Blogs | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en Here Is a Study About Sad Little Men Having Affairs for Sad, Boring Reasons <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Society tells us that men are supposed to go out into the world and earn the wages while women are supposed to stay at home and raise kids. Society, as many great thinkers have said, is stupid. It's all very 1950s and <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Revolutionary Road</em></a> and most people not from the fever swamp would acknowledge that these gender roles are detrimental to the world and terrible and dumb. Still, the pernicious effects remain in our psyche! Now, you can either believe that even the most enlightened people are still sick on some deep down interior level, or you can be the sort of person who doesn't believe things, but either way it's true.</p> <p>How true is it? <a href="" target="_blank">This true</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>This new study, <a href="" target="_blank">showcased in the June issue of the American Sociological Review</a>, found that men who are 100% economically dependent on their spouses were most at risk for cheating, three times more at risk than women married to male breadwinners.</p> <p>While, on average, women who are completely financially dependent on their husbands face about a 5% chance that they will stray, there is about a 15% chance that a man married to a female breadwinner will cheat, the study concluded.</p> <p>"I think it has to do with our cultural notions of what it means to be a man and what ... the social expectations are for masculinity," the study author, Christin Munsch, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut, told CNN.</p> <p>Being economically dependent on their wives may threaten their manhood, Munsch said, and having an affair is a way to re-establish their masculinity, even if it's all done subconsciously.</p> </blockquote> <p>God is a lazy screenwriter.</p> <p><strong>UPDATE:&nbsp;</strong></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-cards="hidden" data-conversation="none" data-partner="tweetdeck"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="">@bendreyfuss</a> Are the men who depend entirely on their woman financially the ones you're calling "the most enlightened people"?</p> &mdash; Mark (@markadams44) <a href="">June 1, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>No.</p></body></html> Contributor Ben's Thoughts Mon, 01 Jun 2015 22:52:01 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 276371 at San Francisco Moves to Require Health Warnings on Soda Ads <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Sugar has <a href="" target="_blank">invaded</a> just about every part of our diet (Americans consume an estimated five times the amount of added sugar <a href="" target="_blank">recommended</a> by the World Health Organization), and it's making us sick. Too much added sugar can <a href="" target="_blank">lead to heart disease</a> and myriad other health issues, and research <a href="" target="_blank">suggests</a> sugar in liquid form is worst of all for you.</p> <p>That's why today San Francisco lawmakers <a href="" target="_blank">discussed</a> requiring soda advertisements to include a health warning. It would read, "WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. This is a message from the City and County of San Francisco."</p> <p>Other proposed ordinances <a href=";ID=400743&amp;GUID=E1C49D3B-459B-4448-8862-3F895C431852" target="_blank">would prohibit</a> the advertising of sugar-sweetened drinks on city property and ban their purchase with city funds or grants. These measures would be the first of their kind taken by an American city.</p> <p>As expected, the sugar industry is not happy about them. Last year, it spent more than $10 million campaigning against a San Francisco <a href=",_Proposition_E_%28November_2014%29" target="_blank">ballot measure</a> to tax sugary beverages, and, <a href="" target="_blank">according to the <em>San Jose Mercury News</em></a>, industry groups are prepared to fight these ordinances, as well.</p> <p>CalBev, the trade group representing California's nonalcoholic beverage industry, <a href="" target="_blank">called</a> the proposals "anti-consumer choice" and said the warnings would not improve health and instead mislead and confuse consumers.</p> <p>San Francisco supervisor Malia Cohen, who introduced the soda ordinances along with fellow supervisors Scott Wiener and Eric Mar, has a different perspective. "Soda companies are spending billions of dollars every year to target low-income and minority communities, which also happen to be some of the communities with the highest risks of Type II diabetes," she said in a statement. "This ban on soda advertising will help bridge this existing health inequity."</p> <p>Wiener added, "These health warning labels will give people the information they need to make informed choices about how these sodas are impacting their lives and the lives of people in their community."</p> <p>A hearing was held for the ordinances earlier today. Next, they will be brought to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for a vote.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Food and Ag Health Mon, 01 Jun 2015 22:36:31 +0000 Luke Whelan 276351 at Tracy Morgan Gives Emotional First Interview Since Fatal Car Crash <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>On Monday, Tracy Morgan sat down with Matt Lauer for his <a href="" target="_blank">first interview</a> since the devastating six-car <a href=";rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=6&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CDcQFjAF&amp;;ei=N7NsVdTbHqawsATL8oDgDQ&amp;usg=AFQjCNEdOnM8ulPUx7aLMfCkUYf7DKFtkg&amp;sig2=6TVa-PPDcfEDYieLj5aVkQ" target="_blank">accident</a> that left him in critical condition and killed one of his friends,&nbsp;James McNair, nearly one year ago.</p> <p>"I can't believe I'm here," Morgan said "Just seeing the tragedy that happened&mdash;it just touches me."</p> <p>When speaking about the loss of McNair, Morgan started to cry. "He was a loving man and he was a warm man. He was a good man. It&rsquo;s just hard for me to see that he's gone. That's it."&nbsp;</p> <div style="position:relative; padding-bottom:63%; padding-bottom:-webkit-calc(56.25% + 50px); padding-bottom:calc(56.25% + 50px); height: 0;"><iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" src="" style="position:absolute; width: 100%; height: 100%;"></iframe></div> <p>The accident involved a truck driven by a Walmart employee and set off a long legal battle that was <a href="" target="_blank">settled</a> just last month.</p> <p>"Bones heal, but the loss of my friend will never heal," Morgan said. "I'm happy that Walmart stepped up to the plate. They took full responsibility."