Blogs | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/Blogs/2010/06/kevin-drum/category/authors/about/interact-engage/www.mms.gov/ooc/authors/kate-sheppard http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en Quick Treatment Update - And Thanks http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/10/quick-treatment-update-and-thanks <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I had my first round of chemo about six hours ago, and I had no reaction at all. No nausea, no vomiting, no nothing. I ate lunch an hour afterward. Obviously this may change as things progress, but so far I seem to be tolerating the treatment regimen well. That's good news. And my back continues to slowly get stronger and less painful.</p> <p>The outpouring of prayers and good wishes has been genuinely heartening. Thank you to everyone for all the comments, tweets, and emails. They truly mean a lot to me. And to Nora and Jason from Chicago: Thanks for the flowers! They're lovely.</p> <p>On a related note, several people have asked if I need any financial help. As it happens, MoJo provides excellent health coverage (mine is through Kaiser), so I'm well covered on that front. Beyond that, as many of you know, my previous career has left me in very good financial shape. So I'm one of the lucky ones: All I have to do is worry about following my treatment plan and getting better. I have no money worries, and plenty of family and friends (and cats!) rooting for me and ready to take care of me when I need help.</p> <p>That's the latest. And here's the best news: Depending on how things go tonight, I may be able to go home tomorrow. Hooray!</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Health Sun, 26 Oct 2014 01:09:19 +0000 Kevin Drum 263251 at http://www.motherjones.com Amazon Must Be Stopped - Sort Of http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/10/amazon-must-be-stopped-sort <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Enough of this cancer nonsense. Let's agree and disagree with Matt Yglesias today (not that I'm comparing him with cancer, mind you).</p> <p>First off, the disagreement. In the current issue of the <em>New Republic</em>, <a href="http://www.newrepublic.com/article/119769/amazons-monopoly-must-be-broken-radical-plan-tech-giant" target="_blank">Franklin Foer pens a righteous rant</a> against Amazon as an evil, marauding monopoly that needs to be crushed. It warmed the cockles of my heart, since Amazon's almost Luthor-like predatory strategies against startup competitors leave me cold. That's one reason I choose not to do much business with them. But legally? I may not like the way Amazon went after Diapers.com, but let's face it: they're nothing close to a monopolist in that space. <a href="http://www.vox.com/2014/10/10/6954107/amazon-monopoly" target="_blank">Yglesias is right</a> that in most of their business lines they should be left alone. Walmart and Target and Google and a tsunami of aggressive startups will keep them plenty busy.</p> <p>However, there's an exception: e-books. Yglesias has no sympathy for big book publishers, and he has a point. These are pretty gigantic companies in their own right, and although I suspect he gives their business practices <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/images/blog_amazon_kindle_store.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">short shrift in some important ways, there's not much question they often seem pretty antediluvian. <a href="http://www.vox.com/2014/10/22/7016827/amazon-hachette-monopoly" target="_blank">But this goes too far:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>It is undeniably true that Amazon has a very large share of the market for e-books. What is not true is that Amazon faces a lack of competition in the digital book market. Barnes &amp; Noble &mdash; a company that knows something about books &mdash; sells e-books, and does so in partnership with a small outfit called Microsoft. Apple sells e-books and so does Google.</p> </blockquote> <p>Amazon has a <em>huge</em> share of the e-book market, and pretty much everyone&mdash;including Yglesias, I think&mdash;believes that Barnes &amp; Noble is only a few steps from the grave. Unsurprisingly, Nook funding is in free fall. Sony has exited the e-book market and Kobo isn't far behind. Even Apple, as mighty as it is, has only a tiny market share after several years of trying.</p> <p>In theory, this is a great opportunity for an innovative startup. Startup costs are modest since there's no physical inventory to worry about. Publishers are eager for new entrants. Maybe a smart startup could appeal to consumers with a great new e-reader concept. Or a better recommendation engine. Who knows? There are loads of possibilities. The problem is that no startup can possibly compete with a huge incumbent that's willing to sell e-books at a loss. There's no VC on the planet willing to fund a trench war like that.</p> <p>So Amazon really does have a monopoly position in this market that it sustains via predatory pricing and heavy-handed business practices&mdash;against publishers both big and small&mdash;that might make John D. Rockefeller blush. <a href="http://www.vox.com/2014/10/25/7061603/the-way-to-reduce-amazons-power-in-the-book-market-is-to-reform" target="_blank">Tim Lee pinpoints a big part of the problem:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>I mostly agree with my colleague Matt Yglesias's argument that Amazon is doing the world a favor by crushing book publishers. But there's at least one way US law gives Amazon excessive power, to the detriment of publishers, authors, and the reading public: ill-conceived copyright regulations lock consumers into Kindle's book platform, making it hard for new e-book platforms to gain traction.</p> <p>....In 1998 [music publishers] got Congress to pass the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which made it a federal crime to unscramble encrypted content without the permission of copyright holders.</p> <p>....While the law was passed at the behest of content creators, it also gave a lot of power to platform owners. If you buy a movie on iTunes, you're effectively forced to continue buying Apple devices if you want to keep watching the movie. Tools to transfer copy-protected movies you've purchased from iTunes onto another platform exist, but they're illegal and, accordingly, not very user-friendly.</p> <p>Amazon has taken advantage of the DMCA too. Kindle books come copy-protected so that only Amazon-approved software can read it without breaking the law. Of course, software to convert it to other formats exists, but it's illegal and accordingly isn't very convenient or user-friendly.</p> <p>And that creates a huge barrier to entry.</p> </blockquote> <p>Aside from my general distaste for Amazon, I happen to think the Kindle app is kind of sucky. The Nook app is better, so I buy my e-books via Barnes &amp; Noble. But the Nook app has its own problems, and you may prefer Kindle. That's great! Competition! But I'm keenly aware that B&amp;N is likely on its last legs, and then what? Amazon will have even less incentive to improve its reader, especially on less popular platforms.</p> <p>I like competition. And it can't be emphasized too much that the DRM issue is driven heavily by publishers, not just by Amazon. Nor is there a simple solution. Arguments of the techno-utopian "information wants to be free" crowd aside, there are pretty self-evident reasons why authors and publishers don't want their books to be instantly available for free within a week of being published.</p> <p>Nonetheless, this is a problem that begs for a solution. Partly it's driven by DMCA restrictions. Partly it's driven by those antediluvian publishers. And partly it's driven by Amazon's genuine monopoly position in the e-book market, which stifles innovation and promises to get even worse in the future.</p> <p>So sure, leave Amazon alone in most of its business lines. But in e-books? Nope. They're a monopoly in every sense of the word, and they use predatory practices to stay that way. They may offer cheap books, but in the long run it's vibrant competition that truly benefits consumers. Regulating Amazon would hardly solve all our e-book problems&mdash;far from it&mdash;but it would be a start.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Books Regulatory Affairs Sat, 25 Oct 2014 16:44:00 +0000 Kevin Drum 263246 at http://www.motherjones.com Olympics to Crack Down on Human Rights Abuses…After 2022 http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/10/international-olympic-committee-human-rights-clause-host-city-contracts <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Following widespread allegations of wrongdoing in both the Beijing and Sochi Olympics, human rights protections will be <a href="http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/10/22/olympics-host-city-contracts-will-include-rights-protections" target="_blank">added to the contracts</a> signed by future Olympic host cities. The International Olympic Committee's president <a href="http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/10/22/olympics-host-city-contracts-will-include-rights-protections" target="_blank">presented this change</a> to Human Rights Watch at an October 21 meeting.</p> <p>The new language will contractually require host countries to "take all necessary measures to ensure that development projects necessary for the organization of the Games comply with local, regional, and national legislation, and international agreements and protocols, applicable in the host country with regard to planning, construction, protection of the environment, health, safety, and labour laws."</p> <p>These changes make the human rights requirements for Olympic host cities more explicit than ever before, particularly with the mentions of health, environmental, and labor concerns. The new "international agreements and protocols" rule makes it clear that hosts will be required to abide by laws like the <a href="http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/ccpr.aspx" target="_blank">International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights</a>, which prohibits forced labor, arbitrary arrest or detention, sentence without trial, and protects freedoms of assembly, religion, and opinion.</p> <p>Beijing, China and Sochi, Russia floundered on some of these protections during the&nbsp;2012 and 2014 Olympic Games. The international community criticized both host countries for <a href="http://www.hrw.org/news/2008/03/11/china-beijing-s-migrant-construction-workers-abused" target="_blank">corruption</a> and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/02/sochi-olympics-russia-migrant-workers-deportation" target="_blank">exploitation of migrant construction workers</a>: Sochi contractors <a href="http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/02/06/russia-migrant-olympic-workers-cheated-exploited" target="_blank">cheated workers out of wages</a>, required 12-hour shifts, and confiscated passports to keep laborers from leaving. In both countries, authorities regularly <a href="http://www.hrw.org/people-and-power-2014-sochi-olympics" target="_blank">forced evictions</a> and silenced media and activists. A Russian law passed in the months leading up to the Games that <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/08/sochi-olympics-putin-anti-gay-law-explained" target="_blank">criminalized gay expression</a> garnered global outrage.</p> <p>Minky Worden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch, says the planned wording will make it easier for the IOC to take official action if a host country breaks contract&mdash;through litigation or "the thermonuclear option," termination. Even before such extreme consequences, she is optimistic the explicit wording will give the IOC more power to "put the scare in any host country that is not playing by the human rights rules."</p> <p>"This is a real rebuke to Russia," she says. "The IOC wants to avoid a repeat."</p> <p>Since host cities for the next three Olympic Games have already been selected and signed contracts, host countries will be held to the new clause beginning with the 2022 Winter Olympics. Worden says this is particularly timely, as two of the finalists&mdash;Almaty, Kazakhstan and Beijing, China&mdash;have repressive governments. (The third finalist is Oslo, Norway.)</p> <p>The human rights clause expands on another impending addition, previewed in a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/documents/1344502-oc-letter-to-2022-bids" target="_blank">September letter</a> from the IOC to the 2022 candidate cities. That statement promised that future host city contracts will have "an express reference&hellip;to the prohibition of any form of discrimination."