why the squirrel illustration? Nothing to do with Gowdy or Ryan or the tea party or conservatives being squirrely or nuts. Honest! This is just our household squirrel, who was outside feeding his face a few minutes ago. So I went out and took his picture. And speaking of squirrels, here's an interesting squirrel factlet: if you Google "squirrel saying," 7 of the top 20 hits are about the difficulties that German speakers have saying "squirrel."</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 07 Oct 2015 18:36:04 +0000 Kevin Drum 286366 at How Our Constitution Indulges the Great Conservative Fantasy <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><a href="" target="_blank">A few days ago</a> Matt Yglesisas wrote a #Slatepitch piece arguing that Hillary Clinton "is clearly more comfortable than the average person with violating norms and operating in legal gray areas"&mdash;and that's a <em>good</em> thing. In a nutshell, Democrats can't get anything done through Congress, so they need someone willing to do whatever it takes to get things done some other way. And that's Hillary. "More than almost anyone else around, she knows where the levers of power <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hillary_tough.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 24px 0px 15px 30px;">lie, and she is comfortable pulling them, procedural niceties be damned."</p> <p>Unsurprisingly, conservatives were shocked. Shocked! Liberals are fine with tyranny! Today Matt responded <a href="" target="_blank">in one of his periodic newsletters:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>A system of government based on the idea of compromises between two independently elected bodies will only work if the leaders of both bodies want to compromise. Congressional Republicans have rejected any form of compromise, so an effective Democratic president is going to try to govern through executive unilateralism. I don't think this is a positive development, but it's the <em>only possible</em> development.</p> </blockquote> <p>I don't think I'm as pessimistic as Yglesias, but put that aside for a moment. Look at this from a conservative point of view. They want things to move in a conservative direction. But compromise doesn't do that. In practice, it always seems to move things in a more liberal direction, with a few conservative sops thrown in that eventually wither away and die. This leaves them with little choice except increasingly hard-nosed obstructionism: government shutdowns, debt ceiling fights, filibusters for everything, voter ID laws, etc. etc.</p> <p>And there's a lot of truth to this to this view. The entire Western world has been moving inexorably in a liberal direction for a couple of centuries. It's a tide that can't be turned back with half measures. Conservative parties in the rest of the world have mostly made their peace with this, and settle for simply slowing things down. American conservatives actually want to <em>reverse</em> the tide.</p> <p>That's all but impossible in the long term. It's just not the way the arc of history is moving right now. But American conservatives are bound and determined to do it anyway.</p> <p>This is the fundamental problem. British conservatives, in theory, could turn back the clock if they wanted to, but they don't. Their parliamentary system allows them to do it, but public opinion doesn't&mdash;which means that if they want to retain power, there's a limit to how far they can fight the tide. If American conservatives were in the same situation, they'd probably end up in the same place. Once they actually got the power to change things, they'd very quickly moderate their agenda.</p> <p>It's in this sense that our system of governance really is at fault for our current gridlock. Not <em>directly</em> because of veto points or our presidential system or any of that, but because these features of our political system allow conservatives to live in a fantasy world. They dream of what they could do if only they had the political power to do it, and they really believe they'd do it all if they got the chance. Thanks to all those veto points, however, they never get the chance. Full control of the government would disabuse everyone very quickly of just how far they're really willing to go, but it never happens.</p> <p>We are living through an era in which conservatives are living a fantasy that can never be. But our system of governance denies them the chance to test that fantasy. So it continues forever. It will stop eventually, either because conservatives somehow <em>do</em> gain total political power and are forced to face up to its limits, or because it burns itself out through continual head banging that gets them nowhere combined with demographic changes that decimate their base. Probably the latter. It's only a question of how long it takes.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 07 Oct 2015 17:52:27 +0000 Kevin Drum 286361 at Let's Experiment With the Minimum Wage and EITC <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_state_eitc.