</p></body></html> Mixed Media Media Mon, 01 Jun 2015 19:33:10 +0000 Inae Oh 276346 at Here Is Caitlyn Jenner's Stunning Vanity Fair Cover <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Caitlyn Jenner, the woman formerly known as Bruce Jenner of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" fame, made her public debut on the cover of <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Vanity Fair</em></a> on Monday. The beautiful portrait was shot by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz:</p> <center> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Caitlyn Jenner poses for Annie Leibovitz on the cover of Vanity Fair <a href="">#CallMeCaitlyn</a> <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) <a href="">June 1, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> </center> <p>During a sit-down interview with <a href="" target="_blank">Diane Sawyer</a> back in April, the former Olympian opened up about her transition into becoming a woman. "My whole life has been getting me ready for this," Jenner said.&nbsp;</p> <p>"Caitlyn doesn't have any secrets. As soon as the <em>Vanity Fair</em> cover comes out, I'm free," she said in an exclusive new video for the magazine.&nbsp;</p> <center> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> </center> <p>The cover hits newsstands on June 9.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> Mixed Media Gay Rights Media Mon, 01 Jun 2015 16:41:56 +0000 Inae Oh 276331 at SCOTUS Delivers Good News for Abusive Trolls <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Trolls and libertarians rejoice. In a highly watched case that explored the tough question of what distinguishes protected free speech from illegal threats, the Supreme Court on Monday made it harder for the government to prosecute individuals who are making threatening statements toward others.</p> <p>The court voided the conviction of Anthony Elonis, who was found guilty of issuing unlawful threats over Facebook with rants that referred to killing his estranged wife. Elonis argued that his posts, which were presented as rap lyrics, were a form of expression protected by the First Amendment. He was convicted in federal district court in Pennsylvania under the "reasonable person" standard: Would a reasonable person consider Elonis' posts threatening?</p> <p>In a <a href="" target="_blank">7-2 decision</a>, Chief Justice John Roberts ruled that the reasonable person test wasn't sufficient for a criminal conviction like this one. Avoiding touchy First Amendment questions, the court determined that Elonis' posts should have been evaluated under a tougher standard that takes his mental state into account. That is, did he intend to follow through on his threats or did he know that his words would be seen as a threat?</p> <p>"Elonis's conviction was premised solely on how his posts would be viewed by a reasonable person, a standard&hellip;inconsistent with the conventional criminal conduct requirement of 'awareness of some wrongdoing,'" Roberts wrote. He noted that a criminal conviction could only be supported "if the defendant transmits a communication for the purpose of issuing a threat or with knowledge that the communication will be viewed as a threat."</p> <p>The case presented a difficult First Amendment question pitting freedom of expression against the freedom to not be threatened with violence. But the justices ducked the matter. The ruling was predicated on a statutory interpretation.</p> <p>Elonis was sentenced to 44 months in prison for threatening to harm and even kill his estranged wife in Facebook posts&mdash;threats that left his wife <a href="" target="_blank">afraid for her safety</a>. Elonis fought the charges, arguing that he could not be imprisoned because he never intended to hurt his wife. A criminal conviction for someone who had no intent to harm, he contended, violated the Constitution's guarantee of freedom of speech. But the trial court disagreed and instructed the jury to use the reasonable-person standard.</p> <p>The federal government <a href="" target="_blank">argued</a> that the reasonable person test is the best way to determine whether a statement is a threat. Its lawyers maintained that even if there is no intent to harm, such threats can severely disrupt the lives of those people targeted.</p> <p>Civil liberties groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, <a href="" target="_blank">supported Elonis</a>, fearing an encroachment on free-speech rights. Advocates for victims of domestic violence, though, argued that victims of domestic abuse "suffer the devastating psychological and economic effects of threats of violence, which their abusers deliver more and more often via social media," according to <a href="" target="_blank">an amicus brief</a>. This brief, filed by the National Network to End Domestic Violence and a number of state-based anti-domestic-violence groups, argued that threats are often a precursor to actual violence.</p> <p>The Elonis case was argued before the court in early December and the justices took a full six months to decide the case. Roberts was joined by Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, and the court's liberal wing. Justice Samuel Alito joined in part and dissented in part. Justice Clarence Thomas dissented.</p></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties Crime and Justice Supreme Court Top Stories Mon, 01 Jun 2015 16:09:36 +0000 Pema Levy 276321 at Rand Paul Didn't Kill the Patriot Act <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>I was down with a stomach bug this weekend, so I didn't follow events in the Senate as closely as I usually would have. But Rand Paul sure seems to be getting a lot more credit than he deserves for how things went down. As near as I can tell:</p> <ul><li>Mitch McConnell just flat screwed up. He figured he could panic everyone into extending the Patriot Act by waiting until Sunday to reconvene the Senate, and he figured wrong.</li> <li>Rand Paul did indeed delay things by refusing unanimous consent to take up a compromise bill.</li> <li>But events went the way they did because a majority of the Senate opposed McConnell and wanted a compromise bill, not because of anything Rand Paul did.</li> <li>The upshot of Paul's actions is that the compromise bill has to wait until Tuesday for a vote, which means the Patriot Act will be expired for a couple of days. This is not really a big deal in anything other than symbolic terms. The compromise bill is going to be passed one way or another, and that would have been the case regardless of anything Paul did.</li> </ul><p>Am I missing something big here? I don't begrudge Paul getting some good press for what he did. Politics is theater, and Paul has worked hard to make this a front-page issue. Still, there just wasn't a majority in favor of extending the Patriot Act, and that's what made the difference.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 01 Jun 2015 15:22:41 +0000 Kevin Drum 276326 at Why Bernie Sanders Was Talking About "Fifty Shades of Grey" on "Meet the Press" <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>This wasn't the way Bernie Sanders expected to conclude the first week of his presidential campaign&mdash;comparing <a href="" target="_blank">a 1972 essay he wrote</a> for the <em>Vermont Free</em><em>man</em> to E.L. James' <em>Fifty Shades of Grey</em>. But the article, <a href="" target="_blank">first reported</a> in <em>Mother Jones</em>, quickly caught fire because of its description of a woman who "fantasizes being raped," and by the weekend, Sanders had taken steps to renounce it.