Blogs | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/Blogs/2011/04/ones.com/transit http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en The Good News on Obamacare Just Keeps Rolling In http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/04/good-news-obamacare-just-keeps-rolling <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body> <p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_obamacare_site_new.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">The open enrollment period for Obamacare is finally (almost) over, and today the White House announced the <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/04/17/president-obama-8-million-people-have-signed-private-health-coverage" target="_blank">final figures for signups via the exchanges:</a></p> <blockquote> <p><strong>8 million people signed up for private insurance in the Health Insurance Marketplace.</strong> For states that have Federally-Facilitated Marketplaces, 35 percent of those who signed up are under 35 years old, and 28 percent are between 18 and 34 years old, virtually the same youth percentage that signed up in Massachusetts in its first year of health reform.</p> </blockquote> <p>That's a little better than I expected. I was figuring the final number would be around 7.7 million or so. We Americans sure do like to procrastinate, don't we?</p> <p>Anyway, once some of these new enrollees drop out for not paying their premiums, the final number will be around 7 million, which matches the CBO's original estimate&mdash;the one they made <em>before</em> the website debacle. That's pretty amazing. It suggests that either the CBO was overly pessimistic or else that the website problems really didn't have any effect at all. I suppose the latter is plausible if you assume that hardly anyone was ever going to sign up in the first couple of months anyway.</p> <p>And the 28 percent number for young enrollees is pretty good too. It's below the administration's goal, but Jon Cohn points out that what really matters is whether it <a href="http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117410/obamacare-enrollment-hits-8-million-age-mix-looks-massachusetts" target="_blank">matches what insurance companies expected:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The worry has always been that older and sicker people would sign up in unusually high numbers, forcing insurers to raise their prices next year and beyond.</p> <p>But insurance companies didn&rsquo;t expect young people to sign up in proportion to their numbers in the population. They knew participation would be a bit lower and they set premiums accordingly. Only company officials know exactly what they were projecting&mdash;that&rsquo;s proprietary information&mdash;but one good metric is the signup rate in Massachusetts, in 2007, when that state had open enrollment for its version of the same reforms. According to information provided by Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economist and reform architect, 28.3 percent of Massachusetts enrollees were ages 19 to 34, a comparable age group.</p> </blockquote> <p>So what <em>were</em> insurance companies expecting? As Cohn says, we don't know for sure, but there's good reason to think that it was around 28 percent. First, there's the Massachusetts precedent. And second, <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/04/16/lower-rise-in-health-care-costs/7515185/" target="_blank">we learned yesterday</a> that insurance companies are now expected to raise premiums a modest 7 percent next year. This suggests that that the age and health profile of exchange enrollees is pretty close to their projections.</p> <p>All in all, another day of pretty good news for Obamacare.</p> </body></html> Kevin Drum Health Care Thu, 17 Apr 2014 21:08:05 +0000 Kevin Drum 250081 at http://www.motherjones.com NASA Just Found the Most Earth-Like Planet Yet http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/04/nasa-earth-cousin-planet-kepler-186f <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body> <p>Hello. Good day.</p> <p>NASA just announced that astronomers have discovered the most Earth-like planet yet. <a href="http://www.sciencemag.org/content/344/6181/277" target="_blank">Kepler-186f </a>is the first <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldilocks_planet" target="_blank">Goldilocks planet</a>&mdash;not too hot for water, not too cold for water&mdash;ever identified that is roughly the same size as Earth. (It's a bit larger.)</p> <p>So, is there life on that planet? It hasn't been disqualified yet. So, maybe! But probably not. But maybe! But almost certainly not. But maybe! And even if there's not its mere existence means there are very likely more planets like it out there, meaning Earth is maybe not necessarily unique, meaning life is maybe not necessarily unique to Earth. But basically, we don't know much about this new planet. Take it away, <em><a href="http://www.wired.com/2014/04/earth-two-not-quite/" target="_blank">WIRED</a></em>:</p> <blockquote> <p>[S]cientists have fairly little information about this new exoplanet, including its mass and composition. From what they can tell, the place is similar to our own world, though not quite Earth&rsquo;s twin.&nbsp;</p> <p>"We consider it more of an Earth cousin," said astronomer <a href="http://kepler.nasa.gov/Mission/team/soc/elisaquintana/" target="_blank">Elisa Quintana</a> of NASA's Ames Research Center, lead author of <a href="http://www.sciencemag.org/lookup/doi/10.1126/science.1249403" target="_blank">a paper about the finding</a> appearing today in <em>Science</em>. "It's got the same size and characteristics, but a very different parent star."