</p> <p>Technically, host cities like Sochi and Beijing were already broadly obligated to steer clear of human rights violations and discrimination: The <a href="http://www.olympic.org/documents/olympic_charter_en.pdf" target="_blank">Olympic Charter</a> calls for a respect for "human dignity" and bans discrimination "with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise." But, "we've clearly reached a moment when the words of the Olympic Charter are not enough," says Worden. "You have to put these guarantees in a contract and force the host country to sign it."</p> <p>Worden hopes the IOC's action will be adopted by organizers of other mega-sporting events at risk of mishandling human rights, such as FIFA. Sharan Burrow, the general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, estimates in an ESPN documentary that, at current rates, <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_world_/2014/05/14/qatar_world_cup_migrant_worker_abuses_fifa_needs_to_do_something_about_the.html" target="_blank">4,000 people will die</a> in preparation of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Gay Rights Human Rights International Sex and Gender Sports Top Stories Sat, 25 Oct 2014 10:15:05 +0000 Katie Rose Quandt 263096 at http://www.motherjones.com Friday Cancer Blogging - 24 October 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/10/friday-cancer-blogging-24-october-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A few of you have probably cottoned onto the fact that people don't usually spend a week in the hospital for a broken bone, even a backbone. So in the long tradition of releasing bad news on Friday afternoon, here's my first-ever Friday news dump.</p> <p>When I checked in to the hospital Saturday morning, the first thing they did was take a bunch of X-rays followed by a CT scan. These revealed not just a fractured L3, but a spine and pelvis dotted with lytic lesions that had badly degraded my bones. That's why a mere cough was enough to send me to the ER. It was just the straw that broke an already-weakened camel's back. Later tests showed that I also had lesions in my upper arm, my rib cage, and my skull&mdash;which means that my conservative friends are now correct when they call me soft-headed.</p> <p>The obvious cause of widespread lytic lesions is multiple myeloma, a cancer of blood plasma cells, and further tests have confirmed this. (The painful bedside procedure on Tuesday was a bone marrow biopsy. Bone marrow is where the cancerous plasma cells accumulate.)</p> <p>I know from experience that a lot of people, especially those who have been through this or know a family member who's been through this, will want to know all the details about the treatment I'm getting. I'll put that below the fold for those who are interested. For the rest of you, here's the short version: I'm young, I'm not displaying either anemia or kidney problems, and treatments have improved a lot over the past decade. So my short-term prognosis is pretty positive. Treatment involves two to three months of fairly mild chemotherapy, which has already started, followed by a bone marrow transplant. My oncologist thinks I have a very good chance of complete remission.</p> <p>The longer-term prognosis is less positive, and depends a lot on how treatments improve over the next few years. But I figure there's not too much point in worrying about that right now. Better to stay focused on the current regimen and see how I respond to that. Wish me well.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/kevin-drum/2014/10/friday-cancer-blogging-24-october-2014"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Kevin Drum Fri, 24 Oct 2014 21:27:47 +0000 Kevin Drum 263231 at http://www.motherjones.com Taylor Swift's New Album, "1989," Just Leaked. Here Are Our Instant Reactions to Every Track. http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/10/taylor-swift-new-album-1989-leaked-review <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>After Taylor Swift's album leaked online today ahead of schedule, we came to the important editorial conclusion it would be a disservice to our readers if we didn't review her latest offering.</p> <p>What follows is a transcript of the live conversation between <em>Mother Jones</em>&nbsp;engagement editor Ben Dreyfuss and <em>Climate Desk</em>&nbsp;senior producer James West as they listened to the songs for the very first time; this was the only way we could think of to get this important cultural event to you in the quickest possible manner.</p> <p><em>This conversation has been edited for clarity&mdash;it needed it.</em></p> <p><span class="section-lead">Track 1: "Welcome to New York"</span></p> <p><strong>James West: </strong>Okay. That synth beat. You were saying, Ben, that this song was pilloried. But I actually like it. It has a big, banner sound full of deep, pulsing synth; a happy beginning to the album.</p> <p><strong>Ben Dreyfuss: </strong>Right. People hate it. Actually New York hipsters hate it. But New York hipsters hate everything.</p> <p><b><b>JW:</b></b> And who cares if it's a little uncool, like she thinks she's the only one who's ever lived here before?</p> <p><b>BD:</b> That's the way people act when they come to NYC! People are stupid. It's easy to laugh about it years later when you consider yourself a jaded <em>Gawker</em> reader but you were once romanticizing the city on a bus from Des Moines&nbsp;too.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> (Or on a plane from Sydney, Australia!) But also, importantly Ben, I do like how gay-friendly it is. "Boys and boys and girls and girls." Good one, Taylor. Stick it to the homophobes.</p> <p><span class="section-lead">Track 2: "Blank Space"</span></p> <p><b>JW:</b> "You look like my next mistake"&mdash;hey, that's one helluva line. Taylor's grown. Now that she's in New York, she's having some kind of bad first romance, right? That's the narrative? It all smacks of a jealous, no-holds-barred love affair: "Fuck it," she's saying. And this beat is totally infectious again.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> The Story of Taylor's Big Move to the Big City.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> That cassette click is super cheesy. But now we're into the pared back "spoken wordy" wisdom bit. What Taylor Has Learned of Love.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> "I love the players. You love the game." LOL. "Boys only want love when it's painful" or something? That is, in my personal experience, true.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> I really liked that one.</p> <p><span class="section-lead">Track 3: "Style"</span></p> <p><b>JW:</b> Oh, now here it comes. Instant fave this one.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> The beat is so good. So '80s.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> It's twilight. We're driving on a long road trip. Blondie is definitely nearby, on a cassette tape near my feet.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> Michelle Pfeiffer is there.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Suddenly, we're in a truck stop, refilling the car with gas in some kind of epic, knowing way. <em>Top Gun</em> is playing inside on a TV. The Sunday Night Movie.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> "James Dean..." what was it? That is a catchy hook. Although I clearly can't even remember it two seconds later.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> She's comparing herself to a classic movie star, I think. "I got that red lip classic thing that you like."</p> <p><b>BD:</b> That's basically Lana Del Rey's entire shtick, no?</p> <p><b>JW:</b> This feels better than that for some reason. Kind of.</p> <p><span class="section-lead">Track 4: "Out of the Woods"</span></p> <p><b>JW:</b> Okay, here's another single prereleased. Again, this depressed, haunting minor key thing that she's got going on the other tracks. Incremental, darker verses, leading to loud, washy choruses. I like it.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> She's doing the "here's a story that is emotionally evocative from your teen years" thing.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> This is the bit about Harry Styles right?</p> <p><b>BD:</b> I assume so. The imagery in this song is so deliciously meaningless.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> This breakdown bridge bit is nice. And then the final chorus to bring it right home. Wow. There it is. That was fast.</p> <p><span class="section-lead">Track 5: "All You Had To Do Was Stay"</span></p> <p><b>JW:</b> Okay, this sounds a bit more generic now. This song sounds like a first cut of one of the other tracks, to be honest.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> It sounds like one of Katy Perry's lesser songs.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Yes. But there's a nice "Stay!" vocal higher up there in the mix from the backing singers.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> Yeah, it's a nice refrain, but in the earlier songs some of the totally meaningless imagery worked. Here it seems like fluff that exists because the song needs some words.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Totally. In fact, it's almost a bar-by-bar formula-copy of the first four songs, just worse. Don't get me wrong, Ben. It's still the best thing I've ever heard.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> HAHAHA. It is catchy. By the end "Stay" does have you moving with it.</p> <p><span class="section-lead">Track 6: "Shake It Off"</span></p> <p><b>BD:</b> I love this song. It's the perfect pop song.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> The single! Alright, Tay Tay. I love this song, too. It's almost too good. It's been in my brain for weeks and weeks like a tapeworm.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> And here the lyrics totally work as coming from Taylor but also in their appeal to everyone. Everyone thinks everyone else is a fuckup BUT THEY DON'T SEE, well, me landing on my feet. BUT MAYBE I'M JUST PROJECTING.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> This is the whole "Taylor as outsider" theory advanced by, well, almost every critic under the sun. And I think it's true. I don't know how she's managed to be perpetually marketed in this way. She is, well, quite a pretty, conventional singer. And let's face it, the song is pretty bland in the sense that it recycles a lot of old stuff: the horns, the hand claps, this cheerleader thing; but the sum of Tay Tay's parts are bigger than the individual components for sure.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> The cheerleader thing is the low point for me.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> It's silly.</p> <p><span class="section-lead">Track 7: "I Wish You Would"</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 2em;"><b>BD:</b> We're in a car again.</span></p> <p><b>JW:</b> Ha. We are. (Did we ever leave?)&nbsp;Another road trip through the late '80s landscape.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> The funny thing is we don't actually drive a lot in New York.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Zipcars, I suppose.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> This whole thing is actually just an ad for Zipcars over Uber.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Musically, I like the switch between the fast, double-time verse, then the slower beat in the chorus; and this synth wash is again reminding me of watching <em>Back to the Future</em> as a kid.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> I like the "You always knew how to push my buttons" bit. The lyric isn't great but she delivers it pretty nicely.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> That's the thing. She's really meaning all these pretty generic emotions. But that's when the generic becomes universal, right? When you mean it?</p> <p><b>BD:</b> I'm impressed with her handling of the faster delivery.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> This song is faster than the rest, for sure. All of these songs are super-short.</p> <p><span class="section-lead">Track 8: "BAD BLOOD"</span></p> <p><b>BD:</b> This is different.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> This reminds me a bit of Britney, actually. Dark, breakdown Britney. Sad Britney. Or the girl I saw crying on the L train the other day, with her mascara smeared.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> It's funny. The image that comes to my mind is a sad Britney with smeared mascara but not on the L. I really don't get a NY vibe from most of these. She's sitting on the top of her beat up car at night overlooking some football field by her high school in Texas, I think.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Do you think she's ever been here to New York City?