</p> <p>Per <a href="" target="_blank">Bloomberg</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>"This is a piece of fiction that I wrote in 1972, I think," the Vermont Senator said, appearing on Meet the Press. "That was 43 years ago. It was very poorly written and if you read it, what it was dealing with was gender stereotypes, why some men like to oppress women, why other women like to be submissive, you know, something like&nbsp;<em>Fifty Shades of Grey</em>."</p> </blockquote> <p>But if the 1972 essay ruined his media tour, it didn't do anything to suppress the enthusiasm of the progressive activists Sanders aims to make his base. Sanders spent his first week of the campaign speaking to overflow crowds across the Midwest (3,000 people in Minneapolis) and New Hampshire. And, evidently, he's turned some heads. Here's the <a href="" target="_blank"><em>New York Times</em></a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>DES MOINES &mdash; A mere 240 people live in the rural northeast Iowa town of Kensett, so when more than 300 crowded into the community center on Saturday night to hear Senator <a class="meta-per" href="" title="More articles about Bernard Sanders.">Bernie Sanders</a> of Vermont, many driving 50 miles, the cellphones of Democratic leaders statewide began to buzz.</p> <p>Kurt Meyer, the county party chairman who organized the event, sent a text message to Troy Price, the Iowa political director for Hillary Rodham Clinton. Mr. Price called back immediately.</p> </blockquote> <blockquote> <p>"Objects in your rearview mirror are closer than they appear," Mr. Meyer said he had told Mr. Price about Mr. Sanders. "Mrs. Clinton had better get out here."</p> </blockquote> <p>Clinton's strategy, to this point, has been to act as if her other prospective Democratic primary opponents don't exist. Sanders might have just changed that calculus.</p></body></html> MoJo Elections bernie sanders Mon, 01 Jun 2015 15:02:21 +0000 Tim Murphy 276306 at Watch John Oliver Issue a Scathing Takedown of FIFA's "Swiss Demon" President <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>One very prominent name was missing among the several high-ranking FIFA officials <a href="" target="_blank">indicted</a> on corruption and bribery charges last week. That person, of course, was FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who as John Oliver described on the latest <a href="" target="_blank">"Last Week Tonight,"</a> has "left a trail of devastation" under his watch as the organization's president.</p> <p>"No decision Blatter has overseen is more questionable than the 2022 World Cup being awarded to Qatar, because not only will the conditions be terrible to play in, but the number of migrant workers that have died in Qatar since the cup was announced has been staggering," Oliver said.</p> <p>Despite the new charges and Blatter's scandal-ridden reputation, he was actually reelected as president for a fifth term on Friday.</p> <p>"To truly kill a snake, you must cut off its head, or in this case its asshole," Oliver explained. Without Blatter's indictment, the host says no truly significant reforms can be made for the world's favorite sport.</p> <p>Watch Oliver make a plea to both U.S. officials and FIFA's long list of powerful sponsors to remove Blatter as president, once and for all:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> Mixed Media Media Sports Mon, 01 Jun 2015 13:36:55 +0000 Inae Oh 276301 at Country-Folk Artist Eilen Jewell Sings About Love and Dusty Roads <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><strong>Eilen Jewell<br><em>Sundown Over Ghost Town</em><br> Signature Sounds</strong><br> &nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" height="217" src="/files/SIG2076%20SUNDOWN%20OVER%20GHOST%20TOWN%201500x1500.jpg" width="217"></div> <p>A cabaret artist masquerading as a country-folk performer, Idaho's Eilen Jewell sings with an unhurried elegance that evokes late-night intimacies and dusty roads with equal skill. (A Billie Holiday tribute album wouldn't be inappropriate.) Though her fifth album consists entirely of original songs, <em>Sundown Over Ghost Town</em> feels like a welcome return to a set of classics you've known forever, gently touching on desire, loneliness, and the longing for home. Paced by guitarist Jerry Miller and steel guitarist Jake Hoffman, Jewell's underrated band gracefully mixes breezy rockers and luminous ballads without straining for effect. Perfect for fans of Madeleine Peyroux.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Music Mon, 01 Jun 2015 10:00:13 +0000 Jon Young 276161 at This Tweet About the Patriot Act Is Perfect <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">12:00am - Patriot Act expires 12:01am - Sharia law replaces Constitution 12:02am - Starbucks closes, re-opens as chain of victory mosques</p> &mdash; Daniel Lin (@DLin71) <a href="">June 1, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></body></html> Contributor Mon, 01 Jun 2015 04:38:26 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 276296 at Kim Kardashian Is Pregnant and the Patriot Act Is Going to Expire <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>You're just enjoying your Sunday evening when <em>BAM:</em> EXTRA! EXTRA! <strong>PATRIOTISM DEAD</strong>.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">It's official: The Patriot Act's broadest surveillance powers will expire at midnight <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; The Verge (@verge) <a href="">June 1, 2015</a></blockquote> <p>Then, just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Congrats! <a href="">@KimKardashian</a> reveals she&rsquo;s pregnant with baby number two: <a href=""></a> <a href="">#KUWTK</a> <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Kardashians on E! (@KUWTK) <a href="">June 1, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Journalists live for days like this. I can't help but wonder how <em>The Newsroom</em> would have covered this monumental night.</p></body></html> Contributor Ben's Thoughts Mon, 01 Jun 2015 02:43:13 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 276291 at Beau Biden, the Vice President's Son, Has Died <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><a href="" target="_blank">RIP</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Joseph Robinette &ldquo;Beau&rdquo; Biden III, the son of Vice President Biden and former state attorney general of Delaware, died Saturday after battling brain cancer for several years.</p> </blockquote> <blockquote> <p>Biden, 46, the oldest son of the vice president and the rising star of a family dynasty, had been admitted recently to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington as he fought the cancer, a battle that his father largely kept private in the last weeks as his son clung to his life.</p> </blockquote> <p>So sad.