</p> </blockquote> <p>The planet is about 500 light years away, so it's close, but not <em>that</em> close. This is all fun and exciting, but here's the annoying bit: It was discovered by the Kepler space telescope which means we're in for a cliffhanger:</p> <blockquote> <p>Though Kepler is <a href="http://www.wired.com/2013/05/end-of-kepler/" target="_blank">out of commission</a> and won&rsquo;t be able to provide any more information about this newest exoplanet, future telescopes could give us new insight. NASA is planning to launch the <a href="http://space.mit.edu/TESS/TESS/TESS_Overview.html" target="_blank">Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite</a> (TESS) in 2017, which will watch bright nearby stars, including M dwarfs, for more exoplanets and be able to determine their masses. Follow up observations with the agency&rsquo;s J<a href="http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/blog/fedbiz_daily/2014/04/4-billion-over-budget-four-years-past-schedule.html" target="_blank">ames Webb Space Telescope</a>, currently slated to launch in 2018, could even look at the atmospheres of these worlds, providing definitive proof that they have chemicals like oxygen and water on their surfaces.</p> </blockquote> <p>See you in 2017, possible Earth cousin!</p> </body></html> Blue Marble Science Thu, 17 Apr 2014 20:12:41 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 250066 at http://www.motherjones.com It Turns Out That the Beautiful People Really Do Look Down on the Rest of Us http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/04/it-turns-out-beautiful-people-really-do-look-down-rest-us <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body> <p>It turns out that beautiful people really do look down on the rest of us. Danielle Kurtzleben reports on a new study that assessed the attitudes of people after asking them to <a href="http://www.vox.com/2014/4/17/5623976/attractiveness-related-to-views-on-economic-inequality" target="_blank">rate their own attractiveness:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Participants who perceive themselves as attractive also tend to not only believe they are of higher social status but also to believe in group dominance &mdash; that some groups are just inferior. They also were more likely to believe in ideas that legitimized their status, like the idea that all Americans have equal shots at making it to the top.</p> <p>....People who thought they were more attractive also tended to think that America's steadily growing inequality came about because of individual characteristics, like talent and hard work. People who thought they were uglier, meanwhile, thought outside factors &mdash; discrimination, political power &mdash; had more to do with inequality.</p> </blockquote> <p>People have a well-known cognitive bias in which they attribute positive outcomes to internal factors (hard work, smarts) and negative outcomes to external factors (bad luck, enemies who have it in for you). This is a similar kind of thing. People who are attractive tend to do better in life, but they resist the idea that this is partly due to the simple good luck of being tall or having regular features. And yet, there's abundant evidence that physical attractiveness makes a difference. <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2010/10/how-they-win" target="_blank">Just ask political candidates.</a></p> <p>Ditto for being white, male, healthy, middle class, etc. A lot of people might dislike the invocations of "privilege" that seem so endless these days, but it's a real thing. And it's everywhere.</p> </body></html> Kevin Drum Science Thu, 17 Apr 2014 18:29:25 +0000 Kevin Drum 250061 at http://www.motherjones.com Corn on Hardball: The GOP's Dangerous Decision to Support and Encourage Cliven Bundy http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/04/david-corn-hardball-gop-dangerous-decision-support-cliven-bundy <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body> <p>Washington bureau chief David Corn spoke on MSNBC's "Hardball" about the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/04/right-wing-loves-militia-rancher-cliven-bundy-except-glenn-beck" target="_blank">Right's support</a> of <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/04/cliven-bundy-exposes-cravenness-modern-right" target="_blank">Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy</a>, who has refused to pay standard grazing fees on federal land for the past 20 years. He pointed out the irony of the GOP supporting Bundy's fight for a free ride, as well as the danger of encouraging and validating potentially violent extremists.<br> &nbsp;</p> <p class="rtecenter"><iframe border="no" height="494" scrolling="no" src="http://player.theplatform.com/p/2E2eJC/EmbeddedOffSite?guid=n_hardball_2bundy_140416" width="630"></iframe></p> </body></html> MoJo Video Food and Ag The Right Thu, 17 Apr 2014 18:11:54 +0000 250041 at http://www.motherjones.com WATCH: Will George W. Bush's Art Show Be a Reflection of His Presidency? [Fiore Cartoon] http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/04/watch-george-w-bush-art-show-fiore-cartoon <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body> <p></p> <div align="center"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="281" mozallowfullscreen="" src="//player.vimeo.com/video/92212448?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=c96134" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="500"></iframe></div> <p>Mark Fiore is a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist and animator whose work has appeared in the <em>Washington Post, </em>the <em>Los Angeles Times, </em>the <em>San Francisco Examiner, </em>and dozens of other publications. He is an active member of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists, and has a <a href="http://www.markfiore.com/" target="_newWindow">website</a> featuring his work.