Blogs | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/Blogs/2011/03/rss/blogs_and_articles/feed http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en The Most Comprehensive Overview Yet of the Kinks' Glorious Youth http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/12/most-comprehensive-overview-of-the-kinks-glorious-youth <!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="473" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/VLs09J_x6-c?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><strong>The Kinks<br> The Anthology&mdash;1964-1971<br> Sanctuary/BMG</strong></p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Kinks-anthology-1024x1024.jpg" style="height: 250px; width: 250px;"></div> <p>The Kinks' early years have been rehashed repeatedly over the last two decades, so don't expect any major revelations from yet another archival dig. However, <em>The Anthology&mdash;1964-1971</em> offers the most comprehensive overview yet of the London band's glorious youth. With five discs and 140 tracks, this massive set is hardly for the casual listener. It includes demos, rehearsal snippets, alternate takes, and obscure mixes in the service of luring hardcore fans who think they've already heard it all. It traces the Kinks' rapid evolution from a scrappy R&amp;B band playing Chuck Berry and Little Richard covers to purveyors of furious rockers like "You Really Got Me" (arguably an inspiration for heavy metal and punk) to Ray Davies' emergence as a singularly gifted writer who delivers wry social commentary on "A Well Respected Man," attains magical beauty with "Waterloo Sunset," and engages in subversive gender-bending in "Lola." At their most elegant, the lads still displayed a strong rock and roll streak, thanks to brother Dave Davies' wicked lead guitar and Mick Avory's thrashing drums. And while the Kinks continued making strong music into the '90, these amazing recordings are their best.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Music Mon, 22 Dec 2014 11:00:09 +0000 Jon Young 267076 at http://www.motherjones.com Soundtrack for a Police-Brutality Protest http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/12/playlist-oakland-police-brutality-protest-millions-march <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The sun was setting as the Millions March began to disperse in downtown Oakland, California. Thousands of people had taken to the streets throughout the day to show solidarity and outrage over the slew of high-profile killings of unarmed African Americans by police. With coordinated marches held around the country, it had been a day of signs and banners, impassioned speeches, and pointed but peaceful demonstrations.</p> <p>As evening fell, a second march was about to begin. A young man in a black hoodie, his face hidden behind a red bandana, shouted "Fuck the police!" through a megaphone as hundreds filed into the intersection behind him&mdash;the tone of this march was markedly darker.</p> <p>In Oakland, anger over racism in the criminal justice system is always simmering beneath the surface. But the grand jury decisions to not indict the officers responsible for the deaths of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, had fueled continuing protests around the Bay Area. Graffiti scrawled across street signs and boarded-up businesses reflected the shouted sentiments that could be heard over sirens and helicopters, echoing through the streets each night.</p> <p>But something made this march stand apart. Among the marchers was a cart stacked with two PA speakers, an amplifier, an inverter, and a couple of deep-cycle batteries to power the setup. With nearly $4,000 worth of equipment, the music cart added a dimension missing from the previous protests. At dusk, people followed the sound to join the march, pausing to circle around the cart and dance to the rhythm booming through the speakers.</p> <p>Brian, the cart's owner, who asked that I not publish his last name, told me he started bringing his sound system to demonstrations as part of Occupy Oakland back in 2010. A student who works part time in sound production and theater design, Brian was happy to step up when march organizers asked him to. "I think music helps crowds stay together and it helps people feel more empowered. It's hard to describe," he said, with a pause. "You go on a march without music&mdash;there's a difference."</p> <p>Brian's selections, some of which were penned on these very streets, reflected the sentiments of the marchers. "I think in a lot of ways music enables protests to be something that is fun and joyous while still matching the angry mood," he told me. "That is balance that you have to strike." He emphasized that his role was strictly one of support. "I think it is super-important, as a white person in this movement, that I take a backseat. I am trying to be very careful not to lead the march with the sound system, and it is very important to play music that people are enjoying in the crowd."</p> <p>Police presence was felt throughout the night, but around 6:30 pm, following scattered acts of vandalism, an Oakland Police intercom boomed instructions to disperse, warning the hundreds of marchers that their assembly was unlawful. Anyone there, regardless of purpose, was subject to arrest, which could "result in personal injury," the police warned. The march continued even after police ran at the crowd, causing some protesters to scatter momentarily. But the music kept playing and people kept marching.</p> <p>Some volunteered to help push the cumbersome equipment&mdash;nearly 200 pounds of it&mdash;over grassy knolls, through stopped traffic, and away from police who attempted to corral protesters into <a href="http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/kettle" target="_blank">kettles</a>, a common crowd-control tactic. Others gave Brian song requests.</p> <p>He tried his best to match their moods, switching from heavier, more strident songs to upbeat classics like the Commodores' "Brick House" and Michael Jackson hits to calm the crowd during police confrontations. "At that point we had broken out of those kettles," he said, "and it is a little bit of a scary moment&mdash;a moment in which we won, which is great, but I think people were a little on edge." The music seemed to do the trick; marchers could be seen dancing past a growing number police vans and squad cars.</p> <p>The victory wouldn't last long, though. Around eight o'clock, the group around the sound system danced right into a police kettle and was quickly surrounded. The police silenced and confiscated Brian's gear and began arresting people. Officers from 11 different agencies made 45 arrests that night in Oakland, and Brian was among them. He was released quickly though, and he says people can expect to see him and his sound system out on the streets again soon.</p> <p>Here's a sampling of songs he played last week:<br><br><strong>"Lovelle Mixon"&mdash;Mistah F.A.B. feat. Magnolia Chop:</strong></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/_BOKL6qkhvw?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><strong>"Fuck Tha Police"&mdash;Lil Boosie:</strong></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/-oYY1NGtdRE?rel=0" width="630"></iframe><br><br><strong>"We Ain&rsquo;t Listenin' (Remix)"&mdash;Beeda Weeda, J Stalin:</strong></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ehaGqlIQNnk?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><br><strong>"N.E.W. Oakland"&mdash;Mistah F.A.B.</strong>:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/QnEB8j1eqGM?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><br><strong>"Hyphy"&mdash;Federation feat E-40:</strong></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/_z2agnoAUpc?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><br><strong>"Don&rsquo;t Snitch"&mdash;Mac Dre:</strong></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/jfMqR24rQzU?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><br><strong>"G Code"&mdash;Geto Boys:</strong></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/GkG6Da3-AU8?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><br><strong>"California Love"&mdash;2Pac feat. Dr. Dre:</strong></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/5wBTdfAkqGU?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><br><strong>"Fuck Tha Police"&mdash;N.W.A.:</strong></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/9jOqOlETcRU?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><br><strong>"Rock With You" &ndash; Michael Jackson:</strong></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/5X-Mrc2l1d0?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><br><strong>"September"&mdash;Earth, Wind, and Fire:</strong></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Gs069dndIYk?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> Mixed Media Music Race and Ethnicity Mon, 22 Dec 2014 11:00:07 +0000 Gabrielle Canon 266686 at http://www.motherjones.com A Majority of Cop Killers Have Been White http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/12/attacks-against-police-officers-are-in-decline <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>As officials continue to investigate Saturday's tragic killing of two NYPD officers,&nbsp;Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/21/nyregion/two-police-officers-shot-in-their-patrol-car-in-brooklyn.html?_r=0" target="_blank">details have surfaced</a> about the suspect, 28 year old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who allegedly shot a woman in Baltimore before traveling to New York. Anti-police posts he appears to have published on social media sites prior to the killings have lead many to connect his crime to protests that occurred in previous weeks, and some commenters have cast blame on officials including New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Attorney General Eric Holder, and President Obama, all of whom have <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/12/here-president-obamas-statement-todays-tragedy-new-york" target="_blank">condemned</a> the violence. (Read my colleague Kevin Drum's <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/12/lets-blame-conservatives-all-killings-theyre-responsible" target="_blank">response to that</a>.)