</p> <p>Here's the Vice President's statement:</p> <blockquote> <p>It is with broken hearts that Hallie, Hunter, Ashley, Jill and I announce the passing of our husband, brother and son, Beau, after he battled brain cancer with the same integrity, courage and strength he demonstrated every day of his life.</p> <p>The entire Biden family is saddened beyond words. We know that Beau&rsquo;s spirit will live on in all of us&mdash;especially through his brave wife, Hallie, and two remarkable children, Natalie and Hunter.</p> <p>Beau's life was defined by service to others. As a young lawyer, he worked to establish the rule of law in war-torn Kosovo. A major in the Delaware National Guard, he was an Iraq War veteran and was awarded the Bronze Star. As Delaware&rsquo;s Attorney General, he fought for the powerless and made it his mission to protect children from abuse.</p> <p>More than his professional accomplishments, Beau measured himself as a husband, father, son and brother. His absolute honor made him a role model for our family. Beau embodied my father's saying that a parent knows success when his child turns out better than he did.</p> <p>In the words of the Biden family: Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known.</p> </blockquote> <p>And the statement from the President:</p> <blockquote> <p>Michelle and I are grieving tonight. Beau Biden was a friend of ours. His beloved family &ndash; Hallie, Natalie, and Hunter &ndash; are friends of ours. And Joe and Jill Biden are as good as friends get.</p> <p>Beau took after Joe. He studied the law, like his dad, even choosing the same law school. He chased a life of public service, like his dad, serving in Iraq and as Delaware&rsquo;s Attorney General. Like his dad, Beau was a good, big-hearted, devoutly Catholic and deeply faithful man, who made a difference in the lives of all he touched &ndash; and he lives on in their hearts.</p> <p>But for all that Beau Biden achieved in his life, nothing made him prouder; nothing made him happier; nothing claimed a fuller focus of his love and devotion than his family.</p> <p>Just like his dad.</p> <p>Joe is one of the strongest men we&rsquo;ve ever known. He&rsquo;s as strong as they come, and nothing matters to him more than family. It&rsquo;s one of the things we love about him. And it is a testament to Joe and Jill &ndash; to who they are &ndash; that Beau lived a life that was full; a life that mattered; a life that reflected their reverence for family.</p> <p>The Bidens have more family than they know. In the Delaware they love. In the Senate Joe reveres. Across this country that he has served for more than forty years. And they have a family right here in the White House, where hundreds of hearts ache tonight &ndash; for Hallie, Natalie, and Hunter; for Joe and for Jill; for Beau&rsquo;s brother, Hunter; his sister, Ashley, and for the entire Biden clan.</p> <p>&ldquo;I have believed the best of every man,&rdquo; wrote the poet William Butler Yeats, &ldquo;And find that to believe it is enough to make a bad man show him at his best or even a good man swing his lantern higher.&rdquo;</p> <p>Beau Biden believed the best of us all. For him, and for his family, we swing our lanterns higher.</p> <p>Michelle and I humbly pray for the good Lord to watch over Beau Biden, and to protect and comfort his family here on Earth.</p> </blockquote> <p>And this old tweet from Beau is heartbreaking:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Happy Birthday to the best coach I could have asked for. Love you Pop. <a href="">#TBT</a> <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Beau Biden (@BeauBiden) <a href="">November 20, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></body></html> MoJo Sun, 31 May 2015 02:15:08 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 276286 at Bonus Homecoming Cat Blogging - 30 May 2015 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Everyone is back home. It took Hilbert about a minute to settle in and recognize everything. Hopper took a little more convincing. She spent several hours sniffing everything in sight before she finally decided things were OK.</p> <p>In the top photo, Hilbert has taken possession of his favorite teal chair. It's as if he never left. Below, Hopper finally hopped into my lap after lunch and purred herself to sleep, which surely means she's now settled in too. If you look closely, you'll also see that my hair is starting to grow back. But you have to look pretty closely.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hilbert_2015_may_30.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 60px;"></p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hopper_2015_may_30.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 5px 0px 5px 60px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 30 May 2015 21:39:50 +0000 Kevin Drum 276281 at Martin O'Malley Is Running for President. Here's What You Need to Know <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The wait is over. Martin O'Malley is running for president. The former Maryland governor formally kicked off his quest for the Democratic presidential nomination on Saturday in Baltimore, the city he served as mayor for six years. O'Malley, who has been publicly weighing a bid for years, is aiming to present himself as a solidly progressive alternative to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. But it's going to be an uphill slog&mdash;in the most recent <a href="!selectedpoll=22128" target="_blank">Quinnipiac</a> poll, he received just 1 percent&mdash;56 points behind Clinton, and 14 points behind Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who was an independent until he entered the 2016 Democratic contest.</p> <p>Here are five things you should read about O'Malley right now:</p> <ul><li>He's the "best manager in government today," according to a 2013 profile by Haley Sweetland Edwards at the <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Washington Monthly</em></a>:</li> </ul><blockquote> <p>The truth is, what makes O'Malley stand out is not his experience, his gravitas, nor his familiarity to voters (Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden crush him in those regards). Nor is it exactly his policies or speeches (New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, both rumored presidential aspirants, have cultivated similar CVs). Nor is it that he plays in a band. Nor is it even the <em>Atlantic</em>'s breathless claim last year that he has "the best abs" in politics. (Beneath a photo of the fit governor participating in the Maryland Special Olympics' annual Polar Bear Plunge, the author gushed, "What are they putting in the water in Maryland?") Instead, what makes O'Malley unique as a politician is precisely the skill that was on display in that windowless conference room in downtown Annapolis: he is arguably the best manager working in government today.</p> <p>That may not seem like a very flashy title&mdash;at first blush, "Best Manager" sounds more like a booby prize than a claim a politician might ride to the White House. But in an era where the very idea of government is under assault, a politician&rsquo;s capacity to deliver on his or her promises, to actually make the bureaucracy work, is an underappreciated skill.