</p> </body></html> Mixed Media Cartoons Bush Media Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:55:35 +0000 Mark Fiore 250051 at http://www.motherjones.com Americans Wildly Overestimate the Impact of Routine Mammographies http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/04/americans-wildly-overestimate-impact-routine-mammographies <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body> <p>Aaron Carroll passes along the following stunning chart about the actual efficacy of <a href="http://theincidentaleconomist.com/wordpress/this-is-why-we-cant-get-the-public-to-accept-changes-to-screening-mammograms/" target="_blank">routine breast cancer screening on 50-year-old women:</a></p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_mammography_effect.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 10px 5px;"></p> <p>Obviously, there are circumstances where routine screening is a good idea&mdash;perhaps if you have a family history of breast cancer or other specific risk factors. But the best recent evidence suggests that routine screening for all women has a negligible effect. At best, it's very slightly positive. At worst it's literally zero because false positives lead to interventions that themselves carry a risk of death.</p> <p>The problem is that people don't believe this. They think that routine screening has a far greater impact than it really does. The <em>perception</em> of 50-year-old women is that routine screening saves the lives of about 80 women out of a thousand:</p> <blockquote> <p>Therein lies the problem. If you think that breast cancer is going to kill 16% of all 50-year-old women in the next 10 years and that mammography makes a huge difference in the mortality rate, then you&rsquo;re going to demand a universal screening program. Hell, I&rsquo;d demand it if that were the case. Until we can change the perception of the public to more closely match reality, and make them realize that the harms may outweigh the benefits, we&rsquo;re going to get nowhere in trying to make changes.</p> </blockquote> <p>We're all complicit in the level of overdiagnosis in American health care. Over the past few weeks, I've probably gotten something like $20,000 worth of tests and other care&mdash;with more to come&mdash;in an effort to try and figure out why my breathing suddenly went south. I didn't push back on any of it, and the reason is obvious: when a doctor tells you that your problem <em>might</em> be an embolism or a bad heart or interstitial lung damage, then you damn well want to find out if it is. (It's not. We still don't know what's going on.)</p> <p>Obviously an acute problem like mine is not the same as routine testing. But I do that too. I've resisted the routine colonoscopy so far because my risk profile is low, but I do get a biannual echocardiogram. Why? Because I have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a family history of cardio problems. Routine heart monitoring makes sense in my case.</p> <p>Routine mammographies make sense too&mdash;for some women. But for all of them? The best evidence says it doesn't.</p> </body></html> Kevin Drum Health Care Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:46:30 +0000 Kevin Drum 250026 at http://www.motherjones.com "House of Cards" Veteran Wants To Make a Reality TV Show Starring Capitol Hill Staffers http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/04/house-cards-reality-tv-show-washington-dc-capitol-hill-staffers <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body> <p>Oh, boy.</p> <p>On Thursday, the <em>Washington Examiner</em>'s Betsy Woodruff <a href="http://washingtonexaminer.com/reality-show-starring-capitol-hill-staffers-in-the-works/article/2547349" target="_blank">reported</a> that a veteran of the Netflix political drama <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/02/house-of-cards-season-2-molly-parker-jacqueline-sharp-war-crimes" target="_blank"><em>House of Cards</em></a> is working to produce a reality TV show based in Washington, DC. The show would star local "up-and-comers," including Capitol Hill staffers ("the best and brightest on the hill") between the ages of 19 and 29.</p> <p>A casting session is set to be held on April 26. One source told the <em>Examiner</em> that the first round of casting has already occurred. (It's unclear how many Hill staffers would actually be up for this, since most Senate and House offices probably wouldn't allow employees to take part in a potentially revealing reality series.)</p> <p><em>Mother Jones </em>obtained the casting call, which is dated April 14. Check it out:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="House of Cards reality tv show casting call" class="image" height="790" src="/files/house-of-cards-reality-tv-show-casting-call.jpg" width="589"></div> <p>Sharon "Rocky" Roggio, who's apparently behind the project, was the <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2008867/" target="_blank">assistant property master</a> on this year's season of <em>House of Cards</em> and worked on <em>A Very Harold &amp; Kumar 3D Christmas</em> and the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2012/11/red-dawn-remake-north-korea-foreign-policy-experts-reactions" target="_blank"><em>Red Dawn</em></a> remake. Jena Serbu served as a <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1672561/" target="_blank">production designer</a> on <a href="http://blog.pennlive.com/go/2012/12/amish_mafia_is_it_real_or_fake.html" target="_blank"><em>Amish Mafia</em></a> and <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2013/aug/02/entertainment/la-et-st-matt-bristol-of-breaking-amish-los-angeles-talks-20130731" target="_blank"><em>Breaking Amish: LA</em></a>.</p> <p>Other attempts at reality TV in Washington include MTV's <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Real_World:_D.C." target="_blank"><em>The Real World: D.C.