</p> <p><b>BD:</b> For shows. Straight from LaGuardia to MSG and then the Standard.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> This anthemic chorus is nice. But then, you know, these bits are my least favorite parts of her songs, these whimsical "meaningful" broken-down vocal bits, where she tries to tell you the truth. I like the "I'm not a girl, not yet a woman" vibe of the songs, rather than when she delivers half-baked truths in these bridges.</p> <p><span class="section-lead">Track 9: "WILDEST DREAMS"</span></p> <p><b>BD:</b>&nbsp;Is it interesting that all of these songs are her breaking up with someone?</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Harry?</p> <p><b>BD:</b> Has anyone checked on him? Is he okay?</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Again, her looks are really important in the lyrics: standing in a dress, rosy-cheeked, red lips.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> Yeah, it fits further into the Taylor as Film Star. It's all told in a very cinematic way.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Did she listen to Fiona Apple and Annie Lennox on loop before this song, with a little bit of...I don't know...Sia Furler?</p> <p><b>BD:</b> I feel like Fiona Apple fans are not going to be pleased with that comment.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Oh god. I don't want Fiona Apples after me. [Doesn't delete earlier comment].</p> <p><b>BD:</b> It's too late anyway. I am one of those fans. "THE CALL IS COMING FROM IN THE HOUSE."</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Is she putting on a weird English accent in this bit?</p> <p><b>BD:</b> YES, a little.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Frankly, I didn't really like that song. A bit of a filler. Some pretty sighs but nothing that I'll be drawn back to immediately.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> The sighs were the best part but yeah, no, it was maybe the worst so far.</p> <p><span class="section-lead">Track 10: "How You Get The Girl"</span></p> <p><b>JW:</b> Oh, is this our first acoustic guitar? Are we back on the plane to Nashville?</p> <p><b>BD:</b> God, I hope we're not on that plane. She has come so far.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> I've almost immediately written off this song half way through the chorus. This is maybe the most generic pop thing on the record so far. Twee, cloying, too cutesy; doesn't have the heightened emotions of the first couple of tracks.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> I have not absorbed any of these lyrics because these lyrics aren't meant to be absorbed.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> A runny slick of silliness.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> "Pulled your heart out, put it back together." Wait, when did the heart break? Did it break when she was pulling it out? Was it already broken? He had a broken heart from an earlier relationship? What the hell is this song even about?</p> <p><b>JW:</b> I'm confused too.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> Is this about Ebola?</p> <p><b>JW:</b> ISIS?</p> <p><b>BD:</b> Hahahaha.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> I'm disappointed a bit. I have to say.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> Yeah I really liked a few of the earlier new ones.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> I'm getting a beer. Want one?</p> <p><b>BD:</b> Yes, please.</p> <p><span class="section-lead">Track 11: "This Love"</span></p> <p><b>JW:</b> Okay. Ready to start again? Only six&nbsp;more songs. Go go go. Moody. This is going to be a torch ballad for sure.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> What is this. Is this slam poetry?</p> <p><b>JW:</b> It's so...stereo. She's coming at me in both ears.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> It's like a song I remember being forced to listen to on the radio in 1993.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Okay, now I'm back, Taylor. I'm so back. Are you in New York yet, Ben? I'm closer. Definitely not Texas.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> That's true. She's sitting on a stoop with a Parliament hanging out her half-gloved hand.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Tay and some boy just listened to "Papa Don't Preach" together. Now she's by herself&mdash;</p> <p><b>BD:</b> &mdash;wondering if that Tisch major friend of hers who just sang that Madonna song so well?</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Gay? Probably. But it's first year Tisch, so...?</p> <p><b>BD:</b> He hasn't even chosen if he wants to act or direct yet. He just knows he wants to express himself.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> But don't we all want that? He just wants to love. Tay knows that.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> Five hundred twenty-five-thousand&nbsp;six-hundred minutes...</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Haha. Aaaand. Scene.</p> <p><span class="section-lead">Track 12: "I Know Places"</span></p> <p><b>BD:</b> I actually hear a bit of that angry fast Fiona in this one...Wait, well I guess I did before this silly hunting hook.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Yes. Wow. This is pretty stupid.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> "Lights flash." What's with her and this whole car motif?</p> <p><b>JW:</b> This is as close to performance art the album has seen (and only glancingly so). But this is Tay as "artist" for sure. Those Tisch classes are really rubbing off. Maybe she recently learned about this woman called "Kate Bush" and thought she was pretty dope.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> Oh God, that is so true. You know they are going to be playing this in dorms around Washington Square tonight and someone is going to call this the best song of the album because it's so "meaningful."</p> <p><b>JW:</b> At least those other ones we didn't like weren't pretentious like this. URGH, THAT CASSETTE CLICK THING DRIVES ME MAD.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> It's a cassette player in a car. It's all part of the same awful confusing element.</p> <p><span class="section-lead">Track 13: "Clean"</span></p> <p><b>JW:</b> Drought! She says the word "drought!" Climate change! Taylor Swift, Climate Activist.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> Did global warming hurt you, Tay?</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Can I report on this, somehow, in my real job?</p> <p><b>BD:</b> Remember when Beyonce single-handedly stopped climate change?</p> <p><b>JW:</b> [Adds link].</p> <p><b>BD:</b>&nbsp;Hahahahahaha.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Okay, back to the song. We're definitely in the softer part of the album now; the slower torch songs bunched right up at the end here.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> "I punched a hole in the roof." I am Taylor. I feel things very strongly.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> I am nothing but feeling, and I give voice to what you feel, too.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> I am a feeling robot. *does robot movements* Ten months sober!</p> <p><b>JW:</b> "Ten months sober!" is she pretending to have had a...drinking problem?</p> <p><b>BD:</b> This is her song for the people who are wondering if they have a drinking problem. Tay, can do Lifetime drama too!</p> <p><b>JW:</b> The drought again! I'm taking this literally, I don't care what people say. Gov. Jerry Brown listen up! Taylor's climate album.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> That's our headline.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Gov. Jerry Brown Listen Up! Taylor's Climate Album.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> "I think I am finally clean!"</p> <p><span class="section-lead">Track 14: "Wonderland"</span></p> <p><b>JW:</b> IN THAT FUCKING CAR AGAIN. Flashing lights, take a wrong turn...spinning out of control.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> She seems mad.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Is this the inevitable come down after the Tisch kids made her take molly?</p> <p><b>BD:</b> Hahahaha. "Tay, Tay, babe, you need a Xanax."</p> <p><b>JW:</b> This is actually just a Rihanna song. This "eh, eh, eh" is just "Umbrella"...the chorus is pure "Umbrella."</p> <p><b>BD:</b> Yeah. The truth is a lot of this album seems like a hodgepodge from a recent NOW CD. I don't mean that in a necessarily bad way.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Even this "Wonderland" refrain sounds like 'Yonce at the end of the visual album.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> IT DOES. Also, like, is this song even about the Val Kilmer movie <em>Wonderland</em>?&nbsp;I don't think so.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> God, it's so MDMA-ish. Tay's gripping her bestie's hand rolling down the street. It's not going to end well. "I never felt worse, but never better." Yikes.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> They were in the top of some parking garage all together each with a pill in hand. "Let's watch out for each other!" DRIVE.</p> <p><span class="section-lead">Track 15: "You R In Love"</span></p> <p><b>JW:</b> These are all sounds from my '80's youth.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> Who produced this? I think when it works it really works, but when it misses it's awf.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Right. This one is working. There's some inherent longing in this.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> Oh I like this bit. We're getting back to the good&nbsp;Tay.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Oh god. I just got chills. A little rush of truth and happiness mixed with uncertainty and... optimism?</p> <p><b>BD:</b> Cautious anticipation?</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Yes. Things are going to be okay, as long as I can master this "living" thing, you know?</p> <p><b>BD:</b> Oh that is good.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> That quiet moment before it hits the chorus kills me.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> It plays so well off "You can hear it in the silence."</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Right. The most real stuff on the album is about falling in love. The break up songs don't ring true. Am I onto something here?</p> <p><b>BD:</b> Agreed. The breakup songs sound like an act? Like a show. Like something she knows she needs to do but isn't quite sure how to do it.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Yes. Obligatory. But these long train rides home, feeling lost and sad and...urgh...it's good. And Ben, Ben. We're now really in New York.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> Yes! I'm listening to that on the F train in the winter.</p> <p><span class="section-lead">Track 16: "New RomanTICS"</span></p> <p><b>JW:</b> THE FINAL SONG.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> You never realize it's going to be the last one until it's too late.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> But this is worthy, I think. We've got this big chorus again. Happy. Shameless.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> I like this. I'm feeling it. This is the one&nbsp;song that sort of would make me want to take some molly. NOT THAT I EVER WOULD.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> "We're the New Romantics"...that's a big claim, don't you think?</p> <p><b>BD:</b> Aim for the stars.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> And certainly, this is the most unadulterated dance-floor calling capital-A American song. Like Miley Cyrus's "Party in the USA".</p> <p><b>BD:</b> "Please take my hand and take me dancing and leave me stranded. It's so romantic." Oh there is so much to unpack in that last bit. So sick. So true.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> I keep mishearing, and instead thinking she's singing "Everyday is like bath salts..." Which is really horrible.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> HAHAHAHA.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> AND THAT'S A WRAP LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.</p> <p><span class="section-lead">VOICE MEMO</span></p> <p><b>BD:</b> Now she's talking about how to write a song.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Urgh, I just switched off. What a mood killer that was.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> What's happening? She had gotten me there. Now it's gone.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Turn it off. Turn it off!