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">When you add up the minimum wage and the Earned Income Tax Credit, Brad DeLong thinks <a href="" target="_blank">it should add up to a living wage:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Of course, minimum-wage advocates are fearful of the following: We say raise the minimum wage, they say increase the earned income tax credit instead. We say increase the earned income tax credit, they say it is more important to reduce the deficit. We say fund the earned income tax credit by raising taxes, they say lower taxes promote entrepreneurship. We say cut defense spending, they say ISIS and Iran. The shift of attention to the earned income tax credit is then seen as&mdash;which it often is&mdash;part of the game of political Three Card Monte to avoid doing anything while not admitting you are opposed to doing anything.</p> <p>That is all very true.</p> <p>So raise the minimum wage, and then bargain back to a lower minimum wage and a higher income tax credit if it turns out that there are significant disemployment affects.</p> </blockquote> <p>Well, yes, that would be fine except that the same people who refuse to increase the EITC are the same ones who refuse to raise the minimum wage. We're no more likely to get a $15 (or $12 or $13 or $14) minimum wage than we are to get a more generous EITC. Ditto for wage subsidies, which are popular in some conservative circles. The excuses may vary depending on the circumstances, but they will always add up to No.</p> <p>Perhaps a better bet is to focus on the state level. <a href="" target="_blank">Plenty of states</a> have an EITC that piggybacks on the federal EITC, and that means there are plenty of laboratories of democracy where we could try different combinations of EITC and minimum wage to see what works best. Who knows? Maybe a few states could even be talked into trying out wage subsidies.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 07 Oct 2015 16:16:24 +0000 Kevin Drum 286336 at Folks in West Virginia Aren't Getting Enough Sleep <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><a href="" target="_blank">Over at Wonkblog,</a> Christopher Ingraham passes along the results of a new study about where people sleep the best and the worst. It turns out I'm in pretty good shape: Orange County reports generally excellent sleep. But if you live in the Insomnia Belt, stretching down the Appalachians from West Virginia into eastern Texas, you may be in trouble. Why? Apparently no one knows. But it might explain why they're so cranky these days.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_sleep_map.jpg" style="margin: 15px 0px 5px 6px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 07 Oct 2015 15:32:20 +0000 Kevin Drum 286326 at Bill Clinton Explains the Appeal of Donald Trump with the Perfect Backhanded Compliment <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Former President Bill Clinton appeared on the <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Late Show </em>on Tuesday night</a>, where he was asked by host Stephen Colbert to explain the meteoric rises of both Sen. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.</p> <p>While he was quick to tout Sanders' appeal as resonating with voter frustration that the system is "rigged against them," Clinton actually had far more to say about his former friend Trump than he did about his wife's increasingly formidable challenger from Vermont.</p> <p>"He's a master brander and he's the most interesting character out there," Clinton said of Trump. "And because he said something that overrides the ideological differences."</p> <p>"There is a macho appeal to saying, 'I'm just sick of nothing happening. I'm going to make things happen. Vote for me,'" he added.</p> <p>This is the second time Clinton has called out Trump for running a political campaign based on branding. Just last week, he hit back at Trump's insults describing his wife's tenure as secretary of state as the very "worst in history."</p> <p>"Well the thing about branding is, you don't have to be&mdash;you can be fact-free," Clinton told <a href="" target="_blank">CNN</a>'s Erin Burnett.</p> <p>On Tuesday, Clinton also shut down a previous report citing his influence on Trump making a run for the White House. Watch above.</p></body></html> Mixed Media 2016 Elections Media Wed, 07 Oct 2015 15:21:38 +0000 Inae Oh 286321 at The Feds Are Officially Investigating Hollywood's Glaring Gender Gap <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has officially launched an investigation looking into the lack of female directors working in Hollywood.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em>The LA Times </em></a>reports government officials have already requested interviews from some 50 women working in the industry and will start interviews as soon as next week to ultimately determine if Hollywood is violating federal law.