</em></a> and Bravo's <em>The Real Housewives of DC</em>. In 2011, <a href="http://www.wtop.com/41/2611711/Jersey-Shore-mastermind-casting-reality-show-for-politicos-" target="_blank">Doron Ofir Casting</a> (the company behind such reality-TV hits as <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2011/09/chris-christie-vetoes-snooki-subsidy-jersey-shore" target="_blank"><em>Jersey Shore</em></a>) put out a <a href="http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1211/70854.html" target="_blank">casting call for</a> "young hot politicos who care about America [and] follow the heated debates, rallies, protests and scandals!" Last month, the <em>Washington Post </em><a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/reliable-source/wp/2014/03/18/a-new-reality-show-could-be-on-its-way-to-d-c/" target="_blank">reported</a> that Leftfield Pictures, the Manhattan production company behind Bravo's hit show, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2b0Wq4AB4Gg" target="_blank"><em>Blood, Sweat and Heels</em></a>, is considering launching a DC version of the series. TV dramas and comedies set in Washington, DC, include <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/09/funny-or-die-obamacare-jennifer-hudson-scandal-spoof" target="_blank"><em>Scandal</em></a>, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2013/06/armando-iannucci-interview-veep-hbo-joe-biden" target="_blank"><em>Veep</em></a>, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/03/americans-fx-joe-weisberg-joel-fields-contra-war-sandinistas-afghanistan-soviets" target="_blank"><em>The Americans</em></a>, and the attempted sitcom <a href="http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/2012/07/09/h-street-sitcom-creator-its-not-about-h-street/" target="_blank"><em>H Street</em></a>.</p> </body></html> Mixed Media Congress Film and TV Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:21:58 +0000 Asawin Suebsaeng 249981 at http://www.motherjones.com Latest Gallup Result: 9-10 Million Newly Insured Under Obamacare http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/04/latest-gallup-result-12-million-newly-insured-under-obamacare <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body> <p>Speaking of the uninsured, I inexplicably failed to blog about the <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/168548/newly-insured-2014-represent-adults.aspx" target="_blank">latest Gallup results yesterday.</a> Based on polling that goes through mid-April, Gallup now estimates that about 9-10 million people have gained insurance since Obamacare rolled out last year. If you assume that perhaps a million people lost insurance, that's a net increase of 8-9 million. Of this, about half gained insurance through the exchanges. The rest gained it through Medicaid and increased participation in employer plans.</p> <p>I'm not going to try to analyze this number any further. It basically represents good news, since it's a higher estimate than we've seen before, and it also jibes with the recent Rand numbers suggesting a large rise in people covered by employer plans. Apparently the individual mandate is having a bigger impact on this than anybody predicted. However, it's one data point in a noisy series, and I suspect we still have to wait another month to get a reliable set of numbers from all the polling outfits. By the end of May, unless the various polls are in wild disagreement, I imagine we'll have a fairly good idea of just how big the impact of Obamacare has been so far.</p> <p><strong>UPDATE:</strong> Sorry, everyone else has been leading with a number of 12 million, so that's what I used. But the Gallup poll estimates that 4 percent of US <em>adults</em> are newly insured, not 4 percent of the entire country. That's in the range of 9-10 million. I've corrected the text.</p> <p>Note, however, that this ignores children who are newly insured, either via exchanges or Medicaid. So the real number is probably a bit higher. Maybe in the 10-11 million range? It's hard to say. There are a lot of different surveys that are all measuring slightly different things, and they're all working on data that's still incomplete. That's why it's probably wise to wait another month or two before we get too confident in any of these numbers.</p> </body></html> Kevin Drum Health Care Thu, 17 Apr 2014 15:38:43 +0000 Kevin Drum 250006 at http://www.motherjones.com Rand Paul Really Doesn't Want to Talk About His McConnell Endorsement http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/04/rand-paul-mcconnell-endorsement <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body> <p>A tea party revolutionary four years ago, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has bucked many of his old supporters by backing Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, in McConnell's primary against Matt Bevin, a hedge fund executive backed by the Senate Conservatives Fund. Why would Paul do such a thing? He has been cagey, to say the least. "He asked me when there was nobody else in the race, and I said yes," the junior senator <a href="http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/rand-paul-mitch-mcconnell-reelection-glenn-beck-interview" target="_blank">told</a> Glenn Beck in February. Evidently even that was too verbose. Per the <a href="http://www.glasgowdailytimes.com/local/x360404491/U-S-Sen-Rand-Paul-visits-Edmonton" target="_blank"><em>Glasgow (Ky.) Daily Times</em></a>, Paul has now taken his answer off the record:</p> <blockquote> <p>After addressing about 30 people who turned out to hear him, the senator opened the floor for questions.</p> <p>One constituent asked him why he came out in support of Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Louisville.</p> <p>Paul declined to answer the question publicly, saying he would speak with her in private and explain his reason for supporting the senior senator.</p> </blockquote> <p>Paul family political guru Jesse Benton, who is now managing McConnell's re-election campaign, told a tea party activist in a <a href="http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2013/08/mitch-mcconnell-campaign-manager-im.html" target="_blank">secretly-recorded conversation</a> last year that, "between you and me, I'm sort of holdin' my nose for two years because what we're doing here is going to be a big benefit to Rand in '16, so that's my long vision."