</p> <p><b>BD:</b> Okay,&nbsp;off. It's off. It's dead. God, never include those voice memo things after dance molly anthems.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> So Ben. Overall takeout assessment?</p> <p><b>BD:</b> I have to say: I had pretty high expectations going into this and I'm not sure this whole album really met them.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Right. My question going in was: Now that we've heard some high-water marks in the pre-releases, what will the album fill out about Taylor herself? And on that front, I did get some more from her than I expected. This whole "living, learning, loving" narrative was quite compelling, even if musically there was a rough patch in the middle.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> Exactly. I mean, the beginning has some real highlights and then it hits a sad monotonous valley for a bit and recovers towards the end and the last song is a smash. But I could have done without a lot of the stupid bullshit in the middle.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> There was some filler for sure. But, you know, on balance, I think I'm probably a little bit more of a fan than I was before (which, frankly, wasn't that much), and I'll definitely put on that lovesick song next time I'm drunk.</p> <p><b>BD:</b> Agreed. She's definitely matured as an artist away from the Nashville nonsense that she was known for a few albums ago. I mean, this is clearly her best album.</p> <p><b>JW:</b> Let's get this on the web.</p> <p><em>To preorder Taylor Swift's album, please visit your favorite music retailer, <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/1989/id907242701" target="_blank">like iTunes</a>.&nbsp;We've also corrected the names of three apparently&nbsp;mislabeled&nbsp;track names in the leaked version of the album.</em></p></body></html> Mixed Media Music Fri, 24 Oct 2014 21:23:49 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss and James West 263236 at http://www.motherjones.com Another Day, Another School Shooting http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/marysville-washington-shooting-87th-school-shooting-newtown <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A school shooting took place inside the cafeteria of Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Washington state on Friday. The suspected gunman, a student at the high school, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/24/us/washington-school-shooting/" target="_blank">CNN.</a> Federal officials say up to <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/24/us/washington-school-shooting/" target="_blank">five people</a> were shot. Roughly 50 people were present in the cafeteria at the time. At least one student has been killed, four others <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/24/us/washington-school-shooting/" target="_blank">injured. </a></p> <p>If you feel like you're stuck watching some kind of awful repeat programming, it's because you are: According to data gathered by the reform group <a href="http://everytown.org/article/schoolshootings/" target="_blank">Everytown for Gun Safety</a>, Friday's is the 87th shooting incident at a school since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary nearly two years ago.</p> <p>For a detailed look into the rise of mass shootings in America, see our latest coverage <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/10/mass-shootings-rising-harvard" target="_blank">here.</a></p></body></html> MoJo Guns Fri, 24 Oct 2014 20:47:30 +0000 Inae Oh 263226 at http://www.motherjones.com We Spent Millions so Afghans Could Film Live Sports With Headless Goat Carcasses—And Screwed It Up http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/afghanistan-tv-truck-deal-went-wrong <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In <a href="http://www.sigar.mil/pdf/special%20projects/SIGAR-15-09%20IL.pdf" target="_blank">August 2011</a>, the State Department purchased broadcast trucks for Afghan TV stations, for $3.6 million (206 million Afghanis), to help them tape live sporting events, like "buzkashi, soccer, cricket, and other sports." (<a href="http://www.afghan-web.com/sports/buzkashi.html">Buzkashi</a>, Afghanistan&rsquo;s national sport, translates to "goat grabbing" where horse-mounted players drag a headless goat carcass towards opposing goals.)</p> <p>But no one has been able to watch any goat carcasses filmed by those trucks in the past two years, because those trucks didn't show up until late July. And now, they're sitting around under tarps, unused&mdash;because the State Department could cancel the contract whenever it wants.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Buzkashi.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>A scene from Buzkashi Boys depicting men playing buzkashi. </strong><a href="http://www.buzkashiboys.com/987419/gallery" target="_blank">Buzkashi Boys</a></div> </div> <p>John Spoko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), sent Secretary of State John Kerry a <a href="http://www.sigar.mil/pdf/special%20projects/SIGAR-15-09%20IL.pdf">letter</a> demanding an explanation for the delayed TV trucks on Friday.</p> <p>According to the letter, in addition to the late delivery, the price of the television trucks "more than tripled" since the original order date. And, one of the trucks "was damaged in transit." As of September, the trucks are still sitting under tarps as the SIGAR staff waits for the State Department to accept delivery.</p> <p>Spoko claims that, because the trucks were delivered so late, the State Department may elect to end the contract and take the trucks back. After the late delivery, the tripled unit cost and several contract modifications, Spoko is wary of how aboveboard this deal really is: "If this information is accurate, it suggests that something is seriously wrong with the way this contract was managed."</p> <p><em>Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that SIGAR had "teamed up" with State to purchase the trucks. SIGAR is investigating the arrangement. It was not involved in it.</em></p></body></html> MoJo Afghanistan Film and TV Foreign Policy International Media Fri, 24 Oct 2014 20:25:55 +0000 Jenna McLaughlin 263211 at http://www.motherjones.com 5 New York Epidemics That Were Way Worse Than Ebola Will Be http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/10/new-york-city-epidemics-worse-ebola <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="board of health" class="image" src="/files/board-630.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>An 1865 cartoon from <em>Harper's Weekly</em> ridicules the incompetence of the New York City Board of Health, first established to fight yellow fever. </strong>US National Library of Medicine</div> </div> <p><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/new-york-city-health-care-worker-being-treated-possible-ebola" target="_blank">Ebola has arrived in New York City</a>. So should residents here be worried about a widespread outbreak? Almost certainly not: The disease is <a href="http://preparedness.columbia.edu/how-ebola-different-influenza-or-other-common-diseases-0" target="_blank">not airborne</a>, and infected patients are only contagious once they show symptoms. Craig Spencer, the infected doctor in New York, has said he didn't have symptoms Wednesday night when he rode the subway between Manhattan and Brooklyn and went bowling. Three people he came into contact with, who have not shown symptoms, have been <a href="http://gawker.com/three-quarantined-in-nyc-after-doctor-tests-positive-fo-1650217501" target="_blank">placed in precautionary quarantine</a>. And unlike West Africa, where health care is sparse and low-quality, the US is well equipped to handle cases of the virus; the hospital where Spencer is being treated <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/bellevue-hospital-prepared-treat-doctor-contracted-ebola-article-1.1985538" target="_blank">has been preparing to treat Ebola patients</a>. (Public heath officials in the city <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/24/nyregion/craig-spencer-is-tested-for-ebola-virus-at-bellevue-hospital-in-new-york-city.html" target="_blank">expected cases of Ebola to turn up sooner or later</a>.)</p> <p>But the prospect of a deadly disease outbreak in the Big Apple is still pretty scary, and the city hasn't always dodged the pathogen bullet. Here are a few epidemics in New York that were far worse than Ebola is likely to be.</p> <p><strong>Yellow fever (1795-1803):</strong></p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Arch_Street_Ferry.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>The wharf in Philadelphia where yellow fever cases were first identified. </strong><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_Fever_Epidemic_of_1793#mediaviewer/File:Arch_Street_Ferry.jpg" target="_blank">Wikimedia Commons</a></div> </div> <p>The city's first health department <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/bicentennial/historical-booklet-1805-1865.pdf" target="_blank">was created in 1793</a> to block boats from Philadelphia, which at the time was in the grips of a yellow fever epidemic that <a href="http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/nycdata/disasters/yellow_fever.html" target="_blank">left 5,000 dead</a>. The tactic didn't work: By 1795 cases began to appear in Manhattan, and by 1798 the disease had reached epidemic proportions there, with <a href="http://www.columbia.edu/itc/hs/pubhealth/rosner/g8965/client_edit/readings/week_5/condran.pdf" target="_blank">800 deaths that year</a>. Several thousand more died over the next few years. (The disease causes victims' to vomit black bile and their skin to turn yellowish, and the fatality rate without treatment is <a href="http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs100/en/" target="_blank">as high as 50 percent</a>.)&nbsp;This was no small blow for a city that at the time had <a href="https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/fast_facts/1800_fast_facts.html" target="_blank">only about 60,000 residents</a>. As is the case today with Ebola in West Africa, misinformation was a big part of the problem: Doctors at the time had only just begun to speculate that the virus was carried by mosquitoes (other theorized sources included unsanitary conditions in slums and rotting coffee). Little effort was made to publicize the epidemic for fear of a mass exodus from the city, <a href="http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/nycdata/disasters/yellow_fever.html" target="_blank">according to Baruch College</a>. Today yellow fever is extremely rare in the United States&nbsp;but still <a href="http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs100/en/" target="_blank">kills 30,000 people every year</a>, 90 percent of whom are in Africa.</p> <p><strong>Cholera (mid-1800s): </strong></p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="cholera" class="image" src="/files/Cholera_Epidemic_poster_New_York_City.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>An 1865 poster from the New York City Sanitary Commission offers advice on how to avoid contracting cholera. </strong><a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cholera_Epidemic_poster_New_York_City.jpg" target="_blank">Wikimedia Commons</a></div> </div> <p>By the 1830s New York was a booming metropolis of 200,000, with swarms of newcomers arriving daily on boats from Europe. When word of a raging cholera epidemic in Europe reached the city's Board of Health, it instituted quarantines on incoming ships and tried to clean up the filthy streets. But again the board was reluctant to make public announcements, this time to avoid disrupting trade, according to <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/bicentennial/historical-booklet-1805-1865.pdf" target="_blank">city records</a>. One resident claimed the board was "more afraid of merchants than of lying." By June 1832, the disease, which causes severe diarrhea and can kill within hours if untreated, arrived in New York via boats traveling down the Hudson River from Quebec. Within two months, 3,500 people were dead&mdash;mostly poor Irish immigrants and blacks living in the city's slums. Outbreaks occurred again in 1849, with some <a href="http://www.columbia.edu/itc/hs/pubhealth/rosner/g8965/client_edit/readings/week_5/condran.pdf" target="_blank">5,000 deaths</a>, and in 1866, with <a href="http://www.virtualny.cuny.edu/cholera/1866/cholera_1866_set.html" target="_blank">1,100 deaths</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Polio (1916): </strong></p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/polio-630.