</p> <p>"I hope they force people to change the way they do business because Hollywood is not exempt from the law," Lori Precious <a href="" target="_blank">said </a>in response to Monday's news. Precious is one of the women the EEOC requested to talk to as a part of the formal probe.</p> <p>The inquiry comes as an increasing number of women in Hollywood, both directors and actresses, come forward with personal stories alleging a disturbing pattern of discrimination, including high profile women such as Ava DuVernay and Meryl Streep. In May, the American Civil Liberties Union urged the government to formally investigate the persistant claims.</p> <p>"Blatant and extreme gender inequality in this large and important industry is shameful and unacceptable,&rdquo; director of the the ACLU Southern California Project Melissa Goodman <a href="" target="_blank">wrote in a press release</a> back in May. "The time has come for new solutions to this serious civil rights problem."</p> <p>Earlier this year, a staggering gender bias study found only 30.2 of all speaking characters in 2014 were played by women.</p> <p>"For every 2.3 male characters who say 'Dude,' there is just woman saying, 'Hello?!" the <em>T<a href="" target="_blank">imes</a></em><a href="" target="_blank"> Manhola Dargis wrote.</a></p></body></html> Mixed Media Film and TV Sex and Gender Wed, 07 Oct 2015 13:09:00 +0000 Inae Oh 286316 at These Photos of Wet Dogs Are Shameless Clickbait, and You Will Click on Them <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>After moving to New York City in 2010, the French photographer <a href="" target="_blank">Sophie Gamand</a> has made her living taking pictures of dogs&mdash;not a bad strategy in the internet era. <a href="" target="_blank">Strays</a>, purse-sized pups <a href="" target="_blank">draped in jewels</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Hairless Mexican dogs</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">flower-bedecked pit bulls</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">shelter dogs</a>, and, yes, wet ones. It's been two years since Gamand found a viral audience for her portraits of canines pulled straight from the bath, eyes full of reproach, water streaming from whiskers.</p> <p>The wet dog series won her a <a href=";FromImageGalleryGroupID=2" target="_blank">Sony World Photography Award</a> in 2014 and a book deal from Grand Central Publishing. <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Wet Dog</em></a>, out October 13, is gloriously uncomplicated: It consists of 144 pages of scruffy, soaked canines and sentimental commentary on the bond between the dogs and their owners. "Elevating dog photography to the status of art," Gamand's website boasts, "these expressive portraits of our canine friends mirror our very own human emotions." You know, like the frustration of getting shampoo in your eye. Or the indignity of shower caps.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/SophieGamand-WetDog-benji-web_1.jpg" style="height: 945px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">Sophie Gamand</div> </div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/SophieGamand-WetDog-chelsea1-web%20%281%29_0.jpg" style="height: 945px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">Sophie Gamand</div> </div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/SophieGamand-WetDog-Diamond-web.jpg" style="height: 630px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">Sophie Gamand</div> </div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/coco1_credit%20Sophie%20Gamand%20%281%29.jpg" style="height: 630px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">Sophie Gamand</div> </div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/SophieGamand-WetDog-Wanda-web%20%281%29_1.jpg" style="height: 420px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">Sophie Gamand</div> </div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/britney2_credit%20Sophie%20Gamand.jpg" style="height: 630px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">Sophie Gamand</div> </div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/chiki-baby_credit%20Sophie%20Gamand.jpg" style="height: 630px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">Sophie Gamand</div> </div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/SophieGamand-WetDog-Pancake-and-chelsea-web_0.jpg" style="height: 806px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">Sophie Gamand</div> </div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/pucci_credit%20Sophie%20Gamand.jpg" style="height: 630px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">Sophie Gamand</div> </div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/WET%20DOG%201_credit%20Sophie%20Gamand%20%281%29.jpg" style="height: 630px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">Sophie Gamand</div> </div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/SophieGamand-WetDog-Marnie-web%20%281%29.jpg" style="height: 945px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">Sophie Gamand</div> </div></body></html> Mixed Media Photo Essays Top Stories Wed, 07 Oct 2015 10:00:16 +0000 Madison Pauly 286286 at The Meat Industry Is Licking Its Chops Over Obama's Massive Trade Deal <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The US meat industry scored a big victory this week when world leaders <a href="">hammered out an agreement</a> that would reduce trade barriers across the Pacific: from the United Sates, Canada, Mexico, Peru, and Chile on this side to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, and Singapore on the other.