</p> <p>One reason Paul might decide to keep his explanation private: His answer sounds a lot like Benton's.</p> </body></html> MoJo Elections Thu, 17 Apr 2014 15:31:13 +0000 Tim Murphy 249986 at http://www.motherjones.com Daffy Duck, Glorious Archetype of Selfishness, Is 77. Here Is His First Cartoon. http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/04/daffy-duck-77-years-old-porkys-duck-hunt-chuck-jones <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="http://www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/x874v" width="630"></iframe><br> Daffy Duck, one of America's preeminent ducks, is 77 today.</p> <p>If Bugs Bunny is the brightest star in the Looney Tunes sky, surely Daffy Duck is second. But it wasn't always that way! Before either of them, a pig named Porky occupied the top spot and on April 17, 1937 the sensational swine starred in "Porky's Duck Hunt." The Warner Brothers short featured the curly-tailed stutterer loading up his shotgun and setting out to hunt his way into America's heart, like you do. But then things don't go as planned&mdash;they can't, you see; <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poetics_%28Aristotle%29" target="_blank">Aristotle said so</a>&mdash;and Porky comes upon a duck who isn't like the others. This duck's got a white ring around his neck and he doesn't conform, man. He won't go gently into that good night. He does what he wants. He's wacky. He flies around the frame in a very un-medicated way. Watch it. (The colorized version is embedded above. <a href="http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xq5ipw_porky-s-duck-hunt-4-17-37_shortfilms" target="_blank">Here's the original black &amp; white.</a>) It's pretty funny!</p> <p>Daffy is nameless in this first appearance, but a rose by any other name&mdash;or no name at all, a nameless rose&mdash;is still a rose. And this duck is still Daffy. Aside from his trademark white ring and lisp&mdash;voiced as he would be for 52 years by Mel Blanc&mdash;what makes him so essentially Daffy is that he's, well, nuts. This was his defining characteristic in the beginning. Created by Tex Avery, Daffy was a minor lunatic the established characters could play the foil to.</p> <p>Over the course of the next decade, however, Daffy grew from being just some prop prey in hunting sketches to a full-blown star. As he became more prominent, his character became more complex. Still wacky, Daffy matured into his most famous role, as Bugs Bunny's arch-nemesis. (Bugs, the Betty to Daffy's Veronica, the White Swan to his Black, had been introduced in 1940.) Daffy became the crafty, scheming, plotting back-stabber who, motivated by unrestrained selfishness, will do anything to get what he wants, but in the end always comes up short. His every attempt is foiled, most often by the more moral Bugs, because in Looney Tunes' moral universe, unrestrained selfishness is a killer.</p> <p>Part of us empathizes with Daffy because though his defining characteristic is selfishness, his fatal flaw is recklessness. Everyone is a little bit selfish. Selfishness is very banal and very human, and at some age most everyone learns to rein it in. At 77, Daffy still hasn't reined it in.</p> <p>Chuck Jones, who created Bugs, drew Daffy from 1951 to 1964 and was responsible for some of his most famous films. In his memoir, <em><a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=NJzAdheaSc0C&amp;pg=" target="_blank">Chuck Amuck: The Life and Times of an Animated Cartoonist</a></em>, Jones describes the first time he encountered within himself the voice he would one day associate with Daffy. The moment came at his sixth birthday party. After Chuck blew out the candles on his cake, his father handed him a knife and told him to cut as large a piece for himself as he wanted.</p> <blockquote> <p>At this point Daffy Duck must have had, for me, his earliest beginnings, because I found to my surprise and pleasure that I had no desire to share my cake with anyone. I courteously returned the knife to my mother. I had no need for it, I explained; I would simplify the whole matter by taking the entire cake for myself. Not knowing she had an incipient duck on her hands, she laughed gently and tried to return the knife to my reluctant grasp. I again explained that the knife was superfluous. It was impossible, I pointed out with incontrovertible logic, to cut a cake and still leave it entire for its rightful owner. I had no need and no desire to share.&nbsp;</p> <p>My father thereupon mounted the hustings (he was nine feet tall and looked like a moose without antlers) and escorted me to my room to contemplate in cakeless solitude the meaning of a word new to me: "selfish." To me then, and to Daffy Duck now, "selfish" means "honest but antisocial"; "unselfish" means "socially acceptable but often dishonest." We all <em>want</em> the whole cake, but, unlike Daffy and at least one six-year-old boy, the coward in the rest of us keeps the Daffy Duck, the small boy in us, under control.</p> <p>"You may cut as large a piece as you want" is a dangerous euphemism. There is a prescribed wedge on every birthday cake that is completely and exactly surrounded by corporal punishment. Exceeding these limits by even a thousandth of an inch brands one as "selfish." From my seventh birthday on, I learned to approach with judgment sharper than a razor's edge this line, without cutting the "un" from "unselfish" to "selfish." I learned very little about social morality but a great deal about survival, and this, after all, is what Daffy Duck is all about.</p> </blockquote> <p>So, happy birthday, Daffy, America's most famous animated cautionary tale of avarice!</p> </body></html> Mixed Media Film and TV Thu, 17 Apr 2014 15:16:31 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 249971 at http://www.motherjones.com Is the Census Recount of the Uninsured a Legitimate Scandal? