Blogs | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en It's More or Less Final: Obamacare Has Insured About 11 Million People <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Jonathan Cohn passes along the results of a new study from the Commonwealth Fund which estimates that the ranks of the uninsured have dropped by about 5 percentage points <a href="" target="_blank">since the start of the Obamacare rollout:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>To put that in more concrete terms, there are still a lot of Americans walking around without health insurance today. <strong>But there are about 9.5 million fewer of them than there were last fall,</strong> almost certainly because so many people have enrolled in the newly expanded Medicaid program or purchased subsidized insurance through the Obamacare marketplaces.</p> <p>How does that compare to expectations? The Congressional Budget Office predicted that, one year into full implementation, Obamacare would reduce the the number of Americans without insurance by 12 million. That included the young adults who got insurance before 2014, by signing onto their parents&rsquo; plans. There&rsquo;s been some controversy over exactly how many people that is, <strong>but the best estimates I&rsquo;ve seen place it somewhere between 1 and 2.5 million.</strong> Add that number to the 9.5 million from the Commonwealth survey, and you're close or equal to the CBO projections.</p> </blockquote> <p>So that's probably a total of around 11 million or so. Nearly all of the estimates now seem to be converging around this number, and given the inherent uncertainty in measuring the uninsured it seem like this is about as good as we're going to get.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Health Care Thu, 10 Jul 2014 04:31:18 +0000 Kevin Drum 255816 at Quote of the Day: "This Isn't Theater" <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>From President Obama, asked why he wasn't making a visit to the border during his trip to Texas today:</p> <blockquote> <p>This isn't theater. This is a problem.</p> </blockquote> <p>"I'm not interested in a photo-op," he said. "I'm interested in solving a problem." It would be nice if he weren't the only one.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Immigration Obama Wed, 09 Jul 2014 23:18:00 +0000 Kevin Drum 255806 at The Legacy of the Hobby Lobby Case: Protecting Anti-Gay Discrimination? <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>In his majority opinion in the recent <em>Hobby Lobby</em> case, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito took pains to frame the ruling, exempting companies from complying with Obamacare's contraceptive mandate if it violated the religious beliefs of their owners, as a narrow one. But gay and civil rights groups have long warned that a decision permitting such a religious exemption could have broad ramifications, potentially allowing employers to discriminate against gays. Now, their fears may be coming to pass.</p> <p>"What we've seen since last week's decision came down is that opponents of LGBT equality have pushed a misreading of that decision as having broadly endorsed discrimination against people, including LGBT people in the workplace," says Ian Thompson, a legislative representative for the American Civil Liberties Union.</p> <p>Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, told <em>Mother Jones</em> that the <em>Hobby Lobby</em> ruling "opens the door for corporations to discriminate against anyone that doesn't look, sound, or share the religious beliefs that they do. This isn't a business agenda; it's an extreme social agenda and it is deeply unpopular with the American people."</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/mojo/2014/07/hobby-lobby-anti-gay-discrimination"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> MoJo Congress Corporations Gay Rights Wed, 09 Jul 2014 22:49:31 +0000 Alex Park 255741 at For God's Sake, Stop What You're Doing and Go Buy Tickets to See Nick Cave <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="Nick Cave at San Francisco's Warfield Theater on July 8" class="image" src="/files/NickCavetopart.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Nick Cave at San Francisco's Warfield Theater on July 8 </strong>Michael Rosenthal</div> </div> <p>Most concert reviews are ponderous, so I'll keep this one short: The quirky, passionate Australian musician Nick Cave, who <a href="" target="_blank">was profiled</a> in Sunday's <em>New York Times Magazine</em> if you care to read up on his latest doings, basically just renewed my faith in rock and roll&mdash;a concept that this scrawny, sexy, histrionic, 56-year-old love child of David Bowie and Tom Waits and something much darker more or less embodies.</p> <p>Regardless of whether you've kept up with his oeuvre (I certainly haven't) or can even name any Nick Cave songs, he's a fabulous performer whom you need to see before you die&mdash;or before <em>he</em> does. Last night, during his second sold-out evening at San Francisco's Warfield Theater, the audience was smitten as Cave bounced around the stage like a gothic scarecrow, styled out in his signature dark suit and black velvet, taking full advantage of his rich voice and theatrical tendencies.</p> <p>Reaching into the front rows, and occasionally throwing himself halfway down into them, Cave connects intimately and powerfully with his audience, leavening lyrical intensity with dark humor: Within the twisted landscape of "Higgs Boson Blues," Cave croons: "If I die tonight, bury me / In my favorite yellow patent leather shoes / With a mummified cat and a cone-like hat / That the caliphate forced on the Jews." On the contemporary track "We Real Cool," he sings, "Wikipedia is heaven / When you don't want to remember no more." And if you've never heard Cave's unique take on "Stack-O-Lee" or "Stagger Lee" (or however you choose to write the name of the old murder ballad), well, yeah. It's not much like <a href="" target="_blank">the other hundred versions</a> you might have heard.