&nbsp;</p> <p>But, while every killing of an officer is a tragedy, it is worth noting, as my colleague Shane Bauer <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/10/swat-warrior-cops-police-militarization-urban-shield" target="_blank">reported</a> in the context of another story, assaults and felony killings of police officers in the US are down sharply over the past two decades. Attention has also been focused on Brinsley's race, but <a href="http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/leoka/2013/officers-feloniously-killed/felonious_topic_page_-2013" target="_blank">FBI data shows that</a>, though African Americans are <a href="http://www.naacp.org/pages/criminal-justice-fact-sheet" target="_blank">arrested and incarcerated at a higher rate than whites</a>, the majority of assailants who feloniously killed police officers in the past year were white.&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="http://assets.motherjones.com/politics/2014/10/urban_sheild_charts-350.png"></div></body></html> MoJo Charts Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity Top Stories Mon, 22 Dec 2014 01:59:27 +0000 Gabrielle Canon 267116 at http://www.motherjones.com No, There Really Isn't Much We Can Do To Retaliate Against North Korea http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/12/no-there-really-isnt-much-we-can-do-retaliate-against-north-korea <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A couple of days ago I wrote a post suggesting that there might not really be much we can do to retaliate against North Korea, who the FBI blames for the Sony hack. So I was curious to read <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-reply-to-kims-cyberterrorism-1419033248?mod=hp_opinion" target="_blank">"A Reply to Kim&rsquo;s Cyberterrorism,"</a> a <em>Wall Street Journal</em> editorial telling us what options we had. I figured that if anyone could make the best case for action, it was the <em>Journal</em>.</p> <p>Unfortunately, they mostly just persuaded me that there really is very little we can do. After clearing their throats with a couple of suggestions that even they admit are mostly just symbolic, they get to the meat of things:</p> <blockquote> <p>Earlier this year [Rep. Ed Royce] introduced the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act, which gives Treasury the power it needs to sanction banks facilitating North Korea&rsquo;s finances. It passed the House easily in July but has since been locked up in Harry Reid&rsquo;s Senate at the behest of the Obama Administration. Mr. Royce tells us he plans to reintroduce the bill as a first order of business in the new Congress. New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez has introduced similar legislation in the Senate; a bill could be on Mr. Obama&rsquo;s desk by the second week in January.</p> </blockquote> <p>So....that's it. And even this is weaker tea than the <em>Journal</em> suggests. For starters, the bill has a serious structural problem because it puts severe limits on the president's power, which is why Obama hasn't supported it in the past. It's a bad idea in foreign relations for Congress to mandate sanctions that can then be lifted <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/id/102146454" target="_blank"><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_north_korea_trade_0.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;"></a>only by Congress. This makes it almost impossible for presidents to negotiate future agreements because they have no carrots to offer in return for good behavior.</p> <p>But that could be fixed. What can't be fixed is the fact that North Korea learned a lesson from our previous attempt at tightening economic sanctions in 2007, when we cut off the US links of&nbsp;Banco Delta Asia, a Macau-based bank suspected of doing business with North Korea. This in turn panicked other Macau banks into cutting off their relationships with North Korea, which severely restricted the regime's access to dollars. As the <em>Journal</em> notes, this genuinely hurt North Korea, and the Bush administration agreed to resolve the BDA issue during the Six-Party nuclear talks later that year.</p> <p>Unfortunately for us, sanctions like this would hurt North Korea a lot less now than they did back in 2007. <a href="http://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2014/09/24/pros_and_cons_to_north_korea_sanctions_110720.html" target="_blank">Stephan Haggard explains:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Post-BDA, and since the ascent of Kim Jong-un in particular, North Korea has also sought to diversify its trade, investment and financial links. <strong>The KPA and its associates have developed relationships with financial entities that are not concerned with access to the U.S. market, both in China and outside it; Russia will be particularly interesting to watch in this regard but there is also the open field of the Middle East</strong>....While this legislation might raise the costs of proliferation activities if implemented, it is unlikely to staunch them completely and could simply forge new networks beyond the law's reach.</p> <p>Another question is whether the sanctions will have the broader strategic effect of moving the North Koreans toward serious negotiation of its nuclear program....<strong>The paradoxical feature of sanctions is that they rarely have the direct effect of forcing the target country to capitulate.</strong> The HR 1771 sanctions will have effect only when coupled with strong statements of a willingness to engage if North Korea showed signs of interest in doing so. The legislation provides plenty of sticks; the administration will have to continue to articulate the prospective carrots in a way that is credible. Strong sanctions legislation makes that difficult to do if the legislation places a series of binding constraints on the president's discretion. <strong>Why negotiate with the U.S. if there is no return from doing so?</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>With changes, Royce's sanctions bill might be an appropriate response to the Sony hack. However, it's unlikely to have a severe effect on North Korea. Even worse, past history shows that <a href="http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2004/0405.kaplan.html" target="_blank">a single-minded "get tough" attitude toward the DPRK can backfire badly,</a> as it did on George Bush when his refusal to negotiate with Pyongyang in 2002 led in short order to the ejection of UN inspectors and the construction of plutonium bombs from a stockpile that had previously been kept under lock and key.</p> <p>As the cliche goes, there are no good options here, just bad and less bad. I wouldn't necessarily oppose a modified version of the sanctions bill, but it's unlikely to have a major impact. It might even make things worse. If this is the best we can do, it's pretty much an admission that there's not really much we can do.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Congress International Sun, 21 Dec 2014 19:59:03 +0000 Kevin Drum 267111 at http://www.motherjones.com Let's Blame Conservatives For All the Killings They're Responsible For http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/12/lets-blame-conservatives-all-killings-theyre-responsible <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Via Atrios, here is America's-mayor-for-life Rudy Giuliani commenting on the killing of two New York City police officers yesterday <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/12/21/3606040/rudy-giuliani-2-nyc-cops-were-killed-because-obama-told-everyone-to-hate-the-police/" target="_blank">by a deranged gunman:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve had four months of propaganda starting with the president that everybody should hate the police,&rdquo; Giuliani said during an appearance on Fox News on Sunday. &ldquo;The protests are being embraced, the protests are being encouraged. The protests, <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_rudy_giuliani.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">even the ones that don&rsquo;t lead to violence, a lot of them lead to violence, all of them lead to a conclusion. The police are bad, the police are racist. That is completely wrong.&rdquo;</p> <p>....The former mayor also criticized President Barack Obama, Holder, and Al Sharpton for addressing the underlining racial tensions behind the failure to indict the white police officers who killed [Eric Garner on Staten Island] and Mike Brown in Ferguson. &ldquo;They have created an atmosphere of severe, strong, anti-police hatred in certain communities. For that, they should be ashamed of themselves,&rdquo; he said.</p> </blockquote> <p>Fair enough. But I assume this means we can blame Bill O'Reilly for his 28 episodes of invective against "Tiller the Baby Killer" that eventually ended in the murder of Wichita abortion provider George Tiller by anti-abortion activist Scott Roeder. We can blame conservative talk radio for fueling the anti-government hysteria that led Timothy McVeigh to bomb a federal building in Oklahoma City. We can blame the relentless xenophobia of Fox News for the bombing of an Islamic Center in Joplin or the massacre of Sikh worshippers by a white supremacist in Wisconsin. We can blame the NRA for the mass shootings in Newtown and Aurora. We can blame Republicans for stoking the anti-IRS paranoia that prompted Andrew Joseph Stack to crash a private plane into an IRS building in Austin, killing two people. We can blame the Christian Right for the anti-gay paranoia that led the Westboro Baptist Church to picket the funeral of Matthew Snyder, a US Marine killed in Iraq, with signs that carried their signature "God Hates Fags" slogan. We can blame Sean Hannity for his repeated support of Cliven Bundy's "range war" against the BLM, which eventually motivated Jerad and Amanda Miller to kill five people in Las Vegas after participating in the Bundy standoff and declaring, "If they're going to come bring violence to us, well, if that's the language they want to speak, we'll learn it." And, of course, we can blame Rudy Giuliani and the entire conservative movement for their virtually unanimous indifference to the state-sanctioned police killings of black suspects over minor offenses in Ferguson and Staten Island, which apparently motivated the murder of the New York police officers on Saturday.</p> <p>Or wait. Maybe we can't do any of those things. Maybe lots of people support lots of things, and we can't twist that generalized support into blame for maniacs who decide to take up arms for their own demented reasons. Maybe that's a better idea after all.