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/04/census-recount-uninsured-legitimate-scandal <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body> <p>A friend of mine thinks the decision by the Census Bureau to change the way it counts the uninsured&mdash;which will make it more difficult to make pre and post-Obamacare <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_census_informed.jpg" style="margin: 20px 20px 15px 30px;">comparisons&mdash;is sleazier than I give it credit for:</p> <blockquote> <p>To me this is all about 2016. I think Democrats really want to be able to show a sharp contrast that will demonstrate the dramatic impact of an attempted repeal of the ACA, and stronger numbers on the uninsured would only help the ads that much more. The administration knows that a Republican president will be under terrific pressure to undercut and thwart the law regardless of its popularity (even if with as few fingerprints as possible) and that they will use whatever tools they have to do so. So 2016 is extremely important.</p> <p>The reason I lost it is because even with independent agencies, there is a certain measure of influence. No, the executive doesn't have a large measure of direct control over independent agencies, but they damn sure know what they are doing&nbsp;&mdash; or at least somebody does. They don't operate in a vacuum. (Except, perhaps, some of the security services.) So, this is either:</p> <blockquote> <ol> <li>Something started years ago with a drop date of Spring 2014 that (a) no one picked up on until now and no one can derail the train; or (b) the executive saw coming and was willing to let it happen to help put the best read on the numbers in advance of 2016.</li> <li>Something that has been out there (sure, everything is "out there") but languishing, which the executive decided to speed up and put in place well before 2016. The goal was to get the most positive read on the numbers, so they indirectly applied pressure to the Census to put it in place&nbsp;&mdash; and since the Census wants it anyway there's really no stick here.</li> </ol> </blockquote> <p>Of these, (1)(a) seems most implausible (even if certainly possible) and (2) seems most likely if 2016 is the primary issue. Thus, I am assuming that this is going forward with the executive's blessing on the timing, and a calculation has been made that the blowback&nbsp;&mdash; if any&nbsp;&mdash; will be among the right's base and they are already energized so this won't change the dynamic much.</p> <p>And if my assumption is correct, I still think it's a cheap / too-cute-by-half tactic that I would be calling out if the roles were flipped.</p> </blockquote> <p>I have a hard time buying this for several reasons. First, it <em>is</em> too cute by half. Obama's political shop is not the runaway train that, say, Chris Christie's apparently is. It's implausible to me that anyone there would give this more than a moment's thought before dismissing it. It's just too stupid.</p> <p>Second, it's not at all clear that the change made by the Census will make Obamacare look better. We're still going to have a clean 2013-14 comparison, after all, just not a longer-term one. Besides, surely <em>any</em> number is better than one with such a big cloud around it that it's open to merciless attack. Especially when it's one that the boffins at the Census Bureau won't defend.</p> <p>Third, there are loads of other numbers about the uninsured&mdash;Gallup, Rand, HRMS, etc. Playing games with the Census numbers won't change any of that.</p> <p>Bottom line: I continue to think this is most likely something dreamed up by technocrats in the Census Bureau who were oblivious to the political implications. I'll acknowledge that the political implications are obvious enough that this is a little hard to believe, but that's where Occam's Razor takes me. In any case, Darrell Issa is sure to open hearings on this, so I imagine we'll hear from Census officials soon enough.</p> </body></html> Kevin Drum Regulatory Affairs Thu, 17 Apr 2014 15:14:21 +0000 Kevin Drum 249996 at http://www.motherjones.com Putin: Eastern Ukraine is Really "Novorossiya" http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/04/putin-eastern-ukraine-really-novorossiya <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body> <p>The <em>Guardian</em> reports that Vladimir Putin held a <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/17/vladimir-putin-denies-russian-forces-eastern-ukraine-kiev" target="_blank">long, "meticulously stagecrafted" press conference today:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Accusing the Kiev authorities of pulling the country into an "abyss", he called on Ukraine to pull back its heavy artillery from the east of the country, asking: "Who are you going to use it against? Have you completely lost your marbles?"</p> <p>....<strong>Putin referred to the region in question by its tsarist name "Novorossiya", or "New Russia", as it was referred to in the 19th century under tsarist rule, and suggested it was a historical mistake to hand it over to Ukraine.</strong></p> <p>"It's new Russia," he told millions of watchers "Kharkiv, Lugansk, Donetsk, Odessa were not part of Ukraine in Czarist times, they were transferred in 1920. Why? God knows. Then for various reasons these areas were gone, and the people stayed there&nbsp;&mdash; we need to encourage them to find a solution."</p> </blockquote> <p>That does not sound very promising, does it?