</p> <p>Cave's talented band, the Bad Seeds, is a marvelous cast of characters to boot, especially the guy I'm calling the Mad Fiddler (and flautist, guitar, keyboard, and mandolin player). All wild hair and long, scraggly half-gray beard, he attacks his violin like some deranged fiddler on the roof. Together the Bad Seeds highlight Cave's quieter moments with subtlety, exploding with their bandleader when the time is right into mad catharsis. Rock and fucking roll at its finest. Tour dates are <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> Mixed Media Music Wed, 09 Jul 2014 19:01:25 +0000 Michael Mechanic 255791 at Medicare Just Keeps Producing Great Budget News <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Medicare has been a bastion of good news lately. Every year, the CBO reduces its baseline estimate of Medicare costs, which have dropped by more than $1,000 since 2010. <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_medicare_baseline.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">So what's going on? Tricia Neuman and Juliette Cubanski of the Kaiser Family Foundation <a href="" target="_blank">round up the evidence:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>It is clear that the <strong>Medicare savings provisions in the ACA,</strong> such as reductions in provider payment updates and Medicare Advantage payments, have played a major role....In addition, the <strong>Budget Control Act of 2011</strong> also exerted downward pressure on Medicare spending through sequestration that reduced payments to providers and plans by 2 percent beginning in 2013.&nbsp; And yet even after incorporating these scheduled payment reductions in the baseline, CBO has continued to lower its projections of Medicare spending.</p> <p>So what else might be going on here? In addition to scheduled reductions in Medicare&rsquo;s more formulaic payment rates, providers may be tightening their belts and looking to deliver care more efficiently in response to financial incentives included in the ACA, and it is possible that these changes are having a bigger effect than expected. For example, CMS recently reported that <strong>hospital readmission rates dropped by 130,000 between January 2012 and August 2013.</strong> It is also possible that hospitals and other providers are using data and other analytic tools more successfully to track utilization and spending and to reduce excess costs. Another more straightforward factor is that <strong>several expensive and popular brand-name drugs have gone off patent in recent years,</strong> which has helped to keep Medicare drug spending in check.</p> </blockquote> <p>No one knows for sure if these reductions are permanent, or whether high growth rates will reappear in the future. But even if the low growth rates of the past few years can't be sustained, I suspect that Medicare growth will continue to be lower than anyone expected. There are two reasons for this. First, the growth rate of medical costs in general <a href="" target="_blank">has been declining steadily for the past 30 years,</a> and this has now been going on long enough that it's highly unlikely to be a statistical blip. After a surge in the 80s and 90s, we really are returning to the growth rates that were common earlier in the century, and obviously this will affect Medicare.</p> <p>Second, Obamacare really will have an impact. Not everything in it will work, but it includes a lot of different cost-cutting measures and some of them will turn out to be pretty effective. And who knows? If Republicans ever stop pouting over Obamacare, we might even be able to experiment with different kinds of cost reductions.</p> <p>There's a fair amount of year-to-year variability in health care inflation, and we should expect to have some years of high growth. But I'll bet the average over the next decade is somewhere around 2 percent above the general inflation rate. That's not too bad.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Health Care Wed, 09 Jul 2014 18:20:20 +0000 Kevin Drum 255786 at George R.R. Martin Has 2 Words for People Scared He'll Die Before Finishing "Game Of Thrones" Series <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><a href="" target="_blank"><em>Game of Thrones</em></a> author George R.R. Martin is 65 years old. Because of this, some of his fans are <a href="" target="_blank">deeply worried</a> that he won't finish writing his <em>A Song of Ice And Fire</em> fantasy book series (which began in 1996, and is the basis for <a href="" target="_blank">the hit HBO show</a>) before he dies. (See: the case of fellow fantasy author <a href="" target="_blank">Robert Jordan</a>.)</p> <p>Well, he was asked about this during a recent interview with Swiss newspaper <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Tages-Anzeiger</em></a>. Here's his response:</p> <blockquote> <p>Well, I find that question, you know, pretty offensive, frankly, when people start speculating about my death and my health. So, 'fuck you' to those people. <em>[Laughs.]</em></p> </blockquote> <p>You can watch the "fuck you"&mdash;and Martin's accompanying flipped middle finger&mdash;<a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <p>This isn't the first time Martin has addressed this concern among his readers. In 2012, he wrote a <a href="" target="_blank">blog post</a> trolling his fans who are so obsessed with the series that they routinely <a href="" target="_blank">berate</a> him for working on other projects. It <a href="" target="_blank">reads</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Reading. I just finished THE KING'S BLOOD, the second volume of Daniel Abraham's "Dagger and Coin" series. Books like this remind me why I love epic fantasy. Yes, I'm prejudiced, Daniel is a friend and sometime collaborator... but damn, that was a good book. Great world, great characters, thoroughly engrossing story. The only problem was, it ended too soon. I want more. I want to know what happens to Cithrin, and Marcus, and Geder, and Clara. And I want to know NOW. God damn you, Daniel Abraham. I know for a fact that you are writing more Expanse books with Ty, and more urban fantasies as M.L.N. Hanover, and doing short stories for some hack anthologist, and scripting some goddamn COMIC BOOK, and even sleeping with your wife and playing with your daughter. STOP ALL THAT AT ONCE, and get to writing on the next Dagger and Coin. I refuse to wait.</p> </blockquote> <p>"Fuck you" is more succinct.