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>A physical therapist works with two children with polio in 1963. </strong>Charles Farmer/CDC</div> </div> <p>New York City was the epicenter of an outbreak of polio in 1916 that began with a <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1473030/" target="_blank">handful of cases reported to a clinic in Brooklyn</a>. The disease, which advances from feverlike symptoms to paralysis and sometimes death, ultimately <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/bicentennial/historical-booklet.pdf" target="_blank">spread to 9,000 New Yorkers</a> and caused 2,400 deaths. Across the Northeast, the infection toll climbed to 23,000 by the fall. The disease remained prevalent in the United States until the 1954 introduction of Jonas Salk's polio vaccine. Polio is now extremely rare here. But worldwide, <a href="http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs114/en/" target="_blank">it still infects 200,000 people every year, particularly in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan</a>.</p> <p><strong>Influenza (1918): </strong></p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="influenza" class="image" src="/files/influenza-630.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>In 1918, soldiers with influenza are treated at an Army hospital in Kansas. </strong><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1918_flu_pandemic#mediaviewer/File:CampFunstonKS-InfluenzaHospital.jpg" target="_blank">Wikimedia Commons</a></div> </div> <p>In August 1918, a Norwegian ship called the <em>Bergensfjord </em><a href="http://www.influenzaarchive.org/cities/city-newyork.html#" target="_blank">pulled into New York Harbor</a> carrying 21 people infected with a new and virulent strain of the flu. Over the next several weeks, dozens more arrived, mostly on ships from Europe, and sick passengers were quarantined in a hospital just blocks from the modern-day Bellevue, where Spencer is currently being treated. Those unfortunate sailors were just the first in what would become the deadliest disease outbreak in the city's history to that date. Over 30,000 deaths were recorded <a href="http://www.flu.gov/pandemic/history/1918/your_state/northeast/newyork/" target="_blank">by November</a>&mdash;the actual number was likely much higher&mdash;including 12,300 during the first week of November alone. One health worker visited a family in lower Manhattan and found an <a href="http://www.flu.gov/pandemic/history/1918/your_state/northeast/newyork/" target="_blank">infant dead in its crib and all seven other family members severely ill</a>.</p> <p>Other nearby cities fared even worse: The death rate in New York was 4.7 per 1,000 cases, compared to 6.5 in Boston and 7.3 in Philadelphia, <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2862336/#B2" target="_blank">according to the National Institutes of Health</a>. That may not sound like a lot, given that the Ebola death rate is closer to 50 percent, but because influenza is so easily spread it can infect a much greater number of people. Globally, the 1918 flu killed between 50100 million people, the worst public health crisis in modern times. Today, the flu is still considered the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/08/5-diseases-are-scarier-ebola" target="_blank">greatest infectious disease risk</a> for Americans, killing between 3,000 and 50,000 every year, <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/us_flu-related_deaths.htm" target="_blank">according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention</a>. In other words, it's possible that more people could die from the flu this year in America than have <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/22/us-health-ebola-who-idUSKCN0IB23220141022" target="_blank">died worldwide from Ebola</a> during this outbreak. And yet only 1 in 3 Americans get a flu shot. Get a flu shot, people!</p> <p><strong>HIV/AIDS (1981-present): </strong></p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/AIDS-630.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>An AIDS poster from New York City in the 1980s&nbsp;</strong>US National Library of Medicine</div> </div> <p>The scourge of HIV/AIDS is the most familiar epidemic for modern New Yorkers, <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/bicentennial/historical-booklet.pdf" target="_blank">beginning with the June 1981 discovery </a>of 41 cases of a rare cancer among gay men across the country. Throughout the 1980s, campaigns by the city encouraged New Yorkers to use protection during sex and not to share needles or use intravenous drugs. By 1987, according to city records, $400 million had been spent on AIDS services. But activists for AIDS rights groups like ACT UP accused city officials, led by Mayor Ed Koch, of dragging their feet and ignoring the true scale of the crisis. It took until the mid-'90s for anti-retroviral drugs to become widely available. Today, for people who have access to adequate health care, HIV is often manageable. But to date, <a href="http://nycaidsmemorial.org/aids-statistics" target="_blank">more than 100,000 New Yorkers</a> have been killed by AIDS-related maladies, according to state health statistics. Despite recent advances in medical treatment, infection rates are still high in New York, disproportionately affecting racial minorities and gay men.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Health Science Top Stories Ebola Fri, 24 Oct 2014 20:18:45 +0000 Tim McDonnell 263166 at http://www.motherjones.com Environmentalists Don't Like Europe's New Climate Plan. Can Obama Do Better? http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/10/europe-climate-deal-greenhouse-gas-obama <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Environmental groups are warning that a new European agreement to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030 sets the bar far too low.</p> <p>The pact&mdash;which was reached early Friday in Brussels&mdash;makes the European Union the first major bloc of countries to commit to emissions targets ahead of next year's crucial climate change talks in Paris. At the Paris meeting, world leaders will attempt to hammer out a global agreement that will keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).</p> <p>The <em>Guardian</em> <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/24/eu-leaders-agree-to-cut-greenhouse-gas-emissions-by-40-by-2030" target="_blank">reports</a> that in addition to their commitment to cut greenhouse emissions by 40 percent, European leaders also agreed to increase the portion of the region's energy that comes renewable sources to 27 percent by 2030. That provision is legally binding for the EU as a whole, but not on a national level, potentially opening the door to disagreements about how to get there. The third notable part of the pact is a plan to increase energy efficiency by 27 percent,&nbsp;but that target is&nbsp;not legally binding.</p> <p>Oxfam&mdash;the global development NGO&mdash;<a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/pressroom/reactions/europe-must-review-climate-targets-after-weak-climate-package-deal" target="_blank">slammed</a> the deal as "insufficient," saying the targets are too low and not enforceable enough.&nbsp;The group's Deputy Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, Natalia Alonso, said in a statement: "Today's deal must set the floor not the ceiling of European action, and they must arrive in Paris with a more serious offer." Oxfam called for a much for aggressive policy: 55 percent cuts in emissions.</p> <p>Greenpeace also <a href="http://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/en/News/2014/EU-leaders-pull-handbrake-on-clean-energy/" target="_blank">criticized</a> the deal, saying the EU leaders pulled the "handbrake on clean energy."</p> <p>"These targets are too low, slowing down efforts to boost renewable energy and keeping Europe hooked on polluting and expensive fuel," the group said in a statement.</p> <p>Greenpeace EU managing director Mahi Sideridou added, "The global fight against climate change needs radical shock treatment, but what the EU is offering is at best a whiff of smelling salts."</p> <p>Nevertheless, European leaders hailed the deal as a major breakthrough. "This package is very good news for our fight against climate change," said Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president.</p> <p>Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said the pact "will ensure that Europe will be an important player, will be an important party, in future binding commitments of an international climate agreement."</p> <p>World Resources Institute, a leading climate policy research group, <a href="http://www.wri.org/news/2014/10/statement-wri-reacts-eu-climate-deal" target="_blank">struck a more conciliatory tone</a> than other environmental groups, while also calling for more aggressive targets. "Despite facing a dismal recession and difficult internal debate, European leaders demonstrated their resolve by staying the course," said the institute's director of climate and energy programs, Jennifer Morgan, in a statement. "At the same time, it is clear that all of the targets could have been&mdash;and should have been&mdash;more ambitious."</p> <p>The deal raises the stakes for other countries to get serious about climate commitments ahead of Paris. According to the <em>Guardian</em>, it contains a clause that would trigger a review of the new targets&mdash;potentially torpedoing today's&nbsp;agreement&mdash;if other countries don't come to the table with comparable proposals next year.</p> <p>It remains unclear precisely what the US government will seek at next year's negotiations. <a href="http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-climate-change-proposal-20141015-story.html" target="_blank">Early indications suggest</a> the Obama administration is considering a plan that would require countries to limit emissions according to a specific timetable but wouldn't dictate to individual countries how deep those cuts would be.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Climate Change Climate Desk Economy Energy Top Stories Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:14:27 +0000 James West 263191 at http://www.motherjones.com Friday Cat Blogging - 24 October 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/10/fridat-cat-blogging-24-october-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>We're a little late with catblogging today, but that's not bad under the circumstances&mdash;which partly include all those meddling doctors with their tests and pills and questions, but are actually mostly technological. For the most part, the Windows tablet and the new phone have been godsends in the hospital. The Windows tablet, running standard&mdash;and fully synced&mdash;Firefox, allows me to blog with no trouble, unlike either my iPad or Android tabs. Windows OneDrive gives me access to every picture I've ever taken of the cats. And the hotspot on the phone is fast and reliable, unlike the hospital WiFi system.</p> <p>Unfortunately, I don't have Photoshop installed, and probably never will since it's now astronomically expensive and available only by subscription. Even the simplest image editing is a trial with only MS Paint to work with, so any post with a picture is sort of torturous to publish.</p> <p>But I'm a professional, and nothing is too much work for my loyal readers. So here you go. Hopper is the blurry one on the right, grooming a slightly bemused Hilbert, who joined in a few seconds later and turned both cats into blurs.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hopper_hilbert_2014_10_24_1.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 60px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:55:37 +0000 Kevin Drum 263201 at http://www.motherjones.com Final Housekeeping Update http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/10/final-housekeeping-update <!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_kevin_hospital_2014_10_24_0.jpg" style="margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;"> According to my surgeon, yesterday's kyphoplasty went swimmingly well. I needed to be prepared for normal post-op recovery pain, but once I was through that my back would be in good shape.</p> <p>Unfortunately, "normal post-op recovery pain" turned out to be hours of excruciating, mind-numbing agony. At one point I was on four separate pain killers and they still weren't doing the job. I finally got a second dose of the most powerful one, and that made things barely tolerable&mdash;though at the medium-term expense of my stomach, I suspect.</p> <p>But that was yesterday. Today I feel OK, and this morning I got out of bed and hobbled around the room without any significant pain So, success!</p> <p>This is the last post that can fairly be called "housekeeping," but not the end of the story. I'll have more news later.