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Civil Liberties The Right Sun, 21 Dec 2014 16:41:22 +0000 Kevin Drum 267106 at http://www.motherjones.com Here Is President Obama's Statement on Today's Tragedy In New York http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/12/here-president-obamas-statement-todays-tragedy-new-york <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Two NYPD officers were murdered in cold blood Saturday by a gunman who then killed himself before being apprehended. Details are still sketchy, but New York is at fever pitch right now. Some <a href="https://twitter.com/GovernorPataki/status/546489605378551808" target="_blank">people</a> are trying to blame this horrendous tragedy on Bill de Blasio, Eric Holder, Barack Obama, and the thousands of protestors who have taken to the streets over the last few weeks to protest the decisions of the Eric Garner and Michael Brown grand juries.</p> <p>Here's President Obama's statement from tonight making clear that he "unconditionally condemns today's murder of two police officers." The fact that he has to make that clear at all&mdash;as though there was a chance he may have been undecided on the issue&mdash;is surreal.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20Shot%202014-12-20%20at%2011.02.27%20PM.png"></div> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Sun, 21 Dec 2014 06:17:14 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 267101 at http://www.motherjones.com The 9 Best Cookbooks of 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/12/favorite-new-cookbooks-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Another year, another spate of brilliant cookbooks. Here are the ones that made the biggest impression on me, in no particular order.</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/bitter_0.jpg"></div> <p><strong><em><a href="http://www.powells.com/biblio/1-9781607745167-0">Bitter: A Taste of the World's Most Dangerous Flavor, with Recipes</a>,</em> by Jennifer McLagan.</strong> In 2005, nearly a decade before <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/blogs/editor/2014/11/bone-broth-is-the-new-coffee.html">"bone broth"</a> emerged as a craze, McLagan came out with <em>Bones,</em> a delicious defense of a culinary resource people normally discard. Three years later, when people like me were still mostly shunning the lard jar, she produced the equally excellent <em>Fat,</em> which she called an "appreciation of the misunderstood ingredient." McLagan, perhaps the most idiosyncratic and underrated cookbook author of our time, has now trained her powers on the stuff that makes you grimace the first time it hits your palate: radicchio, dandelion greens, hops, brassicas, chicory, citrus zest, coffee, etc. "Without bitterness we lose a way to balance sweetness," she instructs. "Food without bitterness lacks depth and complexity." <em>Bitter </em>brims with luminous mini-essays on the science and philosophy of taste, and delivers dozens of straight-ahead recipes that teach us to tame and celebrate the most challenging of the five basic flavors.</p> <p><strong>Great gift for: </strong>People with adventurous palates.<br><strong>Killer dish: </strong>Dandelion salad with hot bacon and mustard dressing.<br><strong>Dish I'm dying to try:</strong> Pork chop (bone-in, fat lined) in coffee and black currant sauce.</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/tartine.jpg"></div> <p><strong><em><a href="http://www.powells.com/biblio/1-9781452126463-0">Bar Tartine: Techniques &amp; Recipes</a></em>, by Nick Balla and Cortney Burns. </strong>Based on a single meal several years ago, I've always assumed San Francisco's Bar Tartine&mdash;sister to the justly venerated Tartine Bakery&mdash;specialized in simple bistro food<strong>. </strong>So I wasn't overly excited when this substantial, beautifully produced tome arrived. But rather than deliver yet more versions of <em>steak frites</em> or <em>coq au vin,</em> the book reads like a manifesto written by radical gourmet homesteaders&mdash;one of the weirdest and most compelling cookbooks I've picked up in years. I got lost in the rabbit warrens of the opening "projects kitchen" section, where the authors lay out in detail all the stuff they make from scratch. "Our dairy program began humbly&mdash;with yogurt, sour cream, and kefir&mdash;and evolved to include all the products we currently use: blue cheese, pepper Jack, gouda, triple creams, feta, and fresh cheeses such as mozzarella, goat cheese, and farmers cheese," the authors declare. Whoa. Ever wondered how to make your own kefir butter? Balla and Burns have you covered. I had never heard of "black garlic" before. Turns out, "holding garlic at 130 F for two to three weeks renders the cloves as black as tar." Is that a good thing? "All of the characteristic sharpness disappears and is replaced with a molasses-like sweetness and an aroma reminiscent of licorice." Then there's the spice mixes. Forget, say, homemade curry powder. Think "charred eggplant spice," a powder that "tastes like the pure flavor of earth and smoke" (other elements: charred, dehydrated chile peppers, huitlachoche&mdash;a corn fungus&mdash;and green onions.) Surprisingly simple (but never obvious) recipes follow the opening section's wild innovations. I predict this book will be seducing and flummoxing me for years. Also, I've got to get myself back to Bar Tartine.</p> <p><strong>Great gift for:</strong> Anyone with radical gourmet homesteader tendencies; and jaded home cooks in search of inspiration.<br><strong>Killer dish: </strong>Chilled beet soup with coriander &amp; yogurt.<br><strong>Dish</strong><strong> I'm dying to try:</strong> Someday? Smoked potatoes in black garlic vinaigrette with ramp mayonnaise.<br> &nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/ottolenghi-plenty.jpg"></div> <p><strong><em><a href="http://www.powells.com/biblio/18-9781607746218-0">Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London's Ottolenghi,</a></em> </strong>by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.powells.com/s?author=Yotam%20Ottolenghi">Yotam Ottolenghi</a><strong>. </strong>Have we reached peak Ottolenghi? That was my question when I cracked the latest from the ubiquitous London chef, whose classics <em>Plenty</em> and <em>Jerusalem </em>seem to grace the shelves of most everyone I know, and won a spot in my <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2012/12/favorite-food-books-2012" target="_blank">2012 best-of list</a>. Known for his colorful, vibrant, vegetable-centered Mediterranean fare, the London-based, Israeli-born chef has been <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/12/03/the-philosopher-chef" target="_blank">profiled in <em>The New Yorker</em></a> and interviewed on every foodie podcast. Does he have anything more to say? Hell, yes. <em>Plenty More</em> ventures farther afield from the author's native Mediterranean region than his other works, copping techniques and ingredients from Thailand, Iran, India, and more. It draws you in with the delectable photography, and keeps you hooked with irresistible combinations: oranges and dates; beets with avocado and peas; leeks with goat cheese and currants; and so on. Ottolenghi isn't a vegetarian, but he's a wizard of vegetables, and a master at conjuring up hearty meals by combining them with grains and legumes.</p> <p><strong>Great gift for:</strong> Anyone who thinks vegetarian food is boring; anyone who likes to cook and eat.<br><strong>Killer dish: </strong>Pea and mint croquettes.<br><strong>Dish I'm dying to try:</strong> Fried umpa (an Indian semolina porridge) with poached eggs</p> <p><strong>Honorable mentions</strong></p> <p><strong>&bull; </strong>In <strong><em><a href="http://www.powells.com/biblio/1-9781607745310-1" target="_blank">Afro-Vegan: Farm Fresh African, Caribbean &amp; Southern Flavors Remixed</a>, </em></strong>the Bay Area writer/chef/activist Bryan Terry pulls off a mean feat: He uses stylish, spicy vegan fare&mdash;light on tofu and heavy on grains, greens, and legumes&mdash;to lure readers into recognizing the "centrality of African-diasporic people in defining the tastes, ingredients, and classic dishes of the original modern global fusion cuisine&mdash;Southern food." Terry's argument is unassailable&mdash;as convincing as his gorgeous peanut stew with winter vegetable and cornmeal dumplings.</p> <p>&bull; Despite the ongoing gluten-free fad, bread is having its day, as are books on baking. No home baker will want to miss<strong> <a href="http://www.powells.com/biblio/1-9780670025619-4" target="_blank"><em>In Search of the Perfect Loaf,</em></a></strong> in which the food politics writer and editor Sam Fromartz visits the epicenters of the global baking renaissance&mdash;Paris, Berlin, San Francisco, etc.&mdash;talking to its main characters and committing an epic and appealing nerd-out (with recipes) in service of home-cooked leavened dough. In <a href="http://www.powells.com/biblio/1-9781452113685-0" target="_blank"><em><strong>Josey Baker Bread</strong>,</em></a> San Francisco's most celebrated young baker (yes, his name and vocation are identical) shows us how the pros do it.</p> <p>&bull; San Francisco's The Slanted Door is a fancy restaurant that applies Vietnamese techniques and condiments to Northern California's bounty. <strong><a href="http://www.powells.com/biblio/1-9781607740544-1" target="_blank"><em>The Slanted Door</em></a>,</strong> by chef-owner Charles Phan, is a surprisingly unfussy guide to working the restaurant's magic at home.</p> <p>&bull; For the drinkers on your list,<strong> <a href="http://www.powells.com/biblio/1-9781454905332-0" target="_blank"><em>American Spirit</em></a></strong> is a spirited guide to what author James Rodewald calls the nascent "craft distilling revolution." At the center of Rodwald's book is a scandal. Because of loose labeling laws, most of the "artisanal" liquor on the market involves clever businesspeople "rebottling something that had been made at a larger distiller and calling it their own." Rodewald profiles the (still relatively few) mavericks who actually are producing their own hooch&mdash;and teases out the considerable challenges of making great whiskey and other spirits on a small scale in an industry dominated by liquor giants and false marketing.