</p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 2em;">(</span><em style="line-height: 2em;">h/t </em><a href=";utm_source=gawker_twitter&amp;utm_medium=socialflow" style="line-height: 2em;" target="_blank">Gawker</a><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 2em;">)</span></p></body></html> Mixed Media Books Film and TV Wed, 09 Jul 2014 17:38:37 +0000 Asawin Suebsaeng 255751 at Is Montana More Corrupt Than Miami? <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>For such a sparsely populated state, Montana has managed to generate some outsized headlines lately. There's the GOP Senate candidate who made news by suggesting that <a href="" target="_blank">creationism should be taught in public schools</a>. Then there's Missoula's reputation as the <a href="" target="_blank">"rape capital"</a> of the world, thanks to, among other things, serious allegations of sexual assault committed by University of Montana football players. And continuing that theme, there's also the Justice Department's investigation of the Missoula County Attorney's office alleging that prosecutors had been <a href="" target="_blank">systematically discriminating against female sexual abuse victims.</a></p> <p>Now comes new data showing that Montana is leading the country in public corruption prosecutions, suggesting that the state's reputation for graft (dating back to the days of the<a href="" target="_blank"> Copper Kings</a>) hasn't changed much. Clocking in with 18 active cases, the federal judicial district of Montana has had more public corruption prosecutions in 2014 than those in south Florida, southern California, and even New Jersey, according to data crunched by the <a href="" target="_blank">Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. </a></p> <p>How is it that such a small state has so many prosecutions? "Why prosecutors do what they do is a mystery," says TRAC's David Burnham. But the prosecutors in Montana have a good explanation: They've recently organized a major crackdown on corruption on American Indian reservations, of which the state has seven.&nbsp;</p> <p>A recent AP investigation concluded that, nationally, tribal governments are five times more likely to have <a href="" target="_blank">"material weaknesses" in their administration</a> that make corruption possible, and reporters for years have been sounding alarms that federal prosecutors have largely turned a blind eye to these problems. Montana decided to change that trend, at a time when millions in additional federal dollars have flowed into tribal governments thanks to the federal stimulus package enacted after the financial collapse in 2008.</p> <p>In 2011, the US Attorney's office launched a task force, dubbed the Guardians Project, with the FBI, the IRS, and inspectors general of various federal agencies, to target corruption on American Indian reservations. The results have been telling: In 2012, Montana had only one official corruption prosecution, but by August of last year, the Guardians Project had netted 25 indictments against people who'd allegedly done <a href="" target="_blank">all sorts of devious things</a> to keep federal money from reaching those it was supposed to help.</p> <p>Prosecutors promised there would be more to come, and there have been. Just last month, four members of the Blackfeet tribe were <a href="" target="_blank">sentenced to prison</a> for involvement in a scheme to steal federal mental health and substance abuse treatment funds from a $9 million contract. More than $225,000 intended for the program ended up being spent on travel and gambling, among other things.</p> <p>Six people have pleaded guilty to embezzling federal dollars from a $361 million pipeline project designed to bring freshwater to the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation. Another seven people from the Crow reservation were<a href="" target="_blank"> indicted for stealing at least half a million dollars</a> from the tribe in a double-billing scheme operated out of the tribe's historic preservation office. One of the people convicted in the scheme allowed a coal company to take a backhoe to a 2,000-year-old sacred bison burial site. The corruption investigations have already ensnared a former state representative and Chippewa Cree tribe official, Tony Belcourt, who in April <a href="" target="_blank">pleaded guilty to bribery, theft and tax-evasion</a> charges related to the water project, as well as construction of a multi-million dollar clinic.</p> <p>Overall, though, Montana itself probably isn't more scandal-plagued than New Jersey or Miami. Montana's US Attorney has just taken a harder line on prosecuting the abuses on its reservations, and all those cases have added up to boost Montana to the top of the rankings in terms of public corruption prosecutions. "These figures from Syracuse reflect only a portion of our effort," US Attorney Mike Cotter said in a statement Tuesday. "Many of the public corruption indictments brought in Montana were initiated before last October. Relatively speaking, Montana is a small office; a David among Goliaths. But the Guardians have done truly remarkable work. Their efforts have unearthed widespread criminal activity and flagrant abuses of trust with regard to federal programs and grants designed to provide for the common good of our Indian communities."</p></body></html> MoJo Crime and Justice Wed, 09 Jul 2014 16:44:58 +0000 Stephanie Mencimer 255571 at We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for July 9, 2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p class="rtecenter"><em>The 173rd Airborne Brigade Paratroopers participate in a ceremonial rotation of forces in Latvia. (US Army National Guard Photo by Spc. Cassandra Simonton, 116th Public Affairs Detachment)</em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Wed, 09 Jul 2014 15:31:19 +0000 255746 at This Is the Democratic Plan to Reverse the Hobby Lobby Decision <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid <a href="" target="_blank">promised "to do something"</a> about the Supreme Court's <a href="" target="_blank">recent Hobby Lobby decision</a>. Now two members of his caucus say they are preparing a bill that would reverse some of the controversial aspects of last week's decision.</p> <p>Take it away, <em><a href="" target="_blank">TPM</a></em>:</p> <blockquote> <p>The legislation will be sponsored by Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Mark Udall (D-CO). According to a summary reviewed by TPM, it prohibits employers from refusing to provide health services, including contraception, to their employees if required by federal law. It clarifies that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the basis for the Supreme Court's ruling against the mandate, and all other federal laws don't permit businesses to opt out of the Obamacare requirement.<br> ...