</p> <p>President Barack Obama has made passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or the TPP, the signature goal of his second term. Now it goes to Capitol Hill for approval&mdash;which it will likely get, given that back in June, Congress <a href="">granted</a> the president "fast track" authority to negotiate trade deals, meaning that it will be considered in&nbsp;up-down, simple-majority votes in both chambers, with no chance of amendment or filibuster.</p> <p>So how would the TPP affect Big Meat in the United States? The industry <a href="">is currently facing stagnant domestic demand for its product as Americans eat less meat</a>. The TPP would open markets in countries that currently protect domestic farmers with tariffs. Japan, for example, <a href="">agreed</a> to slash its tariff on imported beef from 38 percent to 9 percent over the next 15 years&mdash;likely making it much easier for American importers to gain a foothold. Because the pact has been negotiated in secret and few details about it have been released, it's impossible to estimate how big of a boost the TPP will provide to US meat purveyors. But it already has industry groups doing the money dance. &nbsp;</p> <p>In a <a href="">press release</a> celebrating the TPP, the National Pork Producers Council declared that the trade pact "could increase US pork exports over time exponentially." The National Chicken Council, meanwhile, <a href="">crowed</a> that the TPP "represents a significant opportunity to expand US chicken exports and bring increased economic benefits to chicken farmers and companies across the country." The United States Cattleman's Association, facing <a href="">severely declining US beef demand</a>, hailed it in an emailed statement as "welcome news to a domestic industry in need of expanding international market access and reduction of tariffs in the countries included."&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course, when <a href="">asked why they're eating less meat</a>, Americans commonly cite a desire to reduce the environmental and social impacts of industrial-scale meat production: everything from <a href="">animal cruelty</a> to <a href="">fouled water</a> and <a href="">air</a> to <a href="">labor abuses at slaughterhouses</a> and <a href="">pillaged local economies</a>. An export boom will only intensify those trends.</p> <p>"We are already seeing the industry posturing in anticipation for the TPP to pass," Kendra Kimbirauskas, an Oregon farmer and CEO of the <a href="">Socially Responsible Agricultural Project</a>. In Oregon, she adds, "representatives for the industry have spoken about wanting to triple dairy production in the Pacific Northwest to meet Asian demand for powdered milk."</p> <p>She points to another concern with the deal: the infamous Investor-State Dispute Settlement clause, which would allow corporations within the TPP zone to challenge regulations imposed by member governments in a binding international court. For instance, a company could protest against health and safety regulations if it felt they restricted its business.<strong> (</strong>Here's a <a href="">blistering critique</a> of the ISDS clause from Sen. Elizabeth Warren.)<strong> </strong>Two foreign companies&mdash;Brazil's JBS and China's Shuanghui&mdash;<a href="">now control nearly half of US pork production</a>. Neither Brazil nor China is in the TPP, but nothing's stopping either from opening a subsidiary in, say, Australia or Japan, and then filing an Investor-State Dispute Settlement suit to stifle some state regulation on factory-scale livestock farming, says Karen Hansen-Kuhn, director of international strategies for the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.</p> <p>"The few tools that impacted communities have remaining to protect themselves from CAFO [concentrated animal feeding operations] pollution could be in jeopardy if those regulations are seen as a barrier to trade with the potential to impact corporate profits," Kimbirauskas adds.</p> <p>Hansen-Kuhn also notes that the US trade representative's <a href="">summary</a> of the TPP contains this line: The "TPP Parties have also agreed to increased transparency and cooperation on certain activities related to agricultural biotechnology"&mdash;another way of saying genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. That's vague language, and the TPP's full criteria for GMOs has not been spelled out. But it certainly appears to place pressure on TPP countries that have opted not to use them, like <a href="">Japan</a> and <a href="">Peru</a>.