</p> <p>&bull; After reading Rodewald, you'll want to sip something stiff. <em><a href="http://www.powells.com/biblio/18-9781607745259-0" target="_blank"><strong>Death &amp; Co.</strong></a>&mdash;</em>a sumptuous cocktail manual from the instant-legend East Village speakeasy of the same name&mdash;delivers dozens upon dozens of ideas for taking the edge off in high style. I can't imagine a more comprehensive snapshot of the mixology craze.</p></body></html> Tom Philpott Books Food and Ag Top Stories Sat, 20 Dec 2014 22:09:49 +0000 Tom Philpott 267066 at http://www.motherjones.com Here's How the Sony Hack Is Like 9/11 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/12/heres-how-sony-hack-911 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I doubt that I'm the first to say this, but has anyone noticed a striking similarity between 9/11 and the Sony hack? Not in terms of scope or malevolence, of course, but in terms of&mdash;what's the best word here? Creativity? Bang for the buck?</p> <p>Here's what I mean. The 9/11 attack wasn't especially sophisticated. In fact, it was famously crude and butt cheap. All it took was a few guys who learned rudimentary piloting skills and then carried some box cutters on board four airplanes<sup>1</sup>. The reason it worked is that it was brilliant. Nobody had ever considered that hijackers could take control of a plane without so much as a single cheap handgun, and even if they could, no one had really figured that they could do anything much worse than fly the plane somewhere and maybe engineer a hostage crisis. But al-Qaeda thought different. They understood that (a) box cutters would be good enough to hold pilots and passengers at bay for an hour or two, and (b) this <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_sony_911.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">was long enough to fly their airplanes into a pair of iconic skyscrapers, killing thousands in an extraordinarily gruesome way. They took a crude, simplistic weapon and figured out a way to cause damage that was both tangibly enormous and emotionally outsized.</p> <p>The Sony hack is a far smaller thing, but it shows a lot of the same hallmarks. Despite what press reports say, it wasn't really all that sophisticated. It was, to be sure, a step up from box cutters, but it's not like North Korea tried to hack into a nuclear power plant or the Pentagon. They picked a soft target. In fact, based on press reports, it sounds like even in the vast sea of crappy IT security that we call America, Sony Pictures was unusually lax. Hacking into their network was something that probably dozens of groups around the world could have done if they had thought about it. And like al-Qaeda before them, North Korea thought about it. And they realized that a Sony Pictures hack, done right, could have an outsized emotional impact. Like 9/11, it was a brilliant example of using a relatively crude tool to produce a gigantic payoff.</p> <p>So what happens next? The 9/11 attack was huge, but even for its size it provoked a mammoth overreaction that continues to this day. Will the Sony hack do the same? After the dozens of credit card hacks of the past couple of years corporations are finally getting the news that they need to secure their networks better, and the Sony hack might prompt even more companies to finally get serious about IT security. That would be good. On the other hand, it could also provoke an overreaction that ends up locking down corporate infrastructure so tightly that workplaces turn into digital gulags. That would be dumb.</p> <p>So then. Better corporate IT security: good. Massive overreaction: bad. Let's get things right this time.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>It also required recruiting 19 guys willing to die for a cause. This is definitely uncommon. But it doesn't really change the basic nature of how al-Qaeda managed to pull off such a massive attack.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Crime and Justice International Tech Sat, 20 Dec 2014 20:44:45 +0000 Kevin Drum 267096 at http://www.motherjones.com The Projectionists at One of LA's Most Famous Theaters Are Apparently Tired of Being Paid Like Crap http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/12/arclight-projectionists-happy-holidays-living-wage <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The ArcLight is one of the most famous theaters in Hollywood. (It looks like a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinerama_Dome" target="_blank">golf ball</a>. In my house it is known as the golf ball movie theater.) Every Friday night, arm-linked lovers bustle in to find new big flicks. Last night some <a href="https://twitter.com/slack2thefuture/status/546187402805387264" target="_blank">patrons also found the following Christmas card</a>:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><a href="https://twitter.com/slack2thefuture/status/546187402805387264"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/B5Ryi-ICEAAH50I.jpg-large_1.jpeg"></a> <div class="caption"><a href="https://twitter.com/slack2thefuture/status/546187402805387264" target="_blank">David Slack</a></div> </div> <p>This comes from TV writer <a href="https://twitter.com/slack2thefuture" target="_blank">David Slack</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/slack2thefuture/status/546187402805387264" target="_blank">who added&nbsp;on Twitter</a>, "I love you, @ArcLightCinemas but I got this outside your theater. Don&rsquo;t be an a-hole. Pay your people better."</p> <p>It's <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/movies/2010/12/the_end.single.html" target="_blank">tough times for projectionists</a>. It's a high skilled job that for a long time made a reliable career, but over the last decade theaters have increasingly dropped their 35mm projectors in favor of digital setups that don't require the same technical proficiency&nbsp;to operate. ArcLight&nbsp;projectionists are having an especially difficult time. According to the <a href="http://www.ia33.org/index.cfm?zone=/unionactive/view_article.cfm&amp;homeID=451243" target="_blank">Stage Technicians Unions</a>, which has been <a href="http://twitter.com/variety/status/510193980630663169" target="_blank">protesting</a> the theater for <a href="http://www.ia33.org/index.cfm?zone=/unionactive/view_article.cfm&amp;homeID=450361" target="_blank">months</a>, they&nbsp;make less than half what projectionists at competing theaters in LA make.&nbsp;</p> <p>I reached out to Chris Forman and will update if he gets back to me.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Sat, 20 Dec 2014 19:29:58 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 267086 at http://www.motherjones.com Personal Health Update http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/12/personal-health-update <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I haven't had any fresh news on the health front lately, so I haven't brought it up on the blog. But I continue to get lots of queries and good wishes, and today I finally have something to report. I'm 8 weeks through my 16-week regimen of chemotherapy, and last week my doctor ordered up sort of a halftime report on how I'm doing. This is an extended set of lab tests, and today she called to tell me the results.</p> <p>Apparently they came out great. Unfortunately, I don't actually remember the names of the protein markers and other things we were looking for, so I have to be a little vague here. Immunoglobulins? Lympho-somethings? In any case, the levels were way, way down, and that's what we were hoping for. This means the chemo is working well so far and the myeloma is hopefully on the run.</p> <p>That's my good news for the day. What's yours?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 20 Dec 2014 01:34:45 +0000 Kevin Drum 267081 at http://www.motherjones.com Watch President Obama Call on Female Reporters for Every Single Question During Friday's Presser http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/12/obama-women-reporters%20 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>For his final press conference of 2014, President Obama exclusively called on female reporters. The White House had planned it that way:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>.<a href="https://twitter.com/PressSec">@PressSec</a> statement on questioner list: <a href="http://t.co/QA44ySvsL3">pic.twitter.com/QA44ySvsL3</a></p> &mdash; Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) <a href="https://twitter.com/ZekeJMiller/status/546040841434042369">December 19, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>By the eighth and final question, Obama even appeared to <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2014/12/19/?entry=7679&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">ignore</a> a male reporter's attempt to participate. The result was amazing. <strong>Watch below:</strong></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/DHD8xuDvxoA" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> MoJo Video Obama Sex and Gender Fri, 19 Dec 2014 21:12:34 +0000 James West 267061 at http://www.motherjones.com Elizabeth Warren: Wall Street Just Got Another Giveaway http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/12/volcker-rule-extension-federal-reserve <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Last week, Congress did Wall Street a solid. When lawmakers passed a giant spending bill that funds the government through September, they included a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/12/spending-bill-992-derivatives-citigroup-lobbyists" target="_blank">provision</a> written by Citigroup lobbyists that allows banks to make more risky trades with taxpayer-insured money. Then, on Thursday, bankers got another giveaway: The Federal Reserve <a href="http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/press/bcreg/20141218a.htm" target="_blank">announced</a> it would delay for up to two years implementation of a crucial section of the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/12/volcker-rule-what-you-need-to-know" target="_blank">Volcker rule</a>&mdash;one of the most important regulations to come out of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform bill. The rule generally forbids the high-risk trading by commercial banks that helped cause the financial crisis. The move by the Fed pushes the deadline for banks to comply past the next presidential election and gives Wall Street lobbyists more time to weaken it.