</p> </blockquote> <ul><li>He pursued a tough-on-crime policing strategy as mayor of Baltimore, according to a recent <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Washington Post</em></a> article:</li> </ul><blockquote> <p>It was as a crime-busting mayor some 15 years ago that O'Malley first gained national attention. Although he is positioning himself as a progressive alternative to Hillary Clinton, O'Malley also touts a police crackdown during his time as mayor that led to a stark reduction in drug violence and homicides as one of his major achievements.</p> <p>Yet some civic leaders and community activists in Baltimore portray O'Malley&rsquo;s policing policies in troubling terms. The say the "zero-tolerance" approach mistreated young black men even as it helped dramatically reduce crime, fueling a deep mistrust of law enforcement that flared anew last week when [Freddie] Gray died after suffering a spinal injury while in police custody.</p> </blockquote> <ul><li>He's obsessed with the War of 1812 and discussed said obsession in an interview with the <em>Daily Beast</em>'s Ben Jacobs <a href="" target="_blank">last September</a>, after dressing up in an 1812-vintage uniform and mounting a horse:</li> </ul><blockquote> <p>Win, lose, or draw, O'Malley said he is enthusiastic about the bicentennial and has read up on past commemorations to prepare. He recalled for <em>The Daily Beast</em> a 100-year-old <em>Baltimore Sun</em> editorial about the centennial in 1914 and searched excitedly through his iPad for it. PBS will broadcast the event nationwide on Saturday night, and it will feature what is planned to be the largest ever mass singing of the "Star-Spangled Banner" and an outdoor concert in Baltimore that will include a rock opera about the War of 1812, and O'Malley's own band, which he referred to simply as "a small little warm-up band of Irish extraction."</p> </blockquote> <ul><li>Though he was the model for the character of Baltimore Mayor Tommy Carcetti on the HBO series <em>The Wire,</em> he is not a huge fan of the show or its creator, David Simon, who <a href="" target="_blank">described</a> an awkward encounter with the governor last year on an Acela train:</li> </ul><blockquote> <p>This fellow was at the four-top table immediately behind me. I clocked him as we left New York, but as he is a busy man, and as most of our previous encounters have been a little edgy, I told myself to let well enough alone. I answered a few more emails, looked at some casting tapes on the laptop, checked the headlines. And still, with all of that done, we were only just south of Philadelphia.</p> <p>I texted my son: "On the southbound Acela. Marty O'Malley sitting just behind me," then joking, "Do I set it off?"</p> <p>A moment later, a 20-year-old diplomatic prodigy fired back a reply: "Buy him a beer."</p> <p>...I stood up, noticed that Mr. O'Malley was sipping a Corona, and I walked to the cafe car to get another just like it. I came back, put it on the table next to its mate, and said, simply, "You&rsquo;ve had a tough week." My reference, of course, was to the governor's dustup with the White House over the housing of juvenile immigrants in Maryland, which became something of a spitting contest by midweek.</p> <p>Mr. O'Malley smiled, said thanks, and I went back to my seat to inform my son that the whole of the State Department could do no better than he. Several minutes later, the governor of my state called me out and smacked the seat next to him.</p> <p>"Come on, Dave," he said, "we're getting to be old men at this point. Sit, talk."</p> </blockquote> <ul><li>Writing for the <em>Atlantic</em> in December, Molly Ball dubbed O'Malley, "the most ignored candidate of 2016."<em> </em>Another takeaway from the piece, which chronicled his trip to an Annapolis homeless-prevention center that provides job training, might be that <a href="" target="_blank">he tries too hard</a>:</li> </ul><blockquote> <p>"I love kale," O'Malley told the chef, Linda Vogler, a middle-aged woman with blond bangs peeking out from a paper toque [who was teaching a cooking class]. "Kale's the new superfood!"</p> <p>"We're learning quinoa next," Vogler said.</p> <p>"You're going to teach what? Keen-wa?," O'Malley asked, genuinely puzzled. "What's keen-wa?"</p> <p>"It looks like birdseed," she replied, hurrying on with the lesson. As the class counted off the seconds it took to boil a tomato, O'Malley changed their "One Mississippi" chant to "One Maryland! Two Maryland!"</p> </blockquote></body></html> MoJo Elections Top Stories Sat, 30 May 2015 14:56:16 +0000 Tim Murphy 276276 at Literally the Only Good FIFA News You’ll Hear This Week <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Electronic Arts, the gaming company that makes the popular FIFA video game franchise, is bringing women<strong> </strong>to the virtual pitch, adding 12 women's national teams to FIFA 16 this September. &nbsp;</p> <p>From <a href="" target="_blank">the </a><a href="" target="_blank"><em>Wall Street Journal</em></a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>EA announced Thursday that a dozen women's international soccer teams will be included in the coming FIFA 16 game scheduled for release in September. EA didn't say in its announcement why it took so long to mend the gender gap or whether the petition played a role. In an email, EA said it had been considering adding women for years and that it had made the necessary advancements to more accurately represent how the characters run and sprint, for example. The game's motion capturing tracked four members of the U.S. Women's National Team: Sydney Leroux, Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan, and Megan Rapinoe.</p> </blockquote> <p>EA's decision came three years after <a href="" target="_blank">an online petition called for inclusion</a>&mdash;and right before this year's Women's World Cup starts next week in Canada. (It also came a day before Sepp Blatter <a href="" target="_blank">won his fifth term</a> as FIFA president, with the governing body embroiled in the <a href="" target="_blank">ongoing corruption crisis</a>.)</p> <p>Last fall, a group of women's soccer stars, including US forward Abby Wambach, <a href="" target="_blank">filed a gender discrimination lawsuit claim</a> against FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association over the organization's decision to play this year's World Cup games on artificial turf, even though the men's games are played on grass. The group later <a href="" target="_blank">withdrew the suit</a>. And in an <a href="" target="_blank">interview with <em>Time</em></a>, star US forward Alex Morgan, who will be featured in the new game, said that Blatter didn't recognize her at the 2012 FIFA Player of the Year event&mdash;even though she'd just been named one of the three best women's players in the world.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Sex and Gender Sports Fri, 29 May 2015 20:18:48 +0000 Edwin Rios 276261 at Friday Cat Blogging - 29 May 2015 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>For the past two weeks, Hopper and Hilbert have apparently been fighting a rearguard battle over their latest acquisition: a cardboard box. Hilbert took possession first, but Hopper got into the act pretty quickly. Her expression is clearly a declaration that this is <em>her</em> box now, and other cats better stay away. I'm reliably informed that she backed this up with some fancy paw action and sent Hilbert scampering away.