</p> <p>This bill will restore the original legal guarantee that women have access to contraceptive coverage through their employment-based insurance plans and will protect coverage of other health services from employer objections as well, according to the summary.</p> </blockquote> <p>This is all well and good, but unfortunately this bill will never survive a cloture vote in the Senate; even if it did, it would be dead on arrival in the House of Representatives. The only way that Hobby Lobby stands even a chance of being overturned legislatively is if John Boehner is forced to hand over the Speaker's gavel to a Democrat. That's probably something someone at the DCCC should remind people of as we head into the midterms.</p></body></html> MoJo Supreme Court Wed, 09 Jul 2014 15:02:52 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 255736 at Vladimir Putin Abandons His Erstwhile Allies <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Julia Ioffe writes about the <a href="" target="_blank">latest from Ukraine:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>As the Ukrainian army chases separatists from the strongholds they've held for months, Moscow has barely said anything&mdash;despite its springtime rants about protecting Russians wherever they may be in the world....As I wrote back in May, <strong>now that he's sown chaos in Ukraine&mdash;but uneager to participate in someone else's civil war&mdash;President Vladimir Putin has thrown the rebels under the bus.</strong> In June, rebel leader Igor Strelkov said that "Putin betrayed us," and that betrayal has only deepened as Kiev launched its all-out offensive last week. Moscow, having started all this, has offered no help to the rebels.</p> <p>The betrayal, it seems, may be even nastier than that. According to a Ukrainian security council spokesman, the Russians have sealed their border, shutting down three key crossings. Not only are they not letting men and materiel into Ukraine from Russia, but they're also blocking men and materiel from flowing in the opposite direction. <strong>That is, the very men that Moscow has riled up to the extent that they have taken up arms and are ready to die in order to get the region out of Ukraine and into Russia are not welcome to seek refuge in Russia.</strong> (Not even, it seems, the ones originally from Russia.) A group of 300 fleeing rebels reportedly even came under fire by the Russians as they tried to escape into Russia.</p> </blockquote> <p>That Putin. He's quite the guy, isn't he? It appears that he eventually figured out that Ukraine wasn't going to fall neatly into his lap, and the cost of fomenting an all-out war there was simply too great. It turned out that Ukrainians themselves didn't support secession; Western powers were clearly willing to ramp up sanctions if things got too nasty; and the payoff for victory was too small even if he had succeeded. So now he's had to swallow a new, more pro-Western Ukraine&mdash;the very thing that started this whole affair&mdash;along with the prospect of renewed anti-Russian enmity from practically every country on his border.</p> <p>But he got Crimea out of the deal. Maybe that made it worth it.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum International Wed, 09 Jul 2014 14:31:52 +0000 Kevin Drum 255731 at Check Out These New Emojis for Foodies <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>On a frigid Sunday morning in Manhattan this past March, several dozen people, many of them design students, gathered at the School of Visual Art's building in Chelsea. Their task: to perform a bit of pro-bono marketing for non-corporate food producers&mdash;the kind of small and mid-sized farms that grow produce without poisonous chemicals and tend their animals on pasture, not in fetid, polluting feedlots.</p> <p>The meeting, organized by an innovative Los Angeles-based design firm called the <a href="" target="_blank">Noun Project</a> (whose founders my colleague Tasneem Raja interviewed <a href="">here</a>) and an accomplished New York-based sustainable-food advocacy group called the <a href="" target="_blank">Grace Communications Foundation</a> (the force behind the <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Meatrix</em> video</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Sustainable Table</a>), was modeled on the techie concept of a "hackathon"&mdash;a bunch of people getting together to solve some problem. But whereas hackathons typically result in computer code, this "iconathon" would produce images, known as icons, that can wordlessly express concepts like "grass fed" and "heritage breed," free for anyone's use under a creative-commons license.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/tom-philpott/2014/07/sustainable-food-iconathon"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Tom Philpott Food and Ag Wed, 09 Jul 2014 10:00:08 +0000 Tom Philpott 255596 at Thailand's New Military Government Is Secretly Vacuuming Up Facebook Data <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Despite all the ways Facebook has flouted privacy standards&mdash;like how <a href="" target="_blank">it recently experimented</a> with 700,000 users' emotions by manipulating the positive and negative content of their newsfeeds&mdash;the company hasn't yet provided personal data to oppressive governments. But that didn't deter the Thai junta. When Facebook <a href="" target="_blank">refused to help</a> Thailand's newly installed military government access users' personal information, the junta created a misleading Facebook application to capture its citizens' names and email addresses.&nbsp;</p> <p>As you might remember, back in May, after months of anti-government protests, Thailand's military staged <a href="" target="_blank">a coup</a>.<strong> </strong>Once in power, the military suspended the constitution, installed a 10 p.m. curfew, banned gatherings of more than five people, and attempted to suppress dissidents&mdash;including any of the <a href="" target="_blank">estimated 28 million Thai users</a> on Facebook, a third of the country's population. On May 29, the new government tried to have a meeting with social-media companies, including Facebook, to discuss censoring Thailand's anti-coup dissent, but <a href="" target="_blank">none of them showed up</a>.</p> <p>But the Thai junta didn't take this as a sign to give up on tapping into the power of social media. Instead, as the <a href="" target="_blank">Electronic Frontier Foundation</a> reports, the junta placed a Facebook login button to track users on more than 200 of the government's restricted websites, like <a href="" target="_blank">the webpage of Human Rights Watch</a>.