</p> </body></html> Kevin Drum International Thu, 17 Apr 2014 14:36:10 +0000 Kevin Drum 249976 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for April 17, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/04/were-still-war-photo-day-april-17-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/0417-630.jpg"></div> <div id="meta"> <div class="photo-desc" id="description_div"> <p class="rtecenter"><em>Marines put out a controlled fire on a mobile aircraft fire training device at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma April 7 during a visit from Girl Scouts. The firefighting display showed how the Marines respond to an emergency situation. The mission of Girl Scouts of America is to build the courage, confidence and character of girls, who can then make the world a better place, according to their website. The Marines are aircraft rescue and firefighting specialists with ARFF, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, MCAS Futenma, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. (<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/marine_corps/13761993675/" target="_blank">U.S. Marine Corps photo</a> by Lance Cpl. David N. Hersey/Released)</em></p> </div> </div> </body></html> MoJo Thu, 17 Apr 2014 10:00:10 +0000 249846 at http://www.motherjones.com Film Review: "Burt's Buzz" http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/04/film-review-burts-buzz-bees <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/6rdhPyM2IJ0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Burt's Buzz</strong></p> <p>EVERYDAY PICTURES/FILMBUFF</p> <p>Jody Shapiro's documentary profiles Burt Shavitz, the thick-bearded, staunchly frugal, middle-aged Maine beekeeper who cofounded Burt's Bees, following his rise from hip 1960s photographer to the unlikely brand ambassador for a multimillion-dollar skin and body care empire. As a portrait of the compelling curmudgeon, <em>Burt's Buzz</em> isn't quite as penetrating as one might hope for. But it's an oddly charming peek into the world of corporate celebrity through the lens of a guy who apparently wants nothing to do with it. "No one has ever accused me of being ambitious," Shavitz says. And, of his intrusive fans: "I'd like to point the shotgun at them and tell them to be good or be gone."</p> </body></html> Mixed Media Corporations Health Thu, 17 Apr 2014 10:00:06 +0000 Asawin Suebsaeng 248956 at http://www.motherjones.com Invading Crimea May Have Cost Russia $200 Billion So Far http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/04/invading-crimea-may-have-cost-russia-200-billion-so-far <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body> <p>Russia's military actions are <a href="http://www.latimes.com/world/europe/la-fg-ukraine-20140417,0,5892399.story#axzz2z72JcgMZ" target="_blank">costing it dearly:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region last month and the instability it created in Russian financial markets were cited by government officials for record capital flight and sharply downgraded growth forecasts for the country. <strong>Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said that instead of projected 2.5% growth this year, Russia's economy might show no growth at all.</strong></p> <p>....U.S. and European sanctions to punish Russia for occupying and annexing Crimea have so far targeted only a few dozen officials and businessmen. But the prospect of broader penalties, such as a Western boycott of Russian oil and gas, have scared investors into cashing out their ruble-denominated assets for hard currency and taking their money abroad. Russia's foreign exchange reserves were drained of a record $63 billion in the first quarter of the year, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said Wednesday in an address to the lower house of the parliament.</p> <p>....Russian stocks fell 10% last month, wiping out further billions in capital. The ruble has lost 9% of its value since the start of the year, boosting prices for the imported food and manufactured goods on which the Russian consumer market is heavily dependent. "The acute international situation of the past two months" was the cause, Ulyukayev said, referring to the Ukraine unrest.</p> </blockquote> <p>That's a helluva big drop in economic growth. Just by itself, it represents a cost of $50 billion. Add in the flight of cash and the stock market decline, and you're somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 billion.</p> <p>Is that enough to make Russia blink? Maybe not. But it hurts, and the prospect of losing even more has got to be enough to give even Vladimir Putin a few second thoughts.</p> </body></html> Kevin Drum Economy International Thu, 17 Apr 2014 04:07:07 +0000 Kevin Drum 249966 at http://www.motherjones.com Federal Court Rules North Dakota's Extreme Abortion Ban Unconstitutional http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/04/north-dakota-abortion-fetal-heartbeat-ban-unconstitutional <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body> <p>On Wednesday, a federal judge blocked a North Dakota law that would have banned all abortions after a heartbeat is detectable in the fetus, which can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The judge, Daniel Hovland, called the ban&mdash;which passed last year and was immediately challenged by the <a href="http://www.redriverwomensclinic.com/" target="_blank">Red River Women's Clinic</a>, the only abortion provider in the state&mdash;"invalid and unconstitutional," and said it would impose an "undue burden on women seeking to obtain an abortion."</p> <p>The North Dakota law is <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/judge-north-dakota-abortion-law-unconstitutional-23348578" target="_blank">one of the most far-reaching</a> abortion bans in the country. Many women aren't aware that they are pregnant until well after six weeks into a pregnancy. Under the North Dakota law, those women wouldn't be able to seek abortions at all.