</p> <p>"Less than a week after Wall Street slipped a bailout provision written by Citigroup into the government spending bill, the Fed has given the big banks another victory," Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said in a statement Friday.</p> <p>"It's really hard to see an excuse for this," says Marcus Stanley, the financial policy director at Americans for Financial Reform, an advocacy group.</p> <p>The Volcker rule ensures that financial institutions don't engage in something called proprietary trading, which is when a bank trades for its own benefit as opposed to for the benefit of its customers. Banks were supposed to comply with the Volcker rule by July 21, 2014. Last year, when banking watchdogs finalized the rule, the Fed granted banks a year-long extension. The Fed's Thursday announcement gives banks <em>another</em> year to get rid of certain investments&mdash;including those in private equity firms and hedge funds. The central bank also noted Thursday that it plans to push out the deadline again next year, by another 12 months. That brings the new compliance deadline to July 2017, far past the 2016 election. If the new president is a Republican, he could fill his administration with Wall Street insiders opposed to the rule, making it even easier for lobbyists to gut it.</p> <p>Before the Volcker rule was finalized last year, the financial industry fought like mad to weaken it. The regulation could slash the total annual profits of the eight largest US banks by up to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-12-04/will-the-volcker-rule-crimp-wall-street-profits" target="_blank">$10 billion</a>, according to an estimate by Standard &amp; Poor's. Banking reform advocates were fairly happy with way the final reg turned out. But now the financial industry has extra time to take a few more whacks at rule before banks actually have to obey it. "Wall Street&rsquo;s loophole lawyers and other hired guns will&hellip; continue to hit at the rule as if it were a pi&ntilde;ata," Dennis Kelleher, the president of the financial reform advocacy group Better Markets, <a href="http://www.bettermarkets.com/reform-news/volcker-rule%E2%80%99s-ban-proprietary-trading-direct-attack-high-risk-%E2%80%98quick-buck%E2%80%99-culture-wall#.Uqc4DY3QGQg" target="_blank">said</a> when regulators completed the rule in 2013.</p> <p>The Dodd-Frank law already contains a provision allowing banks that will have difficulty getting rid of particular investments before the initial compliance deadline to request an extension from banking regulators. The Fed's announcement yesterday amounts to an unnecessary "blanket" extension, Stanley says. "It's hogwash."</p></body></html> MoJo Economy Regulatory Affairs Fri, 19 Dec 2014 20:54:29 +0000 Erika Eichelberger 267016 at http://www.motherjones.com Friday Cat Blogging - 19 December 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/12/friday-cat-blogging-19-december-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I have to run, but before I do here's what passes for an action shot of the dynamic duo. It's about the best I can do these days. As you might guess, they're entranced with something we're waving around just outside the frame. Maybe a pencil? I'm not sure. But with cats, the cheapest cat toys are always the best.</p> <p>(Seriously. Hopper's favorite, by far, is an empty toilet paper tube. She just goes nuts over them.)</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hilbert_2014_12_19_0.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 60px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 19 Dec 2014 19:55:06 +0000 Kevin Drum 267051 at http://www.motherjones.com Obama: Sony "Made a Mistake" Stopping the Release of "The Interview" http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/12/obama-sony-mistake-the-interview-north-korea <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Friday, President Barack Obama called Sony's decision to cancel the release of "The Interview" a "mistake."</p> <p>"We cannot have a society in which a dictator in some place can start imposing censorship in the United States," he<a href="http://time.com/3642459/sony-hack-the-interview-barack-obama/" target="_blank"> told</a> reporters at his final press conference of the year. "Imagine if producers and distributors and others start engaging in self-censorship because they don&rsquo;t want to offend the sensibilities of someone who&rsquo;s sensibilities probably need to be offended."</p> <p>"I wish they'd spoken to me first," he added. "I would have told them: Do not get into the pattern in which you are intimidated."</p> <p>Earlier on Friday, the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/19/fbi-sony-hack_n_6354450.html" target="_blank">FBI</a> officially linked the North Korean government to the cyber attack on Sony. In the press conference, Obama indicated the US government was considering how to respond.</p> <p>When asked for specifics, he said, "We've been working up a range of options. They will be presented to me and I will make a decision based on what I think is proportional and appropriate to the nature of this crime."</p> <iframe src="http://player.theplatform.com/p/2E2eJC/nbcNewsOffsite?guid=nbc_sr_obama_141219" width="630" height="354" scrolling="no" frameborder="0"></iframe></body></html> MoJo Video Media Obama Fri, 19 Dec 2014 19:40:58 +0000 Inae Oh 267046 at http://www.motherjones.com More Good News For Obamacare: Employer Health Coverage Hasn't Crashed http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/12/more-good-news-obamacare-employer-health-coverage-hasnt-crashed <!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_kaiser_employer_health_insurance_covered_0.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">The share of the population with employer health insurance has been slowly eroding for years. <a href="http://kff.org/health-costs/report/2014-employer-health-benefits-survey/" target="_blank">The chart on the right</a> tells the story: total coverage rates have dropped from 70 percent to 62 percent since 2001. The trend is pretty clear: the number of workers covered by employer insurance has been dropping about half a percentage point per year for more than a decade.</p> <p>So has Obamacare accelerated this trend? There have long been fears that it might: once the exchanges were up and running, employers might decide that it was cheaper to ditch their own insurance and just pay their workers extra to buy coverage on the open market. But a new study released by <em>Health Affairs</em> says <a href="http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/early/2014/12/16/hlthaff.2014.1298.full" target="_blank">that hasn't happened:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>We found essentially no change in offer rates throughout the study period. Overall, the rates stayed steady, at around 82 percent. Offer rates in small firms also held steady, at around 61 percent....We found no change in take-up rates overall, or by income or firm size, between June 2013 and September 2014.</p> <p>....<strong>As with offer and take-up rates of employer-sponsored insurance, there were no significant differences in coverage rates for the insurance overall or for any subgroup.</strong> The rates stayed roughly constant at about 71 percent across all workers, about 50 percent among workers in small firms, and about 82 percent among workers in large <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_employer_coverage_before_after_obamacare.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">firms. The rates also remained constant among low- and high-income workers in either small or large firms.</p> </blockquote> <p>Note that the percentages themselves differ between the Kaiser numbers and the study numbers thanks to differences in methodology. And there are, of course, plenty of reasons we might see only small changes in employer coverage. The economy has improved. Inertia might be keeping things in check for a while. Perhaps as Obamacare becomes settled law and its benefits become more widely known, more employers will drop their own coverage.</p> <p>Those are all possibilities. For now, though, it looks as though fears of employers dumping health coverage were unfounded. It's yet more good news for Obamacare.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Health Care Fri, 19 Dec 2014 18:50:55 +0000 Kevin Drum 267031 at http://www.motherjones.com Americans Are More Concerned About Racism Than at Anytime Since Rodney King http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/12/race-relations-america-gallup <!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="" class="image" src="/files/qocpg9wuae2lakl2em3ceg_0.png"><div class="caption">Gallup</div> </div> <p>A new poll conducted by Gallup found that <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/180257/major-problem-race-relations-sharply-rises.aspx" target="_blank">13 percent</a>&nbsp;of Americans believe racism is the country's most important problem,&nbsp;up from just 1 percent in November. It's the highest that number has been since the Rodney King verdict in 1992.</p> <p>The sharp rise follows national outrage and a wave of protests that swept the nation in response to the failure by two separate grand juries to indict two white officers who killed two black men, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/12/grand-jury-doesnt-indict-staten-island-cop-death-eric-garner" target="_blank">Eric Garner</a> and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/11/6-revelations-grand-jury-documents" target="_blank">Michael Brown.</a></p> <p>According to the data published Friday, nonwhites are more than twice as likely as whites to call race relations/racism the country's most important problem:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/cdwhcccrpum3jhtjnja_5a.png"><div class="caption">Gallup</div> </div> <p>The latest poll echoes recent studies revealing similar sentiments, including <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/first-read/poll-57-percent-americans-say-race-relations-u-s-are-n269491" target="_blank">worsening</a> race relations and a growing distrust of law enforcement officers among Americans.