</p></body></html> Tom Philpott Top Stories Wed, 07 Oct 2015 10:00:15 +0000 Tom Philpott 286266 at Bobby Jindal Lashes Out at Father of Oregon Shooter: "He's the Problem Here" <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>If, after last week's shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, you held the gunman responsible, Bobby Jindal&nbsp;thinks you've missed the mark.</p> <p>On Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Jindal&nbsp;published a self-described "<a href="" target="_blank">sermon</a>"&nbsp;on his campaign website, addressing what he believes are the root causes of mass shootings. These&nbsp;causes include, but are not limited to, "cultural decay," violent video games, absent fathers, and the general devaluing of human life.</p> <p>"It's the old computer axiom&mdash;garbage in, garbage out," Jindal <a href="" target="_blank">wrote</a>. "We fill our culture with garbage, and we reap the result."</p> <p>Jindal also lashed out at the shooter's father, who <a href="" target="_blank">has called for</a> gun control in the wake of his son's rampage. "He's a complete failure as a father, he should be embarrassed to even show his face in public," Jindal wrote. "He's the problem here.</p> <p>Jindal's&nbsp;response to this instance of gun violence is similar to his reaction to a&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">shooting</a> at a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana, in which three people (including the gunman) were killed. Shortly after that happened, Jindal offered condolences to the families, resisted discussing gun control reform in lieu of praying for the victims' families, and even <a href="" target="_blank">criticized</a> President Barack Obama for "trying to score cheap political points." However, after the shooting at an army recruiting station in Chattanooga, Tennessee, just days later, the Louisiana governor reacted <a href="" target="_blank">quite differently</a>. Jindal&nbsp;was quick to politicize the issue by pinning&nbsp;the shooting on radical Islamic terrorism, a problem that he alleges the White House has largely ignored.</p> <p>"This shooting underscores the grave reality of the threat posed to us by Radical Islamic terrorism every single day," Jindal <a href="" target="_blank">said</a> in an official statement after the Chattanooga shooting. "It's time for the White House to wake up and tell the truth...and that truth is that Radical Islam is at war with us, and we must start by being honest about that."</p> <p>In the spirit of honesty, it <a href="" target="_blank">should also be noted</a> that Jindal's own state has the second-highest rate of deaths by firearm per 100,000 people, second only to Alaska.</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Elections Guns Tue, 06 Oct 2015 21:58:56 +0000 Miles E. Johnson 286291 at Perhaps We Should Retire the Idea That Joe Biden Is "Authentic" <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Back in August, Maureen Dowd wrote several hundred words about what a horrible person Hillary Clinton is. No surprise there. She could pretty easily write a million if the <em>Times</em> gave her the space. But then, having obsessed over Hillary's sinister <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_joe_biden.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">psyche for the thousandth time, she turned to the possibility of white knights jumping into the presidential race to save us all. In particular, there was Joe Biden, who was now reconsidering a run <a href="" target="_blank">after the death of his son Beau:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>When Beau realized he was not going to make it, he asked his father if he had a minute to sit down and talk....&ldquo;Dad, I know you don&rsquo;t give a damn about money,&rdquo; Beau told him, dismissing the idea that his father would take some sort of cushy job after the vice presidency to cash in.</p> <p>Beau was losing his nouns and the right side of his face was partially paralyzed. But he had a mission: He tried to make his father promise to run, <strong>arguing that the White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>It's a touching scene, but also an odd one: Dowd didn't attribute it to anyone. Not even "a friend" or "someone with knowledge of the situation." In <em>Politico</em> today, Edward-Isaac Dovere says <a href="" target="_blank">there's a reason for that:</a></p> <blockquote> <p><strong>According to multiple sources, it was Biden himself who talked to her</strong>....It was no coincidence that the preliminary pieces around a prospective campaign started moving right after that column. People read Dowd and started reaching out, those around the vice president would say by way of defensive explanation. He was just answering the phone and listening. <strong>But in truth, Biden had effectively placed an ad in <em>The New York Times</em>, asking them to call.</strong></p> <p>....&ldquo;Calculation sort of sounds crass, but I guess that&rsquo;s what it is,&rdquo; said one person who&rsquo;s recently spoken to Biden about the prospect of running.