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/mixed-media/2014/07/facebook-thailand-military-false-login"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Mixed Media Civil Liberties International Tech Top Stories Wed, 09 Jul 2014 10:00:07 +0000 Lei Wang 255556 at Fast Tracks: Beverly's "All the Things" <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><strong>TRACK 4</strong></p> <p>"All the Things"</p> <p>From Beverly's <em>Careers</em></p> <p>KANINE</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/careers-300x300.gif"></div> <p><strong>Liner notes:</strong> Urgent yet dreamy, this breathtaking dose of psychedelia mixes ethereal female harmonies, a soaring melody, and surging beats to dazzling effect.</p> <p><strong>Behind the music:</strong> The Brooklyn duo features singer Drew Citron and noise-pop vet Frankie Rose. <em>Careers</em> falls between the lo-fi buzz of Frankie Rose and the Outs and the cooler electronica of Rose's recent solo work.</p> <p><strong>Check it out if you like:</strong> Vivian Girls, early Dum Dum Girls, or Quilt.</p> <p><em>This review originally appeared in the </em><a href="http://&lt;div%20class=%22inline%20inline-right%22%20style=%22display:%20table;%20width:%201%%22&gt;&lt;img%20alt=%22%22%20class=%22image%22%20src=%22/files/careers-300x300.gif%22%20/&gt;&lt;/div&gt;" target="_blank">July/August 2014</a> Issue <em>of</em> Mother Jones.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Media Music Wed, 09 Jul 2014 10:00:06 +0000 Jon Young 252786 at Yet Another Day in Republican Scumbaggery <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_crocodile_tears.jpg" style="margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Today President Obama asked Congress to approve $3.7 billion in emergency funding to help deal with the surge of minors crossing the border. You may color me unsurprised over the <a href="" target="_blank">Republican response:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The proposal was quickly met with broad skepticism among Republican lawmakers, <strong>who were doubtful that the package would be approved quickly &mdash; if at all</strong>....GOP leaders, who have called on Obama to take stronger action, said they were reluctant to give the administration a &ldquo;blank check&rdquo; without &shy;more-detailed plans to ensure that the money would help stem the crisis at the border.</p> <p>The president &ldquo;is asking to use billions of taxpayer dollars without accountability or a plan in place to actually stop the border crisis,&rdquo; Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement.</p> <p>Asked if he thought lawmakers would approve the proposal, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said, <strong>&ldquo;No, given the mood here in Washington, I don&rsquo;t have confidence it will happen.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Well, of course it won't happen. The crisis along the border is tailor made for Republicans. It makes their base hopping mad, it juices their campaign fundraising, and anytime the government is unable to address a problem it makes Obama look bad. Why on earth would Republicans want to do anything to change any of this?</p> <p>As long as Obama is president, chaos is good for Republicans. After all, most voters don't really know who's at fault when things go wrong, they just know there's a crisis and Obama doesn't seem to be doing anything about it. Exploiting that may be cynical and revolting, but hey, politics ain't beanbag. And in case you haven't heard, there's an election coming up.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Congress Immigration The Right Wed, 09 Jul 2014 05:00:23 +0000 Kevin Drum 255726 at Quick Reads: "The Skeleton Crew" by By Deborah Halber <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="The Skeleton Crew" class="image" src="/files/cover-skeleton-crew-250_0.jpg"></div> <p><strong>The Skeleton Crew</strong></p> <p>By Deborah Halber</p> <p>SIMON &amp; SCHUSTER</p> <p>Tent Girl. The Lady of the Dunes. The Head in the Bucket. These are just a few of the nicknames given to America's 40,000 unidentified corpses by amateur web sleuths. For decades, members of this thriving, heroic, and macabre internet subculture have been cracking cold cases that have long stumped law enforcement. But what motivates them to spend countless hours poring over police reports and autopsy photos? Deborah Halber replaces the classic whodunit with what you might call a <em>whosolvesit</em>. She discovers that many web sleuths throw themselves into their dark hobby to escape their own damaged lives. Some find their share of fame and fortune; others, only more demons.</p> <p><em>This review originally appeared in our <a href="" target="_blank">July/August issue</a> of</em> Mother Jones.&nbsp;</p></body></html> Mixed Media Books Crime and Justice Tue, 08 Jul 2014 21:41:52 +0000 Josh Harkinson 253016 at Emma Watson Crashes United Nations Website With Her Goodwill Ambassador Announcement <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Emma Watson&mdash;the <a href="" target="_blank">humanitarian</a> and staunch <a href="" target="_blank">feminist</a> who you may recognize from such films as <a href="" target="_blank"><em>The Bling Ring</em></a>, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Noah</em></a>, and the <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Harry Potter </em></a>movies&mdash;is now <a href="" target="_blank">working</a> with the United Nations on gender equality and female empowerment.</p> <p>On Monday, UN Women and Watson <a href="" target="_blank">announced</a> that she had been appointed as a celebrity <a href="" target="_blank">Goodwill Ambassador</a>. The 24-year-old British actress will work on the "empowerment of young women and will serve as an advocate for UN Women's <a href="" target="_blank">HeForShe</a> campaign," according to the UN Women's press release. (The HeForShe campaign enlists men and boys to stand up for gender equality.) In 2012, Watson became an <a href="" target="_blank">ambassador</a> for the Campaign for Female Education.</p> <p>The announcement drew enough web traffic to <a href="" target="_blank">crash</a> the UN Women website. "We apologize &amp; hope to be back up soon," the UN entity <a href="" target="_blank">tweeted</a>. The site experienced problems for roughly 12 hours following the announcement. "This is the power of [Watson]; she has such global appeal," UN Women's <a href="" target="_blank">Elizabeth Nyamayaro</a> told <em>Mother Jones</em>.