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:09:20 +0000 Kevin Drum 263171 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for October 24, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/were-still-war-photo-day-october-24-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p class="rtecenter"><em>US Navy Sailors aboard a guided missile destroyer plot on a chart during a damage control drill. <span class="meta-field photo-desc " id="yui_3_16_0_1_1414160763597_1546">(US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Declan Barnes)</span></em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:38:38 +0000 263176 at http://www.motherjones.com Anti-Abortion Colorado Republican Candidate Tries to Pass Himself Off As Pro-Choice http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/beauprez-abortion-choice-colorado-governor <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Bob Beauprez, the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/10/colorado-death-penalty-john-hickenlooper-nathan-dunlap-beauprez" target="_blank">Republican candidate for governor of Colorado</a>, just joined a growing club of GOP politicians&mdash;including <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/scott-walker-wisconsin-governor-ban-abortion-rape-incest" target="_blank">Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker</a> and <a href="http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/10/08/scott-brown-defends-pro-choice-record-responding-jeanne-shaheen-attack/BarZghZjJ9Se1qffEg87pI/story.html" target="_blank">Senate hopeful Scott Brown of New Hampshire</a>&mdash;who have grossly misrepresented their stance on women's reproductive rights.</p> <p>In <a href="http://www.cpr.org/news/story/what-bob-beauprez-would-do-if-elected-colorado-governor" target="_blank">an interview aired Wednesday</a> on Colorado Public Radio, Beauprez, a former congressman, struck a decidedly pro-choice note when asked about abortion and birth control. He said he would not stand in the way of women having access to abortions, nor would he interfere with women choosing what kind of birth control to use. "I respect people's opinion, women's right to that choice," he said. He later added, "I don't want to run somebody else's family and make decisions for their family, their life; I want them to have the opportunity and the freedom to do that themselves."</p> <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/173582579&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>Here's the full exchange (listen to the audio above):</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>CPR:</strong> On women's reproductive health, as governor would you be committed to your current stated position that while you're personally against abortions, you won't stand in the way of people having access to them or letting women choose their preferred method of birth control?</p> <p><strong>Bob Beauprez:</strong> That's correct. I respect people's opinion, women's right to that choice. I know what the law is. And my job is to enforce the law. The question of birth control has come up and let me be real clear&hellip;I think women ought to have the choice of whether to use birth control or not. I think women ought to have the choice of what type of birth control to use. I just don't think taxpayers need to be paying for it.</p> <p>I respect people's right to choose. I live my life the way I personally choose, but I'm not going to interfere with somebody else's. The job of a governor is less to govern the people, and more to govern the government. I don't want to make somebody else's decision, but I want them to have every opportunity to make their own. I don't want to run somebody else's family and make decisions for their family, their life; I want them to have the opportunity and the freedom to do that themselves. That's the kind of governor I'll be.</p> </blockquote> <p><em>Right to that choice</em>&hellip;<em>have the choice</em>&hellip;<em>right to choose</em>&hellip;<em>the way I choose</em>: Beauprez almost sounds like a Planned Parenthood activist. But his legislative record and past statements couldn't be more at odds with his seemingly pro-choice comments.</p> <p>In 2005, then-Rep. Beauprez <a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/109th-congress/house-bill/552/cosponsors" target="_blank">cosponsored</a> the Right to Life Act, a measure that guaranteed "equal protection for the right to life of each born and pre-born human person." The bill defined life beginning with "the moment of fertilization," and could severely restrict abortions. In Colorado Right-to-Life's 2006 voter guide, he <a href="http://coloradopols.com/diary/55169/bob-beauprez-goes-both-ways-on-personhood-abortion-ban">said</a> he supported a constitutional amendment to "restore full protection to pre-born human beings." That same year, he <a href="http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_4264454">asserted</a>&mdash;incorrectly&mdash;that the abortion rate for black women was an "appalling" 70 percent. (The <a href="http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_4264454" target="_blank">actual rate</a> at the time, according to the Guttmacher Institute, was 49 per 1,000&mdash;or 4.9 percent.) And in 2013, in <a href="http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/bobbeauprez/2013/01/22/reconciling-roe-v-wade-n1494247" target="_blank">a column on TownHall.com</a>, he urged all Americans to reconcile the "tragedies" of abortions just as they reconciled the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/10/mass-shootings-rising-harvard" target="_blank">mass shootings</a> in Aurora, Colorado, and Newtown, Connecticut.</p> <p>As a gubernatorial candidate, Beauprez has not wavered from his decidedly anti-abortion position.&nbsp;He <a href="http://www.denverpost.com/election2014/ci_26619487/bob-beauprez-says-he-would-adhere-conservative-principles">continues to say</a> that he opposes all forms of abortion, even in cases of rape and incest unless the mother's life is at risk. He <a href="http://coloradopols.com/diary/55169/bob-beauprez-goes-both-ways-on-personhood-abortion-ban">bragged</a> to an interviewer in March about his "100 percent pro-life voting record." He also <a href="http://blogs.denverpost.com/thespot/2014/10/21/race-truthful-attack-beauprez/113943/">claims</a> that an IUD is an abortifacient, not contraception. Beauprez has not said how he'd act on these beliefs, though he <a href="http://blogs.denverpost.com/thespot/2014/10/21/race-truthful-attack-beauprez/113943/" target="_blank">says he would eliminate</a> all state funding for Planned Parenthood.</p> <p>But anyone listening to his recent Colorado Public Radio interview might think that Beauprez was a supporter of a woman's right to choose, just as Scott Walker and Scott Brown sought to imply in their own sneaky ads on the issue. Pro-choice women are a key voting bloc that Beauprez needs to win&mdash;and he appears willing to distort his record to get their votes.</p></body></html> MoJo Elections Health Care Reproductive Rights Top Stories Fri, 24 Oct 2014 10:00:11 +0000 Andy Kroll 263141 at http://www.motherjones.com Man Tells Joke http://www.motherjones.com/contributor/2014/10/ebola-ted-cruz-fear-twitter <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/new-york-city-health-care-worker-being-treated-possible-ebola" target="_blank">Ebola in NYC!</a> Chaos! Doom! Hysteria! Hashtags!</p> <p>Late Thursday, New York City officials <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/new-york-city-health-care-worker-being-treated-possible-ebola" target="_blank">confirmed</a> that a doctor recently returned to the city from treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. The internet, a place where serious things are not taken seriously and unserious things are taken very seriously, was a bit confused about how to react. On the one hand, panic! On the other hand, #ironic #detachment!</p> <p>Into this whirlwind jumped Nick Muzin, Sen. Ted Cruz's deputy chief of staff:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>"Senior Advisor &amp; Dep. Chief <a href="https://twitter.com/SenTedCruz">@SenTedCruz</a>. Fmr. Director of Coalitions for <a href="https://twitter.com/HouseGOP">@HouseGOP</a>" <a href="http://t.co/j6RpxYW08k">pic.twitter.com/j6RpxYW08k</a></p> &mdash; Adam Weinstein (@AdamWeinstein) <a href="https://twitter.com/AdamWeinstein/status/525459540813545473">October 24, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>The internet was unsure if this not very funny joke was a joke or not and ran with it as though it were serious because the truth is conservatives do seem to blame quite a lot on Obamacare, but then the tweet was deleted and followed up with:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Earlier tweet was a bad joke, my sarcasm did not translate well online. Deleted.</p> &mdash; Nick Muzin (@nickmuzin) <a href="https://twitter.com/nickmuzin/status/525467746705084417">October 24, 2014</a></blockquote> <p><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p> <p>I would personally like the record to reflect that though I wasn't sure if it was a joke and didn't find it particularly funny, I'd die for Nick Muzin's right to tweet his joke.</p> <p>Have a great night.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/gGpDnsN6QIw?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> Contributor Ebola Fri, 24 Oct 2014 02:34:55 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 263156 at http://www.motherjones.com New York City Doctor Tests Positive for Ebola http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/new-york-city-health-care-worker-being-treated-possible-ebola <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><em>The New York Times </em>reports Craig Spencer, a Doctors Without Borders physician who had recently been to West Africa to help treat Ebola patients, has tested <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/24/nyregion/craig-spencer-is-tested-for-ebola-virus-at-bellevue-hospital-in-new-york-city.html?smid=tw-share" target="_blank">positive for the disease</a>. Spencer is the first person in New York to be diagnosed.</p> <p>As Spencer's identity had been confirmed late Thursday afternoon, it became known he had been <a href="http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2014/10/23/cbs-2-officials-looking-into-possible-ebola-case-in-new-york-city/" target="_blank">bowling in Brooklyn</a> on Wednesday, traveling via an Uber ride to and from Manhattan.</p> <p>"Ebola is very difficult to contract, being on the same subway car or living near someone with Ebola does not put someone at risk," de Blasio told reporters at a news conference Thursday evening.</p> <p>Since coming back to the United States on October 14th, the city's health commissioner, Dr. Mary Bassett, confirmed Spencer used the subway's A, 1, and L lines and bowled at <a href="http://www.brooklynvegan.com/archives/2014/10/the_gutter_bowl.html" target="_blank">The Gutter in Williamsburg</a>. Bassett said the city has been preparing for the possibility of an outbreak for the past few weeks, with Cuomo emphasizing healthcare workers have been well-trained for such an event.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/WBH4m1U-0R0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 2em;">Earlier Thursday, Spencer was taken to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan after suffering from Ebola-like symptoms, including a 100.3 fever and nausea.</span> The health department's initial report Spencer had a <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/ebola-virus-outbreak/nyc-ebola-patient-dr-craig-spencer-had-100-3-fever-n233031" target="_blank">103 degree fever</a> was corrected on Friday.</p> <p>The New York City Health Department released a statement indicating Spencer had returned to the United States<a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/diseases/ebola-stmt-nyc.shtml" target="_blank"> within the past 21 days. </a></p> <blockquote> <p class="rteindent1"><span class="bodytext">The patient was transported by a specially trained HAZ TAC unit wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).&nbsp; After consulting with the hospital and the CDC, DOHMH has decided to conduct a test for the Ebola virus because of this patient&rsquo;s recent travel history, pattern of symptoms, and past work. DOHMH and HHC are also evaluating the patient for other causes of illness, as these symptoms can also be consistent with salmonella, malaria, or the stomach flu.</span></p> </blockquote> <p><em>The New York Post</em> first identified <a href="http://nypost.com/2014/10/23/nyc-may-have-its-first-ebola-case/" target="_blank">Spencer,</a> who returned from <a href="https://twitter.com/NYTMetro/status/525382395789582336" target="_blank">Guinea on October 14</a> and reported his fever this morning.