</p> <p>....At the end of August, while friends were still worrying aloud that he was in the worst mental state possible to be making this decision, <strong>he invited Elizabeth Warren for an unannounced Saturday lunch</strong> at the Naval Observatory. According to sources connected with Warren, he raised Clinton&rsquo;s scheduled appearance at the House Benghazi Committee hearing at the end of October, <strong>even hinting that there might be a running-mate opening for the Massachusetts senator.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Needless to say, I don't have any independent knowledge of whether Dovere is right about this. But it sure sounds plausible, and it's a good illustration of why you should take claims of "authenticity" with a big shaker of salt. Biden is an outgoing guy and gets along well with the press. But that just means he's an outgoing guy who gets along well with the press. Authenticity has nothing to do with it.</p> <p>It's one thing for people close to a candidate to leak information that makes their man look good&mdash;that's so common I'm not sure it even has a name&mdash;but for the candidate himself to use <em>his son's death</em> as a way of worming his way into a weekly column written by a woman who detests Hillary Clinton more fanatically than anyone this side of Ken Starr? I'm not quite sure what to call that, but authentic isn't it.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 06 Oct 2015 21:20:25 +0000 Kevin Drum 286296 at Dear Nevada, #&$% You. Sincerely, San Francisco. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/HOMELESS_A_300_0.jpg"></a> <div class="caption"><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>The Shockingly Effective, Surprisingly Cheap Way to End Homelessness </strong></a></div> </div> <p>For years, the Las Vegas Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital, Nevada's primary state mental facility, gave discharged patients a bus ticket out of town. Poor and mentally ill, they ended up homeless in cities around the country&mdash;especially in California, where more than 500 psychiatric patients were sent over a five year period.</p> <p>Twenty-four of these patients landed in San Francisco, costing the city hundreds of thousands<strong> </strong>of dollars in medical care, housing, and services. Now Nevada has agreed to cover the costs&mdash;or most of them at least. On Monday <a href="" target="_blank">a tentative settlement was reached</a> and the state agreed to pay $400,000, just short of the $500,000 San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera sued for back in 2013. The settlement is expected to be approved by San Francisco's Board of Supervisors and Nevada's Board of Examiners later this month.</p> <p>The class action lawsuit filed by Herrera followed an investigation by the <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Sacramento Bee</em>,</a> which revealed that 1,500 Nevada homeless patients had been given bus tickets, and were advised to seek medical care elsewhere. A third were sent to California, landing in major cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, which are already <a href="" target="_blank">struggling to house</a> a growing number homeless people.</p> <p>Chronically homeless people&mdash;especially those with mental illnesses&mdash;can cost millions. As we <a href="" target="_blank">reported earlier this year</a> the county of Santa Clara spent $520 million a year, mostly on the hospital stays and the cost of jailing the persistently homeless&mdash;a mere 2,800 people.</p> <p>Still, Nevada health officials tried for two years to get out of paying San Francisco. They argued that what happened in Nevada is similar to San Francisco's "Homeward Bound" program, which relocates homeless people to live with family or friends in other cities.</p> <p>But now, according <a href="" target="_blank"><em>The San Francisco Chronicle</em></a><em> </em>Nevada has decided to end the fight. After&nbsp;Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital lost its accreditation in 2013, Nevada invested $30 million to reform its system of care. Homeless patients are no longer bused to other areas and state officials want to move forward. The facility regained its accreditation this year.</p> <div style="width: 1px; height: 1px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font: 10pt sans-serif; text-align: left; text-transform: none; overflow: hidden;"><br> Read more here:</div> <p>"The settlement will bring an amicable resolution to this matter," Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a statement. "The settlement will also validate the patient management best practices and procedures which Nevada has had in place for two years."</p></body></html> MoJo Income Inequality Top Stories Tue, 06 Oct 2015 21:18:52 +0000 Gabrielle Canon 286241 at Silicon Valley Is Even Whiter Than You Thought <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The funders behind Silicon Valley's hottest companies tend to look a lot like the people they invest in: white and male.