</p> <p>"Ms. Emma Watson is someone who is not only smart, but someone who is very passionate about girls' issues," Nyamayaro said, explaining why the UN reached out to the actress in the first place. According to&nbsp;Nyamayaro, Watson is particularly excited about working with HeForShe, and will also support the work of young women across UN Women's strategic pillars, <a href="" target="_blank">including</a> economic empowerment, ending violence against women, political participation, and peace and security.</p> <p>Here is Watson's full <a href="" target="_blank">statement</a> on her new gig:</p> <blockquote> <p>Being asked to serve as UN Women's Goodwill Ambassador is truly humbling. The chance to make a real difference is not an opportunity that everyone is given and is one I have no intention of taking lightly. Women's rights are something so inextricably linked with who I am, so deeply personal and rooted in my life that I can't imagine an opportunity more exciting. I still have so much to learn, but as I progress I hope to bring more of my individual knowledge, experience, and awareness to this role.</p> </blockquote> <p>(Watson expressed her excitement on Twitter with a <a href="" target="_blank">blushing emoticon</a>.)</p> <p>Other celebrity Goodwill Ambassadors for the UN include <a href="" target="_blank">Liam Neeson</a>, "<a href="" target="_blank">Twitter Nazi hunter</a>" Mia Farrow, and <a href="" target="_blank">Orlando Bloom</a>.</p> <p>Below is video of Watson visiting slum homes and a <a href="" target="_blank">fair trade</a> group in <a href="" target="_blank">Bangladesh</a>: "I still find it hard to convey what fair trade means to those producing our fashion&mdash;it's just so impressive to see how the women have used fair trade clothing to escape poverty and empower themselves and their children," Watson <a href="" target="_blank">said</a>. "I was moved and inspired."</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><em>This post has been updated.</em></p></body></html> Mixed Media Film and TV Human Rights International Sex and Gender Tue, 08 Jul 2014 19:16:58 +0000 Asawin Suebsaeng 255646 at Here's How Obama Wants to Spend $3.7 Billion on the Child Migrant Crisis <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>On Tuesday, <a href="" target="_blank">President Obama asked Congress for $3.7 billion</a> in emergency supplemental appropriations to address the <a href="" target="_blank">rapidly growing number of unaccompanied Central American children</a> attempting to enter the United States. The Border Patrol apprehended 38,833 unaccompanied kids in fiscal year 2013, and it already has caught <a href="" target="_blank">more than 52,000</a> in fiscal 2014.</p> <p></p><div id="mininav" class="inline-subnav"> <!-- header content --> <div id="mininav-header-content"> <div id="mininav-header-image"> <img src="/files/images/motherjones_mininav/migrants_225.jpg" width="220" border="0"></div> <div id="mininav-header-text"> <p class="mininav-header-text" style="margin: 0; padding: 0.75em; font-size: 11px; font-weight: bold; line-height: 1.2em; background-color: rgb(221, 221, 221);"> More <em>MoJo</em> coverage of the surge of unaccompanied child migrants from Central America. </p> </div> </div> <!-- linked stories --> <div id="mininav-linked-stories"> <ul><span id="linked-story-252671"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/06/child-migrants-surge-unaccompanied-central-america"> 70,000 Kids Will Show Up Alone at Our Border This Year. What Happens to Them?</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-252866"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/06/unaccompanied-kids-immigrants-deported-guatemala"> What's Next for the Children We Deport? </a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-253266"> <li><a href="/mojo/2014/06/surge-unaccompanied-child-migrant-shelters"> This Is Where the Government Houses the Tens of Thousands of Kids Who Get Caught Crossing the Border</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-255056"> <li><a href="/mojo/2014/06/map-unaccompanied-child-migrants-central-america-honduras"> Map: These Are the Places Central American Child Migrants Are Fleeing </a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-255201"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/06/unaccompanied-child-migrants-border-patrol-screening"> 4 Reasons Why Border Agents Shouldn't Get to Decide Whether Child Migrants Can Stay in the US</a></li> </span> </ul></div> <!-- footer content --> </div> <p>The requested appropriations include:</p> <ul><li><strong>$1.8 billion to the HHS's Administration for Children and Families:</strong> to provide more stable, cost-effective arrangements and medical care for unaccompanied children.</li> <li><strong>$1.1 billion to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): </strong>for the detention, prosecution, and removal of undocumented families, as well as transportation costs for unaccompanied children.</li> <li><strong>$432 million to Customs and Border Protection: </strong>for operational costs, an expanded Border Enforcement Security Task Force, and increased air surveillance in Texas' Rio Grande Valley.</li> <li><strong>$295 million to the State Department's (and other international programs') Economic Support Fund: </strong>for the repatriation and reintegration of deported migrants, and to address the root causes of migration in Central America.</li> <li><strong>$62 million to the Department of Justice:</strong> for additional immigration judges and legal representation for the children.</li> </ul><p>Notably, Obama's <a href="" target="_blank">letter</a> to House Speaker John Boehner did not include a request to alter the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2008. That law requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to turn over unaccompanied children from countries other than Canada and Mexico to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which temporarily houses them in shelters while it locates US-based family members or sponsors. (The kids are in removal proceedings throughout.)