</p> <p>And with that, let's all give three cheers for my sister, who has taken such good care of Hilbert and Hopper that we're not sure they'll even recognize us when they come home. I should add that her six weeks of catsitting was an even bigger favor than you might think, given H&amp;H's penchant for destruction of anything left lying around accidentally. But tomorrow they come home. Marian has been catproofing our house for the past week, and on Saturday Karen will deliver the furballs back to us. I'm sure they'll show us very quickly if there are any catproofing spots we missed.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hilbert_2015_may_29.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 60px;"></p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hopper_2015_may_29.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 5px 0px 5px 60px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 29 May 2015 18:30:04 +0000 Kevin Drum 276256 at News Flash: Bill Clinton Has a Pretty High Speaking Fee <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><a href=";action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;module=second-column-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news" target="_blank">Over in the <em>New York Times</em> today,</a> Deborah Sontag has a 2,000-word piece about a charity called the Happy Hearts Fund. There seem to be two big takeaways: (a) celebrities use their fame to promote their charities, and (b) Bill Clinton usually won't appear at your event for free. His speaking fee is a donation to the Clinton Foundation. In this particular case, Happy Hearts donated $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation, and in return Clinton appeared at their event to receive a lifetime achievement award.</p> <p>I'm racking my brain here. I know I'm partisan about this and would just as soon not attribute dark motives to Clinton. But even putting that aside, what's the story here? Celebrities use their fame to promote their pet causes? Bill Clinton commands a high speaking fee? Is there something that's even unsavory about this, let alone scandalous? Is there something that's out of the ordinary or not already common knowledge? If the story featured, say, George W. Bush instead of Clinton, would I be more outraged? What am I missing?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 29 May 2015 17:36:21 +0000 Kevin Drum 276251 at A New Poll Has Good News for Pro-Choicers <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>After seven years on the outs, choice is back. For the first time since 2008, significantly more Americans identify as pro-choice (50 percent) than pro-life (44 percent), according to a <a href="" target="_blank">Gallup poll</a> released Friday.</p> <p>"This is the first time since 2008 that the pro-choice position has had a statistically significant lead in Americans' abortion views," the survey notes. In the intervening years, Americans were split fairly evenly on the issue of abortion&mdash;except in 2012, when pro-life sentiment outpaced pro-choice views 50 percent to 41 percent.</p> <p>The poll found that in the past three years, women have become more pro-choice (54 percent) than men (46 percent). Since 2012, Democrats, Republicans and independents have all become increasingly pro-choice. But Democrats show the biggest long-term jump in pro-choice views, from 55 percent in 2001 to 68 percent today. By contrast, 30 percent of Republicans were pro-choice in 2001 and 31 percent identify as pro-choice today&mdash;a statistically insignificant change.</p> <p>The years since the last pro-choice peak in 2008 have been rough for abortion rights advocates. Republican legislatures across the country have sought to roll back access to abortions&mdash;banning the procedure after 20 weeks (and even earlier in some cases), requiring additional doctor visits and ultrasounds, and placing onerous regulations on clinics that forced many to shut their doors. Gallup didn't touch on these issues, simply noting that "the momentum for the pro-life position that began when Barack Obama took office has yielded to a pro-choice rebound."</p> <p>Gallup raised the possibility that abortion views are riding on the coattails of a "broader liberal shift in Americans' ideology of late" that "could mean the recent pro-choice expansion has some staying power."</p></body></html> MoJo Reproductive Rights Fri, 29 May 2015 17:07:48 +0000 Pema Levy 276246 at If You Want to Be Part of the Top 1 Percent, You'd Better Be Working For a Top 1 Percent Firm <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>What has caused the explosive growth of income inequality over the past three decades? Is it the fact the CEO pay has skyrocketed, leaving everyone else behind? Maybe. <a href="" target="_blank">But according to a new paper,</a> that's not quite the right story.</p> <p>Basically a group of researchers at NBER have concluded that inequality <em>between firms</em> has skyrocketed, and employees of those firms all go along for the ride. A small number of "super firms" have become enormously successful, and within these super firms inequality between the CEO and the worker bees hasn't changed much at all. They pay <em>all</em> their employees more than the average firm, from the CEO down.</p> <p>The chart on the right tells the story. Ignore the green line for the moment and just look at the blue and red lines. The red line shows that the top tenth of firms have far outperformed everyone else. The blue line shows <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_firm_individual_income_inequality.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">that workers follow the same pattern. The ones who work for the top firms get paid a lot more than the folks who work for average firms.</p> <p>As it turns out, some industries have more super firms than others and thus contribute more to growing income inequality. The FIRE sector&mdash;Finance, Insurance, Real Estate&mdash;is the most obvious example. Both firm revenue and individual compensation has gone up far more than in any sector. But other sectors have their superstars too, and individuals at those firms get paid a lot more than a similar worker at a firm that's not doing so well.</p> <p>So in addition to talking about the top 1% of individuals, we should be talking about the top 1% of firms. But what does that mean? Things get a little hazy at this point:</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Instead of top incomes rising within firms, top-paying firms are now paying even higher wages.</strong> This may tend to make inequality more invisible, as individuals do not see rising inequality among their peers. More research needs to be done to understand why inequality between firms has increased so much more than inequality within them. <strong>But this fact of stable inequality within firms should inform our understanding of the great increase in inequality within the United States over the last three decades.