</p> <p>Of the 551 senior venture capitalists<a href="#correction">*</a> <a href="" target="_blank">examined</a> in a new three-month study by the tech news site the <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Information</em></a> and the VC firm SocialCapital, less than 1 percent (precisely four executives) were black, and another 1.3 percent were Hispanic. Twenty percent, or 110 people, were Asian.</p> <p>While there has been considerable focus on the diversity figures of major companies such as <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Twitter</a> recently, little attention has been paid to the racial and gender makeup of the decision-makers who invest millions of dollars in tech startups, hoping they succeed.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%">&nbsp; <div class="caption"> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Race-and-Ethnicist-Diversity-Venture-Capitalists.jpg"><div class="caption">The Information</div> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ninety-two percent of top venture capital executives are men. According to the report, that's "way worse" than the gender disparity in tech companies, where 77 percent of leadership roles are occupied by men.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Gender-Diversity-Silicon-Valley-Venture-Capitalists_1.jpg"><div class="caption">The Information</div> </div> <p>The striking numbers reinforce the narrative surrounding Silicon Valley's diversity problems, as <a href="" target="_blank">companies</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">civic leaders</a> alike push to improve the racial and gender balance of the companies that make the gadgets and apps we consume. Not all VCs are doing poorly&mdash;the 15-person senior investment team at Y Combinator<a href="#correction">*</a>, the well-known startup accelerator firm, has "four Asian men, a black man, three white women, and an Asian woman," according to the report. Yet the report found that a quarter of firms have an all-white management crew.</p> <p>As <em>Mother Jones</em> <a href="" target="_blank">pointed out</a> in July, the number of African Americans employees at Twitter, Facebook, and Google combined could <a href="" target="_blank">fit on a single Airbus A830</a>. Now we know the number of black venture capitalists, at least in this study, could fit in an Uber.</p> <p>In an op-ed Tuesday titled "Bros Funding Bros: What's Wrong with Venture Capital," SocialCapital founder Chamath Palihapitiya <a href="" target="_blank">criticized</a> the backwards nature of the venture capitalist community and called for changes.</p> <p>"The VC world is cloistered and often afraid of change&mdash;the type of change that would serve the world better," Palihapitiya wrote. "An industry that wields the power to change lives is failing to do just that. Ultimately, fund investors will wake up to this bleak reality. We must change before this happens."</p> <p>You can check out the rest of the the<em> Information</em>'s Future List <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <p id="correction"><em>Correction: Following the publication of this story, Information and SocialCapital corrected several portions of <a href="" target="_blank">their report</a>, including their description of the racial and gender makeup of Y Combinator's investment team. The story has been updated to reflect those changes.</em></p></body></html> Mixed Media Charts Race and Ethnicity Sex and Gender Tech Top Stories Tue, 06 Oct 2015 21:17:23 +0000 Edwin Rios 286256 at Watch the Government Shoot Thousands of Moths Out of a Drone <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Pink bollworms are a species of pest (they're baby moths) that love to feast on cotton. They've been largely eliminated from the United States, but flare-ups do occur now and then, causing an expensive headache for farmers. So the US Department of Agriculture is experimenting with an innovative but also kind of weird and gross solution, which you can see in the video above.</p> <p>The process starts by raising bollworms in a lab that are fed a red, oil-based dye. When the bollworms mature into moths, the coloration stays with them, so they can be distinguished from wild moths. The lab moths are blasted with radiation, which makes them sterile. Then they're released into the wild over fields with bollworm infestations. When the sterile lab moths mate with the wild ones, they're tricked into thinking they're going to reproduce, but don't. So no new moths.</p> <p>Scientists have experimented with releasing sterile moths for the last few years. But now, they've enlisted a new tool: drones equipped with moth cannons. Anytime a bollworm infestation pops up, just call in a drone to deliver a few thousand <a href="" target="_blank">irradiated moths</a>.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Video Animals Climate Change Climate Desk Science Tue, 06 Oct 2015 20:48:43 +0000 Tim McDonnell 286111 at