&nbsp;As for the latter, however, Gallup found in a poll published earlier this week that while trust in police by nonwhites has <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/180230/drop-among-nonwhites-drives-police-honesty-ratings-down.aspx" target="_blank">plummeted by 22 percent,</a> whites' views on the issue have barely changed.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/vozxveeicuwrc2qjvtkprg_0.png"><div class="caption">Gallup</div> </div> <p>As for the most important problem facing the nation, that's still the <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/179381/americans-say-government-economy-important-problems.aspx" target="_blank">government</a>, which leads racism by 2 points.</p> <p class="p1"><em>Correction: The original version of this story misstated the last time so many Americans viewed racism as the nation's biggest problem; it was after the Rodney King verdict, not his death.</em></p></body></html> MoJo Charts Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity Fri, 19 Dec 2014 18:35:15 +0000 Inae Oh 267021 at http://www.motherjones.com Are Republicans Really Ready to Embrace Net Neutrality? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/12/are-republicans-really-ready-embrace-net-neutrality <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Well, this is unexpected. Democrats are generally in favor of net neutrality, the principle that all websites should be treated equally by internet service providers. Companies can't pay extra for faster service and ISPs can't slow down or block sites they don't <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/images/Blog_Net_Neutrality_Shirt.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">like. Naturally, since Democrats are in favor of this, Republicans are opposed. <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/12/19/congress-wants-to-legislate-net-neutrality-heres-what-that-might-look-like/" target="_blank">But maybe not all <em>that</em> opposed:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Republicans in Congress appear likely to introduce legislation next month aimed at preventing Internet providers from speeding up some Web sites over others....<strong>Industry officials said they are discussing details of the proposal with several Republican lawmakers,</strong> whom they declined to name. The officials also said the proposal is being backed by several large telecommunications companies, which they also declined to name.</p> <p>One important piece of the proposed legislation would establish a new way for the FCC to regulate broadband providers by creating a separate provision of the Communications Act known as "Title X," the people said. Title X would enshrine elements of the tough net neutrality principles called for by President Obama last month. For example, it would give FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler the authority to prevent broadband companies from blocking or slowing traffic to Web sites, or charging content companies such as Netflix for faster access to their subscribers &mdash; a tactic known as "paid prioritization."</p> <p>....<strong>"Consensus on this issue is really not that far apart,"</strong> said an industry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks were ongoing. "There's common understanding that rules are needed to protect consumers."</p> </blockquote> <p>Huh. I wonder if this is for real? The reported price for supporting this legislation is relatively small: the FCC would be prohibited from regulating the internet as a common carrier under Title II, something that even net neutrality supporters agree is problematic. The problem is that although Title II would indeed enshrine net neutrality, it comes with a ton of baggage that was designed for telephone networks and doesn't really translate well to the internet. This would require a lot of "regulatory forbearance" from the FCC, which is almost certain to end up being pretty messy. A new net-centric Title X, if it truly implements net neutrality, would be a much better solution. It would also be immune to court challenges.</p> <p>One possibility for such a law would be a modified version of net neutrality. My sense has always been that the real goal of net neutrality supporters is to make sure that internet providers don't provide fast lanes for companies willing to pay more, and don't slow down or block companies they dislike (perhaps because the companies provide services they compete with). At the same time, everyone acknowledges that video requires a lot of bandwidth, and internet providers legitimately need incentives to build out their networks to handle the growing data demands of video. So why not have content-neutral rules that set tariffs based on the type of service provided? Video providers might have to pay more than, say, Joe's Cafe, but all video providers would pay the same rate based on how much traffic they dump on the net. That rate would be subject to regulatory approval to prevent abuse.</p> <p>I dunno. Maybe that's too complicated. Maybe it's too hard to figure out traffic levels in a consistent way, and too hard to figure out how much video makes you a video provider. Maybe rules like this are too easy to game. In the end, it could be that the best bet is to simply agree on strong net neutrality, and then let ISPs charge their customers for bandwidth. If you watch a ton of Netflix, you're going to pay more. If you just check email once a day, you'll get a cheap plan.</p> <p>In any case, it's interesting that President Obama's announcement of support for strong net neutrality has really had an effect. It apparently motivated the FCC to get more serious about Title II regulation, and this in turn has motivated the industry to concede the net neutrality fight as long as they can win congressional approval of a more reasonable set of rules. The devil is in the details, of course, and I have no doubt that industry lobbyists will do their best to craft rules favorable to themselves. Luckily, there's a limit to how far they can go since it will almost certainly require Democratic support to pass a bill.</p> <p>Anyway, this is all just rumors and reports of rumors at this point. Stay tuned to see if it actually pans out.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Congress Regulatory Affairs Tech Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:32:25 +0000 Kevin Drum 267026 at http://www.motherjones.com We Should Respond to North Korea. But What If We Can't? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/12/we-should-respond-north-korea-what-if-we-cant <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Over at the all-new <em>New Republic</em>,&nbsp;Yishai Schwartz sounds the usual old-school <em>New Republic</em> war drums toward North Korea. "The only way to prevent future attacks," <a href="http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120604/sony-interview-hack-demands-us-cyberattack-response" target="_blank">he says,</a> "is for foreign governments to know that attacks against U.S. targets&mdash;cyber or kinetic&mdash;will bring fierce, yet proportionally appropriate, responses." And time is already running out. We should be doing this now now now.</p> <p>Right. So what's the deal, Obama? Why all the dithering in the face of this attack? Are you just&mdash;oh wait. Maybe there's more to this. <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-struggles-for-response-to-sony-hack-1418950806?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTTopStories" target="_blank">Here's the <em>Wall Street Journal</em>:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Responding presents its own set of challenges, with options that people familiar with the discussions say are either implausible or ineffective. North Korea's only connections to the Internet run through China, and some former officials say the U.S. should urge Beijing to get its neighbor to cut it out&hellip;But the U.S. already is in a standoff with China over accusations of bilateral hacking, making any aid in this crisis unlikely, the intelligence official said.</p> <p>Engaging in a counter-hack could also backfire, U.S. cyberpolicy experts said, in part because the U.S. is able to spy on North Korea by maintaining a foothold on some of its computer systems. A retaliatory cyberstrike could wind up damaging Washington's ability to spy on Pyongyang, a former intelligence official said. Another former U.S. official said policy makers remain squeamish about deploying cyberweapons against foreign targets.</p> <p>&hellip;North Korea is already an isolated nation, so there isn't much more economic pressure the U.S. can bring to bear on them either, these people said. Even publicly naming them as the suspected culprit presents diplomatic challenges, potentially causing problems for Japan, where Sony is based.</p> </blockquote> <p>I'd like to do something to stomp on North Korea too. Hell, 20 million North Koreans would be better off if we just invaded the damn place and put them all under NATO military rule. It's one of the few places on Earth you can say that about. However, I'm sensible enough to realize that things aren't that easy, and there's not much point in demanding "action" just because the situation is so hellish and frustrating.</p> <p>Ditto in this case. A US response would certainly be appropriate. And honestly, it's not as if there's really anyone taking the other side of that argument. But given the nature of the DPRK, a meaningful response would also be really hard. America just doesn't have a whole lot of leverage against a place like that. What's more, if we do respond, it's at least even odds that it will be done in some way that will never be made public.</p> <p>So let's cool our jets. Armchair posturing might make us feel better, but this isn't a partisan chew toy, and it's not a matter of the current administration being insufficiently hawkish. It's a matter of figuring out if there's even a <em>way</em> to respond effectively. Like it or not, it might turn out that there isn't.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum International Military Top Stories Fri, 19 Dec 2014 16:01:11 +0000 Kevin Drum 267011 at http://www.motherjones.com Watch Stephen Colbert End Final Episode with an Epic Celebrity-Soaked Sing-Along http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/12/colbert-last-episode-singalong <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Stephen Colbert <a href="http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/964kg3/stephen---friends----we-ll-meet-again-" target="_blank">bid farewell </a>to "The Colbert Report" with a joyous sing-along of "We'll Meet Again," which saw cameos from nearly every friend of the show you could imagine, from Jon Stewart, James Franco, Samantha Power, Patrick Stewart, Bill de Blasio, George Lucas, Big&nbsp;Bird, and many more. The inimitable Randy Newman played piano.