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Matt O'Brien suggests</a> that this means nearly every industry is now part of the winner-take-all economy. In the same way that modern technology allows a tiny subset of superstar singers or actors to earn huge audiences (and huge paychecks), perhaps it also enables modern firms to do the same. And it could be self-reinforcing. The super firms can afford to hire the best workers, and that in turn drives even more unequal growth.</p> <p>In any case, if the authors are right, it matters a lot which firm you work for. If you pick the right one, you might ride the income inequality gravy train right to the top. In not, you probably won't.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 29 May 2015 15:53:59 +0000 Kevin Drum 276241 at US Officially Removes Cuba From List of State Sponsors of Terrorism <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>On Friday, the State Department <a href="" target="_blank">announced</a> the decision to drop Cuba from a list of states sponsoring terrorism. The official press release:</p> <blockquote> <p>In December 2014, the President instructed the Secretary of State to immediately launch a review of Cuba&rsquo;s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, and provide a report to him within six months regarding Cuba's support for international terrorism. On April 8, 2015, the Secretary of State completed that review and recommended to the President that Cuba no longer be designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.</p> <p>Accordingly, on April 14, the President submitted to Congress the statutorily required report indicating the Administration&rsquo;s intent to rescind Cuba&rsquo;s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation, including the certification that Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism during the previous six-months; and that Cuba has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future. The 45-day Congressional pre-notification period has expired, and the Secretary of State has made the final decision to rescind Cuba&rsquo;s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, effective today, May 29, 2015.</p> <p>The rescission of Cuba&rsquo;s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism reflects our assessment that Cuba meets the statutory criteria for rescission. While the United States has significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba&rsquo;s policies and actions, these fall outside the criteria relevant to the rescission of a State Sponsor of Terrorism designation</p> </blockquote> <p>The decision is a major step toward normalizing diplomatic relations with Havana. Among other activities, Friday's announcement will allow Cuba to do <a href="" target="_blank">banking</a> in the United States. However, the move does not lift the <a href="" target="_blank">trade embargo,</a> which requires congressional approval.&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo International Fri, 29 May 2015 15:45:55 +0000 Inae Oh 276231 at Economy Shrinks in Q1; Annual Growth Still Stuck in the Doldrums <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Today brings disappointing economic news. The economy didn't just grow slowly in the first quarter, it actually shrunk by 0.7 percent. As usual, winter weather is getting part of the blame, and some economists are going even further, wondering if we need to step back and take a look at the formula for seasonal adjustments. Perhaps, for some reason, the formula is no longer reflecting reality during the winter quarter.</p> <p>Maybe. But what this shows is that although the US economy continues to putter along in decent shape, it still hasn't reached takeoff velocity. The economy has been growing at a rate of 2-3 percent per year for the past five years, and there's little evidence this is going to change anytime soon.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_gdp_2015_q1.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 15px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 29 May 2015 14:29:41 +0000 Kevin Drum 276221 at This Girl's Yearbook Quote Has the Most Amazing Feminist Message <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Before leaving high school, Caitlyn Cannon, a 17-year-old who just graduated from Oak Hills High School in California, gifted her senior class with an amazing yearbook quote that nails feminism and sticks up for LGBT rights&mdash;all in just one line:</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">this is all I honestly care about right now <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; lil snowball (@casualnosebleed) <a href="">May 26, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>Her powerful message has since gone viral. Cannon, who describes herself as both "feminist" and "really gay" on <a href="" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, told the <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Huffington Post</em></a>, "I was tired of seeing the same old quotes from popular books and movies and authors, and I wanted to call attention to a problem that women face. I've never really been ashamed to say that I am gay, so the LGBT aspect was simply who I am."</p> <p>The future is looking so bright.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Gay Rights Sex and Gender Fri, 29 May 2015 13:14:23 +0000 Inae Oh 276216 at Havana Nights, Indoors <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><em>Friend of the blog Jay Jaroch recently spent some time in Cuba. Here's the third of three posts about what he observed while he was there.</em></p> <hr width="20%"><p>One of the nice things about getting out of LA is taking a break from listening to your friends talk about all the television shows they <em>can&rsquo;t believe you&rsquo;re not watching.</em> I&rsquo;m not sure I&rsquo;ll be accepted back at work until I&rsquo;ve turned in my term paper on the Mad Men finale. In terms of getting a reprieve, I figured Cuba was as good a place as any.</p> <p>Little did I know that many Cubans are binge watching the same shows we are.</p> <p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_tv.jpg" style="margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">&ldquo;I watched all seasons of Dexter,&rdquo; one Havana man told a wide-eyed me. &ldquo;Now I&rsquo;m watching The Following. You like The Following?&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Which one is that?&rdquo; I asked.</p> <p>&ldquo;With Kevin Bacon.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Oh, right.&rdquo;</p> <p>Homeland, Game of Thrones, Orange Is the New Black&mdash;you name it. They may be a few episodes behind your friends in the states, but not by much. In a country where cable and satellite dishes are banned, and internet service is mostly confined to hotels and about as functional as the dial-up days, Cubans get their favorite shows via something called &ldquo;the package.