</p> <p>Here's the full letter:</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-1213236-emergency-supplemental-request-to-congress">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//"></script><script> DV.load("//", { width: 630, height: 450, sidebar: false, text: false, container: "#DV-viewer-1213236-emergency-supplemental-request-to-congress" }); </script><noscript> <a href="">Emergency Supplemental Request to Congress (PDF)</a> <br><a href="">Emergency Supplemental Request to Congress (Text)</a> </noscript></body></html> MoJo Immigration International Top Stories child migrants Tue, 08 Jul 2014 19:01:51 +0000 Katie Rose Quandt 255671 at Finally, Someone With the Guts to Call for Obama's Impeachment <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>I see that Sarah Palin is apparently starved for attention again. <a href="" target="_blank">Here's her latest:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>President Obama&rsquo;s rewarding of lawlessness, including his own, is the foundational problem here. It&rsquo;s not going to get better, and in fact irreparable harm can be done in this lame-duck term as he continues to make up his own laws as he goes along, and, mark my words, will next meddle in the U.S. Court System with appointments that will forever change the basic interpretation of our Constitution&rsquo;s role in protecting our rights.</p> <p><strong>It&rsquo;s time to impeach;</strong> and on behalf of American workers and legal immigrants of all backgrounds, we should vehemently oppose any politician on the left or right who would hesitate in voting for articles of impeachment.</p> <p>The many impeachable offenses of Barack Obama can no longer be ignored. If after all this he&rsquo;s not impeachable, then no one is.</p> </blockquote> <p>Quite right. Minors are swarming our borders because American exceptionalism is at risk thanks to Obama's failure to help the Ukrainians which means our enemies no longer fear us and the dollar is being debased. Or was it because he failed to arm the Syrian rebels? I forget. Something to do with Putin, though. And the Fed. Plus, um, recess appointments and one-year extensions to TyrannyCare mandates. And Benghazi.</p> <p>Whatever. Impeach Obama! I sure hope every Republican in the country is asked to weigh in on this.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Obama The Right Tue, 08 Jul 2014 18:34:58 +0000 Kevin Drum 255686 at Will the Washington Post Destroy "Incidental" NSA Intercepts When It's Done With Them? <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>A couple of days ago the <em>Washington Post</em> published an article based on a cache of thousands of surveillance intercepts that it got from Edward Snowden. That produced the suggestion&mdash;not widespread, I think, but still out there&mdash;that the <em>Post</em> was now <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_nsa_logo.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">violating privacy just like the NSA has been. Glenn Greenwald thought this was pretty dumb, <a href="" target="_blank">but Julian Sanchez wasn't so sure:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Doesn't seem TOTALLY frivolous. I hope you &amp; WaPo are destroying copies of intimate communications once reporting's done.</p> </blockquote> <p>This is actually....a good point. The charge against the NSA isn't just that it ends up surveilling thousands of innocent people who are merely innocent bystanders in court-approved investigations. Even critics concede that this is inevitable to some extent. The problem is that once the NSA has collected all these "incidental" intercepts, they keep them forever in their databases and make them available to other law enforcement agencies for whatever use they want to make of them. At the very least, privacy advocates would like these incidental collections to be destroyed after they've served their immediate purpose.</p> <p>So will the <em>Post</em> do this? Once they've finished their immediate reporting on this, will they destroy these intercepts? Or will they keep them around for the same reason the NSA does: because, hey, they have them, and you never know if they might come in handy some day?</p> <p>There's always been a tension inherent in Edward Snowden's exposure of the NSA's surveillance programs: Who gets to decide? You may think, as I do, that the government has repeatedly shown itself to be an unreliable judge of how much the public should know about its mass surveillance programs. But who should it be instead? Snowden? Glenn Greenwald? The <em>Washington Post</em>? Who elected them to make these decisions? Why should we trust their judgment?</p> <p>It's not a question with a satisfying answer. Sometimes you just have to muddle along and, in this case, hope that the whistleblowers end up producing a net benefit to the public discourse. But this time we don't have to muddle. This is a very specific question, and we should all be interested in the answer. Do Greenwald and the <em>Post</em> plan to destroy these private communications once they're done with them? Or will they hold on to them forever, just like the NSA?</p> <p><strong>POSTSCRIPT:</strong> Yes, there's a difference here. On the one hand, we have the government, with its vast law-enforcement powers, holding onto massive and growing amounts of incidental surveillance. On the other we have a private actor with a small sample of this surveillance. We should legitimately be more concerned with possible abuses of power by the government, both generally, and in this case, very specifically. But that's a starting point, not the end of the conversation. Sanchez is still asking a good question.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 08 Jul 2014 16:27:24 +0000 Kevin Drum 255661 at Quote of the Day: Bizarro John Boehner Joins Twitter <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Steve Benen points me to the latest foray into social networking from <a href="" target="_blank">Speaker John Boehner:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Democrats like to say they want to fix #ObamaCare, but where&rsquo;s their plan? They don&rsquo;t have one.</p> </blockquote> <p>It's not worth belaboring the fact that this is epically dumb. What I'm curious about is what Boehner thinks this will accomplish. Who is it supposed to appeal to? To the tea party true believers, it's too weak to be effective. They want red meat. To liberals it's just laughable. To folks in the middle it's incomprehensible. To the media&mdash;which knows perfectly well that Dems have plenty of ideas and Republicans are hopelessly fractured over health care&mdash;it's idiotic.</p> <p>So who's the audience for this?