</p> <p>It was a spectacular moment that concluded with our beloved host riding off into the night in Santa's sleigh, a unicorned Abraham Lincoln and non-unicorned Alex Trebek in tow.</p> <div style="background-color:#000000;width:640px;"> <div style="padding:4px;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="354" src="http://media.mtvnservices.com/embed/mgid:arc:video:colbertnation.com:c6b8845a-8e69-4c38-bfa8-99084e0fb78a" width="630"></iframe></div> </div> <p>Earlier on, Colbert managed to actually cheat death by defeating the Grim Reaper in a rousing, violent game of chess. "I just killed death. I'm immortal!" Here's to hoping there's more to come from our favorite right-wing blowhard:</p> <div style="background-color:#000000;width:640px;"> <div style="padding:4px;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="354" src="http://media.mtvnservices.com/embed/mgid:arc:video:colbertnation.com:34c4f2b2-f6a7-4d2e-89f2-ebd314743550" width="630"></iframe></div> </div></body></html> Mixed Media Video Media Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:11:01 +0000 Inae Oh 267006 at http://www.motherjones.com 10 Movies About Freedom of Expression Hollywood Should Rewatch ASAP http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/12/sony-the-interview <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Wednesday, the powers that be at Sony officially pulled the plug on <em>The Interview</em>, after hackers behind the company's unprecedented hacking scandal threatened to unleash a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/16/sony-hackers-911-the-interview_n_6335174.html" target="_blank">September 11th-like terrorism scheme</a> if the film was released as scheduled.</p> <p><em>The Interview</em> was supposed to be a dumb movie starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, in which the two conclude their adventures in North Korea by <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/north-korea-the-interview-2014-12" target="_blank">blowing up</a> the country's man-child leader, Kim Jong-Un. This was supposed to be a movie no one was particularly interested in discussing, because it frankly sounded terrible. It should have marched on to its dumb release on Christmas Day, but alas, Sony capitulated to what were&nbsp;most likely <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2014/12/dhs-no-credible-threat-to-sony-movie-launch-113618.html" target="_blank">empty</a> threats. Paramount went even further by barring theaters from showing <a href="https://deadline.com/2014/12/paramount-cancel-team-america-1201329597/" target="_blank">"Team America.</a>"</p> <p>If movies have&nbsp;taught us anything over the years, it is that when someone tells you not to express yourself creatively, you tell them to fuck off, and dance your little heart out. Standing up to the forces of artistic oppression and censorship&nbsp;is the main lesson of literally every single film Hollywood has ever made.</p> <p>With that in mind, here are 10 movies Hollywood should rewatch:</p> <p><strong><em>1. Footloose</em></strong></p> <p><strong>Threat</strong>: Don't dance.</p> <p><strong>Resolution</strong>: Fuck 'em. Dance.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/giphy.gif" style="height: 354px; width: 636px;"></div> <p><strong style="line-height: 2em;"><em>2. Pleasantville</em></strong></p> <p><strong>Threat</strong>: Don't paint.</p> <p><strong>Resolution</strong>: Fuck 'em. Paint.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/200.gif" style="height: 391px; width: 630px;"></div> <p><em style="line-height: 2em;"><strong>3. Hamlet 2</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Threat</strong>: Don&rsquo;t do an awful play.</p> <p><strong>Resolution</strong>: Fuck 'em. Do your awful play in an old abandoned warehouse.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/anigif_enhanced-buzz-15382-1395076434-8.gif" style="height: 328px; width: 630px;"></div> <p><em style="line-height: 2em;"><strong>4. Shakespeare In Love</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Threat</strong>: Don't let a girl act.</p> <p><strong>Resolution</strong>: Fuck Colin Firth. Let Gwyneth act.&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/giphy_0.gif" style="height: 540px; width: 630px;"></div> <p><em style="line-height: 2em;"><strong>5. Mr. Holland's Opus</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Threat</strong>: Don't play rock &amp; roll.</p> <p><strong>Resolution</strong>: Sit on it, William H. Macy. Rock out.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/opus.gif" style="height: 239px; width: 630px;"></div> <p><em><strong>6. The People versus Larry Flynt </strong></em></p> <p><strong>Threat</strong>: Don't sell pornography and joke about Reverend Jerry Falwell having sex with his mother.</p> <p><strong>Resolution</strong>: Make as much pornography as you want. Joke extra hard about Reverend Jerry Falwell having sex with his mother.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/tumblr_mnifuj5Aua1qk8jpko5_250.gif" style="width: 600px;"></div> <p><em style="line-height: 2em;"><strong>7. Pump up the Volume&nbsp;</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Threat</strong>: Don't do a radio show where you tell truth to power.</p> <p><strong>Resolution</strong>: Pump up the volume.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/tumblr_mvc506dTYr1r0k2r8o5_250.gif" style="height: 411px; width: 630px;"></div> <p><em><strong>8. Pirate Radio </strong></em></p> <p><strong>Threat</strong>: Don't play dirty rock &amp; roll on the radio.</p> <p><strong>Resolution</strong>: Who's going to stop us? You? You and what Navy? Oh, the Royal Navy, I see.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/tumblr_m457igKW7y1qavb8jo1_500.gif" style="height: 263px; width: 630px;"></div> <p><em><strong>9. Cradle Will Rock</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Threat:</strong> Don't put on a leftist musical.</p> <p><strong>Resolution:</strong> Find another theater. Put on your leftist musical.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/AMmGSItJTJI" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><strong><em>10. Dirty Dancing </em></strong></p> <p><strong>Threat</strong>: Don't dance in a sensual way with the guests.</p> <p><strong>Resolution:</strong> Fuck 'em. Cue Patrick Swayze: "Sorry about the disruption, folks, but I always do the last dance of the season. This year somebody told me not to. So I'm gonna do my kind of dancin' with a great partner, who's not only a terrific dancer. Somebody who's taught me that there are people willing to stand up for other people no matter what it costs them. Somebody who's taught me about the kind of person I wanna be. Miss Frances Houseman."&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/giphy%20%281%29_0.gif" style="height: 284px; width: 630px;"></div> <p>Stop putting baby in a corner, Hollywood.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> Mixed Media Video Film and TV Fri, 19 Dec 2014 11:00:08 +0000 Inae Oh and Ben Dreyfuss 266961 at http://www.motherjones.com 8 Weird Things You Can Buy for the Republican or Democrat In Your Life This Holiday Season http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/12/8-weird-things-you-can-buy-republican-or-democrat-your-life-holiday-season <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>With five shopping days left until Christmas&mdash;and four for Hanukkah, slacker&mdash;you might be feeling pressure to come through with some great gifts for friends and family. Not to worry: the Republican and Democratic parties are here to help! From decorative lapel-wear to straight-talkin' tees, the parties' respective online stores are offering a festive array of gift selections this holiday season. Here are some real winners, sure to please the partisan in your life. In no particular order:</p> <p><strong>1. Limited Edition American Eagle Brooch</strong></p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/brooch_0.jpg"><div class="caption">National Republican Congressional Committee</div> </div> <p>From the National Republican Congressional Committee comes this <a href="https://www.nrcc.org/get-your-eagle-brooch/?utm_source=store&amp;utm_medium=website&amp;utm_campaign=brooch_website_store_s" target="_blank">"exquisite piece."</a> For the low price of $72&mdash;or $200 for three!&mdash;you can show off your American pride while helping "preserve our Conservative House Majority."<br> &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>2. ACTION Mugs</strong></p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/actionmugs_0.jpg"><div class="caption">Organizing for Action</div> </div> <p>Take an executive action and order these mugs. Delicious-looking hot cocoa, shortbread cookies, and cozy blanket do not appear to be included.<br> &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>3. George W. Bush Quote Mousepad</strong></p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/gwb.jpg"><div class="caption">National Republican Congressional Committee</div> </div> <p>For that someone who could use a bit of W. wisdom with each click they make. <a href="https://www.nrcc.org/store/george-w-bush-mouse-pad/" target="_blank">At $15</a>, it's a steal from the NRCC&mdash;and it could appreciate in value with any additional Bush presidencies.<br> &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>4. I Am Organizing For Action, Long-Sleeve-T Edition</strong></p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/orgforaction_0.jpg"><div class="caption">Democrats.org</div> </div> <p>There's no better way to communicate that you're organizing for action than this handsome, olive long-sleeve tee that says, "I am organizing for action." For $20, it's a solid choice for that community organizer you know with a flair for subtlety.