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/HTlQ_x9uE8c" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><em>CNN</em> producer Vaughn Sterling tweeted the following:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>BREAKING: Possible NYC <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ebola?src=hash">#Ebola</a> didn't self-quarantine; took an &uuml;ber to Williamsburg bowling alley yesterday; now has fever/pain/nausea</p> &mdash; Vaughn Sterling (@vplus) <a href="https://twitter.com/vplus/status/525373604767469568">October 23, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p><em>Reminder, refrain from panicking. This post has been updated throughout. </em></p></body></html> MoJo Health Ebola Thu, 23 Oct 2014 20:38:43 +0000 Inae Oh 263131 at http://www.motherjones.com Students at a Nebraska High School Can Now Pose With Guns in Their Senior Portraits http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/nebraska-high-school-guns-senior-portraits%20 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Seniors at Broken Bow High School in Nebraska have been granted their God-given right to <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/rural-nebraska-school-district-guns-yearbook-photos-article-1.1983551" target="_blank">pose</a> with guns for their upcoming senior portraits, just as long as the photos are taken off campus and done "tastefully."</p> <p>&ldquo;The board, I believe, felt they wanted to give students who are involved in those kinds of things the opportunity to take a senior picture with their hobby, with their sport, just like anybody with any other hobby or sport,&rdquo; Superintendent Mark Sievering explained to local paper, the <em><a href="http://www.omaha.com/news/nebraska/guns-in-senior-portraits-ok-if-done-tastefully-nebraska-school/article_e25a4c6e-593c-11e4-ae63-001a4bcf6878.html?mode=story" target="_blank">Omaha World-Herald. </a></em></p> <p>One would think such a bizarre proposal would prompt some level of debate, a modicum of sane opposition! After all, we're talking about mere teenagers eerily striking poses with weapons in their adolescent hands. Alas, the idea was met with a unanimous yes by all members of the Broken Bow school board.</p> <p>&ldquo;For me as a sportsman, I think the policy&rsquo;s important because it allows those kids who are doing those things a chance to demonstrate what they&rsquo;re doing and to celebrate that. I think that&rsquo;s important and fair in our country," board member Matthew Haumont said.</p> <p>As for the "tasteful" requirement, that means classy poses only folks: no photos with weapons pointed at the camera, no brandishing of weapons, and no "scantily clad girls."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Guns Thu, 23 Oct 2014 18:14:30 +0000 Inae Oh 263116 at http://www.motherjones.com Elizabeth Warren's Latest Comment About Running For President Is the Most Cryptic Yet http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/elizabeth-warren-people-magazine-2016 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>With 106 weeks until the next presidential election, speculating about a potential Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) candidacy is like going on a long car ride with a six-year-old. "Are you running?" <em>No</em>. "How about now?" <em>No</em>. "Now?" <em>No</em>. "Now?" <em>No</em>. "What about now?" <em>No</em>. "Are you running?" <em>No</em>. "Are you running?" [<em>exasperated sigh]</em> "Aha!"</p> <p>But Warren does continue to do the things people who are considering a run for president tend to do&mdash;<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/elizabeth-warren-was-fire-weekend-here-were-her-5-best-lines" target="_blank">flying to Iowa</a> to rally the troops on behalf of Rep. Bruce Braley, for instance, and going on tour to promote a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/04/elizabeth-warren-a-fighting-chance-2016" target="_blank">campaign-style book</a>. Her latest venture, a sit-down interview in the next issue of <a href="http://www.people.com/article/elizabeth-warren-interview-youtube-treasury-secretary-hillary-clinton" target="_blank"><em>People</em> magazine</a>, isn't going to do much to quiet the speculation, even as she once more downplayed the prospect of a run:</p> <blockquote> <p>[S]upporters are already lining up to back an "Elizabeth Warren for President" campaign in 2016. But is the freshman senator from Massachusetts herself on board with a run for the White House? Warren wrinkles her nose.</p> <p>"I don't think so," she tells PEOPLE in an interview conducted at Warren's Cambridge, Massachusetts, home for this week's issue. "If there's any lesson I've learned in the last five years, it's don't be so sure about what lies ahead. There are amazing doors that could open."</p> <p>She just doesn't see the door of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue being one of them. Not yet, anyway. "Right now," Warren says, "I'm focused on figuring out what else I can do from this spot" in the U.S. Senate.</p> </blockquote> <p>"Amazing doors"; "I don't think"; "right now"&mdash;<em>what does it all mean</em>? Warren's not really saying anything we haven't heard from her before. But after then-Sen. Barack Obama's furious denials about running for president eight years ago, no one's ready to take "no" for an answer. At least not yet, anyway.</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Elections Thu, 23 Oct 2014 17:59:20 +0000 Tim Murphy 263111 at http://www.motherjones.com Watching This Porcupine Taste a Pumpkin Is Why the World Is Going to Be Okay Today http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/10/watching-porcupine-taste-pumpkin-why-world-going-be-okay-today <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/cILZ_cB3_so" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Imagine if we were all as happy as this adorable porcupine, enjoying the seasonal harvest with this much gusto. (You really need to wait until he takes his first bite&mdash;the sounds he makes are amazing). This video was posted to YouTube by <a href="http://www.zooniversity.org/" target="_blank">Zooiversity</a>, a traveling animal education company in Texas, last year, and appears to be enjoying an encore seasonal run this week, as the nation heads&nbsp;into full-on pumpkin madness. (H/t to the website <em>Unwindly</em>, <a href="http://www.unwindly.com/i/272-Porcupine-Tastes-His-First-Pumpkin-Cant-Contain-His-Excitement">where I first saw it</a>).</p> <p>Teddy Bear, an 11-year-old male North American porcupine (<em>Erethizon dorsatum</em>), is something of a YouTube star at this point, it seems. <a href="http://www.zooniversity.org/our-animals/teddy-bear-the-porcupine/" target="_blank">According to Zooiversity's website</a>, he's raked in 11.5 million views from 16 viral videos and enjoys a following from over 19,000 Facebook fans.&nbsp;</p> <p>He's even...a movie star. Yes. A movie star. According to Zooiversity, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8vUO0lywa8">Teddy gave voice to Sebastian the hedgehog in <em>The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey</em></a>. He's come a long way since his days as an abandoned newborn found by a rancher in West Texas.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Video Animals Thu, 23 Oct 2014 16:06:52 +0000 James West 263101 at http://www.motherjones.com Yet More Housekeeping http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/10/yet-more-housekeeping <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>How much detail do you want about my medical woes? Well, I'm bored, so you're going to get more.</p> <p>By the time you read this, I should be sedated and ready for a something-plasty, a procedure that injects bone cement into my fractured L3 lumbar vertebra. In other words, I will become a low-grade Wolverine in one teeny-tiny part of my body. According to the doctors, the cement dries instantly and should relieve my back pain almost completely. It sounds too good to be true, and of course it's always possible that I have some other source of back pain in addition to the compression fracture. But this should help a lot.</p> <p>There is more to this story, and hopefully tomorrow will wrap everything up as all the rest of the test results come back. I'll keep you posted.</p> <p>On a related subject, I have to say that the Irvine Kaiser hospital is excellent. I have a very nice little single room with good visiting accommodations. It features all the usual annoyances of a hospital, some of which have made me grumpy, but everyone has been very nice and professional. They've made my stay about as nice as it could be under the circumstances.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 23 Oct 2014 16:00:10 +0000 Kevin Drum 263091 at http://www.motherjones.com Canada's Coverage of the Ottawa Shootings Put American Cable News to Shame http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/10/cbc-ottawa-shootings-cable-news <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation today gave a master class in calm, credible breaking-news reporting.</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/10/after-parliament-tragedy-canada-celebrates-longtime-national-badass-kevin-vickers" target="_blank"><img alt="Kevin Vickers" class="image" src="/files/kevinvickers-thumbnail.jpg"></a> <div class="caption"><strong>Also Read: <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/10/after-parliament-tragedy-canada-celebrates-longtime-national-badass-kevin-vickers" target="_blank">Kevin Vickers, Canada's Badass National Hero, Is a Portrait of Humility </a></strong></div> </div> <p>Anchored by the unflappable Peter Mansbridge, news of the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/10/shooting-canadian-parliament-ottawa" target="_blank">shootings in Ottawa</a> unfolded live on the CBC much like they do here in the United States: lots of sketchy details, conflicting reports, unreliable witnesses, and a thick fog of confusion. All of that was familiar. What was less familiar was how Mansbridge and his team managed that confusion, conveying a concise and fact-based version of fast-moving events to viewers across Canada and the world.</p> <p>This live bit of level-headed reporting by Mansbridge, from around 11:10 a.m. Wednesday, should be given to journalism students around the country. It basically contains everything you need to know about why CBC did its audience proud:</p> <blockquote> <p>MANSBRIDGE: And so, the situation is, as we say, tense and unclear. And it's on days like this&mdash;we keep reminding you of this and it's important&mdash;it's on days like this, where a story takes a number of different pathways, a number of changes occur, and often rumors start in a situation like this. We try to keep them out of our coverage, but when they come, sometimes from official sources, like members of Parliament, you tend to give them some credence. But you carefully weigh it with what we're also witnessing. It's clear that the situation is not over. It is clear the police are in an intense standby situation and continue to be on the lookout, and until somebody blows the all-clear on this we will continue to stay on top of it and watch as the events unfold.</p> </blockquote> <p>Watch below, courtesy of the CBC:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/MLORytusZ4c" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>The broadcast was deliberative and deferential to the facts even when they were sparse. Exacting and painstaking, but never slow or boring, Mansbridge weighed the credibility of every detail, constantly framing and reframing what we knew and, most crucially, <em>how we knew it</em>. He literally <em>spoke</em> the news as it happened, using his experience not to opine nor fill the gaps in his knowledge, but to provide the necessary support for his team's reporting.</p> <p>Getting things wrong during fast-moving live coverage is, of course, common. Coverage of the Washington Navy Yard shooting last year got the details wrong early and often: It misstated the perpetrator's name, age, and how many guns he had. Following the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013, there was false coverage about the identity of the bombers, and anonymous sources leading journalists to nonexistent bombs and arrests. <em>On the Media</em>'s handy <a href="http://www.onthemedia.org/story/breaking-news-consumers-handbook-pdf/" target="_blank">"breaking news consumer's handbook"</a> is a great roundup of the reporting errors that get repeated every time there is a mass shooting.</p> <p>No newscast, especially live news, is immune to mistakes, and during the initial haze of leads and counterleads, it's easy to point fingers. But for the six-some hours of CBC broadcasting I watched off-and-on (mostly on) today, I never once felt lost in the wall-to-wall speculation that has characterized so many recent breaking-news broadcasts in the United States.