&rdquo; Basically, it&rsquo;s a cross between Netflix and a drug deal&mdash;for a small fee and a handshake, someone will hook you up with a flash drive full of Hollywood.</p> <p>&ldquo;You order what you want to see, which season, and a few days later you get the package,&rdquo; a guide in Havana explained to me. &ldquo;With Spanish subtitles. A good way to learn English.&rdquo;</p> <p>It was technically illegal, but also ubiquitous. And apparently Raul&rsquo;s government doesn&rsquo;t care.</p> <p>&ldquo;As long as you are not bringing in pornography, they don&rsquo;t bother you,&rdquo; the guide said.</p> <p>(Cuba takes their anti-pornography laws seriously. My surly immigration official asked me only two questions: had I been to any Ebola affected areas, and was I bringing in pornography? One got the sense that you could have just about anything in your bag so long as it wasn&rsquo;t an old copy of <em>Swank</em>.)</p> <p>Another option in Havana was to watch TV in one of the better hotels, some of which were equipped with cable for their international clientele. One man I met seemed to be more up on American television than I was, and I work in <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_us_interest_section_havana.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">television. I almost wanted to say &ldquo;Clear eyes, full hearts!&rdquo; just to see if he&rsquo;d yell, &ldquo;Can&rsquo;t lose!&rdquo; back at me.</p> <p>Don&rsquo;t worry. I didn&rsquo;t.</p> <p>This is new territory, and not for Hollywood&mdash;we&rsquo;re used to having our product stolen and distributed on foreign streets. As recently as a few years ago, getting any sort of American dispatch, much less television, would have been impossible in Cuba. In 2006, at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana (what passes for our embassy) we began broadcasting news and pro-American messages from an electronic ticker we&rsquo;d installed at the top of the building. In response, Castro&rsquo;s government erected 140 flagpoles in front of the ticker so Cubans couldn&rsquo;t see the messages. Now, in 2015, Cubans are freely downloading American Idol, or any of our wonderful shows about pawn shops.</p> <p>Change is afoot, and there&rsquo;s certainly more to come. As I sat waiting for my flight out of Jos&eacute; Mart&iacute; Airport, half of the lights in the terminal flickered, and then went out. None of the electronic screens worked, and there was little evidence that they ever had. An announcement came over the loudspeaker telling us that the air conditioning was also out, and that they were working on it. No one seemed surprised at any of this. We all just continued fanning ourselves with our boarding passes.</p> <p>As my Cubana plane finally arrived at the gate, I noticed an American Airlines plane was landing on the runway. It seemed appropriate. In Cuba, nobody knows what kind of change is on its way. But everyone knows that it&rsquo;s coming.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 29 May 2015 13:00:11 +0000 Kevin Drum 276206 at Watch Sepp Blatter Lash Out Against FIFA's Critics in 2013 <!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>In October 2013, at the Oxford Union, FIFA president Sepp Blatter took aim at critics who viewed soccer's international governing body as "a faceless machine printing money at the expense of the beautiful game." (He also <a href="" target="_blank">mocked Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo</a> for how much <a href="" target="_blank">he spends on his hair</a>.) Blatter <a href="" target="_blank">told the crowd</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>There are those who will tell you that football is just a heartless, money-spinning game or just a pointless kick about on the grass. There are those who will tell you that FIFA is just a conspiracy, a scam, accountable to nobody and too powerful for anyone to resist. There are those who will tell you of the supposed sordid secrets that lie deep in our Bond villain headquarters in the hills above Zurich, where we apparently plot to exploit the unfortunate and the weak. They would have you believe that I sit in my office with a sinister grin, gently stroking the chin of an expensive, white Persian cat as my terrible sidekicks scour the earth to force countries to host the World Cup and to hand over all of their money. You might laugh. It is strange how fantasy so easily becomes confused with fact. And it feels almost absurd to have to say this. But that is not who we are. Not FIFA. Not me.</p> </blockquote> <p>(You can watch the whole speech below&mdash;It's very long! He talks very slowly!&mdash;but the key bits are in the video up top.)&nbsp;</p> <p>These words resonate now, as Blatter <a href="" target="_blank">sets his sights on a fifth term</a> at&nbsp;the head of the organization amid pressure and criticism following a series of <a href="" target="_blank">corruption-related charges</a> on senior FIFA officials that have roiled the sport.</p> <p>But remember that "Bond villain headquarters in the hills above Zurich" Blatter was talking about? Well, Swiss photographer Luca Zanier snapped a photo of FIFA executive committee's boardroom in Zurich, and it <a href="" target="_blank">looks villain-esque</a>. John Oliver even <a href="" target="_blank">likened it</a> to the war room in Dr. Strangelove.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">FIFA's executive boardroom looks like a James Bond Super villain's lair. <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Gautam Trivedi (@Gotham3) <a href="">March 26, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Here is Blatter's full speech, courtesy of the Oxford Union:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> Mixed Media International Sports Fri, 29 May 2015 01:54:35 +0000 Edwin Rios 276211 at Health Update <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>I spent all morning up at City of Hope for a follow-up appointment with my transplant doctor. My counts all look good. My white blood count is 5500 and my ANC count is at 2800. Both are right in the middle of the normal range, which means my immune system is rebounding as expected. That's very encouraging.</p> <p>On the actual cancer front, the lab results are frustratingly hazy. The key thing my doctor wants to see is a big drop in my M protein level. Today I got the results from two weeks ago (it takes a while for the lab to do this particular test), and my M protein level had dropped from 1.0 to 0.38. The good news is that this means I responded to the chemotherapy. The hazier news is that it hasn't dropped to zero, as we'd like it to. I won't have the results of today's test until next week, but hopefully it will show a drop that gets me close to zero. Following that, around the end of June, I'll have a biopsy that will provide firm results on how well I responded to the chemo.</p> <p>So....we wait. I'm not super thrilled with the 0.38 number, but my doctor assures me that this might represent nothing more than old cells lying around that haven't quite died off yet. We'll see.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 28 May 2015 22:53:41 +0000 Kevin Drum 276196 at