<br> &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>5. George H.W. Bush Autograph Socks</strong></p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/bushsocks.jpg"><div class="caption">Republican National Committee</div> </div> <p>From the color combo to the presidential signature, these socks are just beautiful. They were supposedly designed for H.W. himself&mdash;widely known to be a <a href="http://time.com/2853589/george-h-w-bush-birthday-socks/" target="_blank">sock man</a>&mdash;and <a href="https://gop.com/special-edition-george-hw-bush-socks-ld/" target="_blank">for $41</a> (get it?!), this is the ideal gift for the boat-shoe-wearing College Republican in your life.<br> &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>6. Very Blue Shirt</strong></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/democrat_0.jpg"><div class="caption">Democrats.org</div> </div> </div> <p>Great gift! Unless you have trouble distinguishing between identical shades of blue, or if you have <a href="http://theweek.com/article/index/207105/democrats-new-logo-change-you-can-sell" target="_blank">issues with the Democrats' logo rebrand</a>. But it's $30, and the <a href="http://store.democrats.org/products/democrats-tshirt" target="_blank">DNC says it can "withstand sports,"</a> so it's still an OK buy. It'll really complement that sweet arm tat.<br> &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>7. Anti-Tea Party Travel Mug</strong></p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/democratthing_0.jpg"><div class="caption">Democrats.org</div> </div> <p>There's nothing quite like a good travel mug with a strong opinion. At $30, this is a <a href="http://store.democrats.org/products/i-hate-tea-parties-tumbler" target="_blank">certified "great gift."</a> The mug has even <a href="http://dailycaller.com/2014/12/02/democrats-sell-christmas-gifts-that-say-i-hate-tea-parties/" target="_blank">pissed off the Daily Caller</a>&mdash;a priceless value-add.<br> &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>8. "Official" Cheney GOP Cowboy Hat</strong></p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/dickhat.jpg"><div class="caption">Republican National Committee</div> </div> <p>The clear winner this holiday season: this limited-edition hat from the RNC, engraved with Dick's signature, and lined with a gold Republican Party seal. For a cool $72, you can <a href="https://gop.com/official-dick-cheney-cowboy-hat/" target="_blank">"help elect our next Republican president"</a> while channeling America's favorite Republican vice president. It'll be sure to add that stylish touch to your enhanced cattle-rustlin' techniques.</p> <p><em>Disclaimer: Obviously, you should not buy any of these things. Nobody wants to talk politics at Christmas. Don't make <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/12/best-c-span-call-all-time" target="_blank">Mom get into this</a></em><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/12/best-c-span-call-all-time" target="_blank">. </a></p></body></html> MoJo Top Stories Fri, 19 Dec 2014 11:00:06 +0000 Sam Brodey 266756 at http://www.motherjones.com One Little Survey Question Explains All of Politics http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/12/one-little-survey-question-explains-all-politics <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Jonathan Bernstein points to a new Kaiser survey that examines opposition to the individual mandate in Obamacare. <a href="http://kaiserhealthnews.org/news/public-easily-swayed-on-attitudes-about-health-law-poll-finds/" target="_blank">Here's what they found:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>It remains among the least popular aspects of the law&nbsp;&mdash; with just a 35 percent approval rating. But when people are told that the mandate doesn&rsquo;t affect most Americans because they already have coverage through an employer, support jumps to 62 percent.</p> </blockquote> <p>It only takes a modest bit of reading between the lines to figure out what's really going on here: when people find out that the mandate doesn't apply to them personally, lots of them are suddenly OK with it. In case politics has always mystified you, that's it in a nutshell. Now you know.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Health Care Fri, 19 Dec 2014 03:59:57 +0000 Kevin Drum 267001 at http://www.motherjones.com Nebraska and Oklahoma Sue to Overturn Legal Weed in Colorado http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/12/nebraska-and-oklahoma-sue-overturn-legal-weed-colorado <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The attorneys general of Nebraska and Oklahoma petitioned the US Supreme Court on Thursday to overturn pot legalization in Colorado, arguing that its legal weed has been spilling across their borders and fueling crime.</p> <p>"The state of Colorado has created a dangerous gap in the federal drug control system," the <a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/250506006/Nebraska-Oklahoma-lawsuit" target="_blank">suit alleges</a>. "Marijuana flows from this gap into neighboring states, undermining Plaintiff states' own marijuana bans, draining their treasuries, and placing stress on their criminal justice systems."</p> <p>The Department of Justice pledged last year not to interfere with pot legalization in Colorado and Washington, but only if the states met a list of conditions, including preventing legally purchased marijuana from being diverted to states where it's illegal. Nebraska and Oklahoma are now arguing that the Supreme Court should compel the DOJ to act.</p> <p>Evidence has been mounting that Colorado can't contain all of its weed. In June, <em>USA Today</em> <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/06/11/colorado-marijuana-exports/9964707/" target="_blank">highlighted</a> the flow of its marijuana into small towns across Nebraska. Since 2011, the paper reported, felony drug arrests in Chappell, Nebraska, a town just seven miles north of the Colorado border, have jumped 400 percent.</p> <p>But marijuana reformers argue that governments can't contain illegally purchased weed either, and that a few growing pains on the path to a more sensible drug policy are inevitable. "These guys are on the wrong side of history," Mason Tvert, communications director for the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement. "They will be remembered similarly to how we think of state officials who fought to maintain alcohol prohibition years after other states ended it."</p> <p>Nebraska attorney general Jon Brunning has actually become too eager to support the alcohol industry, Tvert adds. Between 2008 and 2012, beer, wine, and alcohol interests donated $86,000 to Brunning. In 2012, he advocated for a lower tax rate for sweetened malt beverages such as hard lemonade. "It appears he is fighting to protect their turf," Tvert says. "He should explain why he thinks Colorado adults should not be able to use marijuana instead."<br> &nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties marijuana Fri, 19 Dec 2014 01:23:29 +0000 Josh Harkinson 266996 at http://www.motherjones.com Mystery Chart of the Day: What's Up With All the Skinny Economists? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/12/mystery-chart-day-whats-all-skinny-economists <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The chart on the right is <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/memo-to-staff-time-to-lose-a-few-pounds-1418775776" target="_blank">excerpted from the <em>Wall Street Journal</em>.</a> It shows which occupations have the lowest obesity rates, and most of it makes sense. There are folks who do a lot of physical labor (janitors, <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_obesity_occupation.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">maids, cooks, etc.). There are health professionals who are probably hyper-aware of the risks of obesity. There are athletes and actors who have to stay in shape as part of their jobs.</p> <p>And then, at the very bottom, there are economists, scientists, and psychologists. What's up with that? Why would these folks be unusually slender? I can't even come up with a plausible hypothesis, aside from the possibility that these professions attract rabid obsessives who are so devoted to their jobs that they don't care about food. Aside from that, I got nothing. Put your best guess in comments.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Health Thu, 18 Dec 2014 22:22:49 +0000 Kevin Drum 266976 at http://www.motherjones.com Rick Perry Is One Lucky Dude http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/12/rick-perry-one-lucky-dude <!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.aei.org/publication/oil-price-collapse-may-end-texas-miracle-least-now/" target="_blank">From James Pethokoukis:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The energy sector gives, and the energy sector takes. The stunning drop in oil prices looks like bad news for the &ldquo;Texas Miracle.&rdquo; (Texas is responsible for 40% of all US oil production &mdash; vs. 25% five years ago &mdash; and all of the net US job growth since 2007.) This from JPMorgan economist Michael Feroli: &ldquo;As we weigh the evidence, we think Texas will, at the least, have a rough 2015 ahead, and is at risk of slipping into a regional recession.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Man, Rick Perry is one lucky guy, isn't he? It's true that the "Texas Miracle" <a href="http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/march_april_may_2014/features/oops_the_texas_miracle_that_is049289.php?page=all" target="_blank">may not be quite the miracle Perry would like us to believe.</a> As the chart below shows in a nutshell, the Texas unemployment rate has fared only slightly better than the average of all its surrounding states.</p> <p>Still, Texas has certainly had strong absolute job growth. However, this is mostly due to (a) population growth; (b) the shale oil boom; and (c) surprisingly strict mortgage loan regulations combined with loose land use rules, which allowed Texas to escape the worst of the housing bubble. Perry didn't actually have much to do with any of this, but he gets to brag about it anyway. And now that oil is collapsing and might bring the miracle to a sudden end, Perry is leaving office and can avoid all blame for what happens next.</p> <p>One lucky guy indeed.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_texas_area_unemployment.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 17px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum 2016 Elections Economy Thu, 18 Dec 2014 19:00:42 +0000 Kevin Drum 266946 at http://www.motherjones.com