</p> <p>It seems like others on Twitter agree that CBC did pretty damn well today:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Exactly right. <a href="https://twitter.com/CBCNews">@cbcnews</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/petermansbridge">@petermansbridge</a> covered today&rsquo;s awful events properly: calmly, carefully and accurately. <a href="http://t.co/Ij2dOPlGmz">http://t.co/Ij2dOPlGmz</a></p> &mdash; Mike Wickett (@mwickett) <a href="https://twitter.com/mwickett/status/525023274661855232">October 22, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>CBC, by the way, has not gone to break in over two hours. Peter Mansbridge has barely exhaled. Grand work by our public broadcaster.</p> &mdash; Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) <a href="https://twitter.com/ArashMadani/status/524964924033089536">October 22, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>.<a href="https://twitter.com/CBCNews">@CBCNews</a> anchor <a href="https://twitter.com/petermansbridge">@petermansbridge</a> has been brilliant today, and US news could learn a lot: <a href="http://t.co/PvnyhNVzLs">http://t.co/PvnyhNVzLs</a> <a href="http://t.co/gKaO6lo6n5">pic.twitter.com/gKaO6lo6n5</a></p> &mdash; Mark Joyella (@standupkid) <a href="https://twitter.com/standupkid/status/524991532454412288">October 22, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></body></html> Mixed Media Crime and Justice Media Top Stories Wed, 22 Oct 2014 21:28:39 +0000 James West 263076 at http://www.motherjones.com Map: The Most Popular NFL Teams Everywhere in America—According to Twitter http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/nfl-team-twitter-map-popularity <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>For now, even after all the concussions, the domestic violence, and the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/10/timeline-history-offensive-sports-mascots-redskins-snyder" target="_blank">still-horribly named</a> team from Washington, DC, Americans still love their pro football. Twitter took a stab at measuring <a href="http://blog.twitter.com/2014/nfl-fan-map-where-are-your-team-s-followers" target="_blank">the popularity of every NFL franchise</a> by looking at the official Twitter handle for each team and then counting followers of those teams in each county. It's an imperfect measure, for sure, but it's a nifty interface and a lot of fun! Take a look:</p> <p><iframe src="https://interactive.twitter.com/nfl_followers2014/#?mode=team&amp;team=all" style="border:none;height:1100px;width:100%;"></iframe></p></body></html> MoJo Maps Sports Wed, 22 Oct 2014 19:39:59 +0000 AJ Vicens 263066 at http://www.motherjones.com Fox News Thinks Young Women Are Too Busy With Tinder to "Get" Voting http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/10/fox-news-young-women-voting-tinder <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle, a woman, shared some advice for us <a href="http://mediamatters.org/research/2014/10/21/right-wing-media-discourage-young-women-from-vo/201259" target="_blank">feeble-minded young ladies out here</a>: Let's not burden ourselves with voting! After all, we're far too busy swiping for a man on Tinder to cast an educated vote in the midterm elections, or any election for that matter.</p> <p>"It's the same reason why young women on juries are not a good idea," Guilfoyle explained to her approving co-hosts. "They don't get it!"</p> <p>"They're not in that same life experience of paying the bills, doing the mortgage, kids, community, crime, education, health care. They're like healthy and hot and running around without a care in the world," she added.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/EOY3StMKLME" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>But what to do with all of our overabundant, perky energy?!&nbsp;Guilfoyle says not to worry&ndash;just "go back on Tinder or Match.com" and all will be right in the world.</p> <p>Sigh. For a more detailed look into what a war on voting looks like, check out <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/10/voting-rights-november-voter-suppression-states" target="_blank">our coverage here. </a></p></body></html> Mixed Media Video Elections Media Sex and Gender Wed, 22 Oct 2014 19:09:40 +0000 Inae Oh 263056 at http://www.motherjones.com The Midwest's Vast Farms Are Losing a Ton of Money This Year http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/10/farmers-are-losing-225-each-acre-corn <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Think you have it tough at work? Consider the plight of the Midwest's corn and soybean farmers. They churn out the basic raw materials of our food system: the stuff that gets turned into animal feed, sweetener, cooking fat, and even a substantial amount of our car fuel. What do they get for their trouble? According to a <a href="https://www.motherjones.com/files/ifo100114.pdf" target="_blank">stunning analysis</a> (PDF) by Iowa State ag economist Chad Hart, crop prices have fallen so low (a bumper crop has <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-20/farmers-may-reap-subsidy-boom-on-record-crops.html" target="_blank">driven down corn prices to their lowest level since 2006</a>), and input costs (think seeds, fertilizers, pesticides) have gotten so high, that they're losing $225 per acre of corn and $100 per acre of soybeans.&nbsp; So if you're an Iowa farmer with a 2,000-acre farm, and you planted it half and half in these two dominant crops, you stand to lose $325,000 on this year's harvest.</p> <p>Over on Big Picture Agriculture&mdash;the excellent blog that alerted me to Hart's assessment&mdash;Kay McDonald <a href="http://www.bigpictureagriculture.com/2014/10/is-organic-corn-the-way-to-go-next-year.html" target="_blank">wonders</a>: "Is organic corn the way to go next year?" She points out organic corn receives a large premium in the market, and key input costs&mdash;seeds, fertilizers, and insecticides&mdash;are much lower, making the economics better.</p> <p>Another possibility is one I've been <a href="http://grist.org/article/farmbelt/" target="_blank">banging on about for years</a>: why not take some of the Midwest's vast stock of farmland&mdash;say, 10 percent?&mdash;and devote it to <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/05/dining/the-seeds-of-a-new-generation.html?_r=0" target="_blank">vegetable and fruit production</a>? And take another slice of it and bring it back to <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2012/04/our-corn-driven-agriculture-vulnerable-climate-change" target="_blank">perennial grass for pasture-based beef and pork production?</a> Both vegetables and pastured meat deliver much more income pre acre than commodity corn and soybeans, once the systems are up and running and the infrastructure in place. And considering how much of our produce comes from drought-stricken California, that would likely be a wise move from a food security standpoint.</p> <p>Alas, none of this is likely to happen, at least not anytime soon. That's because crop subsidies, enshrined by the farm bill signed in February, will likely wipe out much of the huge gap between farmers' costs and what the market gives them. According to <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-20/farmers-may-reap-subsidy-boom-on-record-crops.html" target="_blank">Bloomberg</a>, taxpayers are set to pay "billions of dollars more to subsidize farmers than anticipated just months ago," before crop prices plunged.</p> <p>I don't begrudge federal support for farming. As I argued in a <a href="http://www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/info/agcycles/hart.pdf" target="_blank">post</a> last year, large-scale commodity farming is a vicious business&mdash;farmers are caught in a vice between a small handful of buyers (Archers Daniels Midland, Cargill, Bunge) that are always looking to drive crop prices down, and a small handful of input suppliers (Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, Syngenta, etc) always looking to push the price of seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides up. It's no wonder, as Iowa State's Hart has <a href="http://www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/info/agcycles/hart.pdf" target="_blank">shown</a>, that the "long run profitability" of such farming is "zero."</p> <p>But as it's structured now, the subsidy system keeps farmers chugging along on the corn-soy treadmill. Meanwhile, transitioning to organic ag and diversifying crops to include vegetables and pastured meat would also require much more hands-on labor and a new set of skills for Midwestern farmers, who have been operating in a corn-soy-chemical system for decades. It would also require the rebuilding of infrastructure&mdash;small-scale slaughterhouses, canneries, cold storage, etc.&mdash;that were dismantled as corn and soy came to dominance. Supporting such a transition, and not propping up an unhealthy food system suffused with cheap corn and soy, seems like a good use of the billions of federal dollars that are about to be spent.</p></body></html> Tom Philpott Food and Ag Wed, 22 Oct 2014 18:57:44 +0000 Tom Philpott 263006 at http://www.motherjones.com I Am Being Followed By an Army of Twitter Lady Bots http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/10/i-am-being-followed-army-twitter-lady-bots <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I've been making a real effort to be better at Twitter lately. I've been tweeting more, striking a conversational tone, and trying to "just be myself," like people who know more about Twitter than me told me to. So I was thrilled this week when my follower count zoomed up from 3,030 to 3,066 over the course of just a few days. My efforts must have paid off, I thought.</p> <p>But then, I looked at my new followers. They all seemed pretty annoying. IN EXACTLY THE SAME WAY. Check it out:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/twitter-bots-small.gif"></div> </div> <p>"Hipster-friendly music practitioner"? "Total travel advocate"? "Beer practitioner"? Ew!</p> <p>The formula for the handles seems to be: first name, middle initial, last name. And the bio items look like they're generated from a list of bland hobbies and jobs or something. All over the backdrop of some irrelevant stock art.</p> <p>Here are some of their tweets:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>You can't just wish for a better life. You have to create it.</p> &mdash; SarahSSmall (@SarahSSmall) <a href="https://twitter.com/SarahSSmall/status/523864409522049024">October 19, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Tonight on <a href="https://twitter.com/WNTonight">@WNTonight</a> investors react to Ebola scare, fears of global slowdown. What does it mean for your retirement savings?</p> &mdash; BerniceWHenry (@BerniceWHenry) <a href="https://twitter.com/BerniceWHenry/status/523039210585227265">October 17, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Those of you who "elected" obama, this is all on you. He's a fake, you're confused, and now we ALL are having to pay for this foolishness...</p> &mdash; AdelineJBuckingham (@AdelineJBucking) <a href="https://twitter.com/AdelineJBucking/status/523965356411334656">October 19, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Creepy Twitter lady bots, what do you want from me?</p></body></html> Mixed Media Wed, 22 Oct 2014 18:50:57 +0000 Kiera Butler 263061 at http://www.motherjones.com Housekeeping Update http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/10/housekeeping-update <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Just a quick update. Yesterday my doctor decided to do a "little bedside test" to get a better reading on the state of my bones. It was indeed bedside, and it was indeed done with just a local anesthetic, but I guess it wasn't a very powerful one. Hoo boy, did that hurt, and naturally I was a total baby about it. In any case, they want to keep me here for at least another day to make sure I didn't get infected etc. Also, today I get my first monthly dose of some bone-strengthening med whose name escapes me. So it looks like it'll be tomorrow at the earliest before I go home. It depends on how I'm doing and what the doctor gods decree. But I walked 300 feet this morning without too much trouble, so that has to be a positive sign, doesn't it?</p> <p>When will blogging recommence? I'm not sure. In the meantime, though, enjoy a bonus cat.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hopper_2014_10_22.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 60px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:58:49 +0000 Kevin Drum 263031 at http://www.motherjones.com