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Congress Health Care Tue, 08 Jul 2014 15:42:57 +0000 Kevin Drum 255651 at Defining Stalinoid Down <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Last night I was paging through the <em>New Republic</em> and, for some reason, ended up torturing myself by reading Leon Wieselter's latest exercise in pretension and self-regard. It was fairly ordinary, as these things go, but included <a href="" target="_blank">this aside about supporters of the Iraq War:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>(The other day Rachel Maddow, who has never been significantly wrong about anything, published this Stalinoid sentence in <em>The Washington Post</em>: &ldquo;Whether they are humbled by their own mistakes or not, it is our civic responsibility to ensure that a history of misstatements and misjudgments has consequences for a person&rsquo;s credibility in our national discourse.&rdquo;)</p> </blockquote> <p>Stalinoid? Seriously? For a very mild suggestion that people with a history of being wrong should be thought less credible in the future? That sounds more like a bare minimum of common sense than a cultural pogrom aimed at neocons and liberal hawks.</p> <p>I've suggested in the past that we should all calm down a bit over analogies to Hitler and Nazis in popular discourse, so I'm hardly one to complain about using Stalin in the same way. But this is still a pretty reprehensible slur. Wieselter needs to find a better outlet for his frustration over being wrong about the Iraq War.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Media Tue, 08 Jul 2014 15:05:45 +0000 Kevin Drum 255641 at New Conservative Meme: Migrant Children Aren't Children <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Conservatives have found a new line of attack on the <a href="" target="_blank">ongoing refugee crisis</a> along the southern border: The children who are migrating en masse from Central America and crowding into detention centers are not children.</p> <p>"I realize that in Barack Obama's America we now classify anyone under the age of 26 as a child eligible for their parent's healthcare insurance," <a href="" target="_blank">writes</a> <em>Red State</em>'s Erick Erickson. "But I'm pretty sure a normal person would not classify these men as children." He links to this tweet:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Yep, those sure all look like children. <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Cody Full (@CodyFNfootball) <a href="">July 8, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Erickson's analysis is correct&mdash;the people in this photo are not children. The way immigration detention works is that children are separated from adults and then sorted by age and gender. This is noted in nearly <a href="" target="_blank">every</a> <a href="" target="_blank">single</a> <a href="" target="_blank">story</a> <a href="" target="_blank">on</a> <a href="" target="_blank">the</a> <a href="" target="_blank">subject</a>. Just because more than 48,000 minors have been detained crossing the border in 2014 doesn't mean adults have simply stopped coming over.</p> <p>Lest you think that the administration is inventing this influx of young migrants, here is a photo of migrant children crowded into a single room. I found it on <em>Breitbart</em>:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20Shot%202014-07-08%20at%207.05.31%20AM.png"><div class="caption"><a href="" target="_blank">Big Government</a></div> <div class="caption">&nbsp;</div> </div> <p>You could also read my colleague Ian Gordon's <a href="" target="_blank">wrenching story</a> for the magazine on 17-year-old&nbsp;Adri&aacute;n's flight from Guatemala City to the United States.</p></body></html> MoJo Human Rights Immigration child migrants Tue, 08 Jul 2014 15:04:05 +0000 Tim Murphy 255631 at We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for July 8. 2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p class="rtecenter"><em>Children from the Charmazi Orphanage in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania bond with US Marine Corps Officers through a community relations project. (Photo Courtesy of the US Marines.)</em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Tue, 08 Jul 2014 13:51:09 +0000 255626 at This Is the Best Correction You'll Read All Week <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>On June 1, the <em>Sun</em> called Marcus Stead "<a href="" target="_blank">Britain's biggest whinger."</a> Mr. Stead took issue with the article's accuracy. The resulting correction is an instant classic.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"> <p>Hilarious. Britain's biggest whinger wins Sun apology after whinging about the number of times he has whinged. <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Nick Owens (@NicholasOwens) <a href="">July 7, 2014</a></blockquote> <p>It reads:</p> <blockquote> <p>In a story 'Britain's biggest whinger' {1 June] we stated that Marcus Stead, who appeard in the Channel 4 documentary The Complainers, 'moans to the council every day for a year.' Mr Stead says that, in fact, the number of complaints is closer to one or two per week. We are happy to put his position on record.</p> </blockquote> <p><em>(via <a href="" target="_blank">Neal Mann</a></em>)</p></body></html> Mixed Media Tue, 08 Jul 2014 12:16:48 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 255621 at The Great Barrier Reef Will Be Ravaged By El NiƱo <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><em>This <a href="" target="_blank">story</a> originally appeared in the </em><a href="" target="_blank">Guardian</a> <em>and is republished here <em>as part of the <a href="" target="_blank">Climate Desk</a> collaboration</em></em>.</p> <p>The Great Barrier Reef is set to be ravaged by the expected El Ni&ntilde;o weather phenomenon and scientists warn that similar warming events have significantly impacted upon the reef&rsquo;s coral.</p> <p><a href="">Research</a> by the University of Queensland studied large <em>Porites</em> coral colonies, a type of coral considered more resistant than others to changes in the environment.</p> <p>By analysing and dating coral samples, researchers found there was a significant correlation between mass coral mortality events and spikes in sea surface temperature over the past 150 years.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/blue-marble/2014/07/great-barrier-reef-will-be-ravaged-el-nino"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Blue Marble Climate Desk Tue, 08 Jul 2014 10:00:11 +0000 Oliver Milman 255601 at