</p> <p>North Dakota is one of several states that have pushed laws banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. In March, a federal judge struck down a <a href="http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/may/17/ark-heartbeat-abortion-law-blocked/" target="_blank">similar ban</a> Arkansas had passed last year. But losses in the courts haven't stopped these efforts from spreading&mdash;the Alabama House <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/04/alabama-abortion-bill_n_4900059.html" target="_blank">passed</a> a fetal heartbeat bill last month, and state legislatures in Wyoming, Mississippi, and Ohio have <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/01/31/1517821/fetal-heartbeat-bills-to-watch/" target="_blank">considered</a> similar legislation in the past year.</p> </body></html> MoJo Courts Health Health Care Reproductive Rights Sex and Gender Wed, 16 Apr 2014 20:34:52 +0000 Nina Liss-Schultz 249956 at http://www.motherjones.com Martinez Aide Who Said Latino Icon "Sounds Like a Retard" Now Works at Agency Serving Mentally Disabled http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/04/matt-kennicott-ben-lujan-retard <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body> <p>On Wednesday, <em>Mother Jones</em> published a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/04/governor-susana-martinez-new-mexico-2016" target="_blank">story</a> about New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, a rising GOP star, that draws on previously unreleased audio recordings from her 2010 campaign.</p> <p>In one of the many unflattering moments revealed by the tapes, Matt Kennicott, then Martinez's deputy campaign manager and policy director, comments on the accent of former House speaker Ben Luj&aacute;n, saying, "Somebody told me he's absolutely eloquent in Spanish, but his English? He sounds like a retard."</p> <p>As it turns out, Matt Kennicott now works for a state agency charged with providing key services to people with mental disabilities. As the Communications Director for New Mexico's <a href="http://www.hsd.state.nm.us/About_the_Department.aspx" target="_blank">Human Services Department (HSD)</a>, Kennicott is, according to his LinkedIn account, responsible for developing "messaging and talking points for various program areas." He also serves as the "chief negotiator on legislative priorities around health care and public assistance policy."</p> <p>The department's $4.97 billion budget is the largest of any state agency. It oversees mental health services for 85,000 New Mexicans, including programs for low-income individuals with disabilities and behavioral health care for people with mental illness.</p> <p>Lawrence Rael, a Democrat hoping to unseat Martinez in 2014, issued a <a href="http://roundhouseroundup.blogspot.com/2014/04/mother-jones-scorches-gov-susana.html" target="_blank">statement</a> shortly after the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/04/governor-susana-martinez-new-mexico-2016" target="_blank">story</a> was published calling Martinez's decision to hire Kennicott at HSD "unconscionable." Kennicott did not respond to multiple requests from <em>Mother Jones</em> to comment on the clip.</p> <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/144255338&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p> </body></html> MoJo Elections Health Health Care The Right Wed, 16 Apr 2014 20:10:09 +0000 Julia Lurie 249961 at http://www.motherjones.com An Update From Our 1 Percent World: Southern California Housing Edition http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/04/update-our-1-world-southern-california-housing-edition <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body> <p>The <em>LA Times</em> reports that the Southern California housing market is <a href="http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-home-prices-20140416,0,4794538.story#axzz2z4dbbuh0" target="_blank">once again getting frothy:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>But a deeper look at the market reveals a recovery divided between the rich and everyone else.</p> <p>The market for high-dollar homes is hopping, with sales on the rise and buyers launching bidding wars. But sales of low- to medium-priced homes have plummeted during the same period &mdash; with many potential buyers priced out....Those declines came even as sales of high-end homes increased. Sales of homes costing $800,000 or more grew 12%, while sales of homes costing less than $500,000 fell at twice that rate.</p> <p>...."We're getting multiple offers on just about everything," said Barry Sulpor, an agent with Shorewood Realtors in Manhattan Beach, where he said there is a new wave of tear-downs and new construction in prime beachfront locations. "The market is really on fire."</p> </blockquote> <p>I think partly this is a bit of a statistical artifact: a lot of investors were buying cheap houses a year ago, figuring they could rent them out and make a killing. That didn't work out so well, and now a lot of those houses are back on the market. Long story short, some of the increase in low-end housing prices over the past year or two has been a bit of an investor-fueled mirage, and now reality is catching up to that.</p> <p>Still, the overall picture is clear: At the lower end of the market, ordinary people have been increasingly locked out for a while, and that's still the case. Nor is it any surprise. After all, median wages have stagnated during the entire period that we so laughingly refer to as a "recovery." As always in our brave new 1 percent era, things are going pretty well for the rich. For the not-so-rich, not so well.</p> </body></html> Kevin Drum Economy Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:24:11 +0000 Kevin Drum 249951 at http://www.motherjones.com GOP Congressional Candidate Shoots Down Drone in New Ad http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/04/montana-matt-rosendale-drone <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/dOoXJI4vBns" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>In Montana congressional candidate Matt Rosendale's newest ad, which you can you can watch above, Rosendale aims a sighted rifle at a "government drone" and blows it away, before sending a message to the Obama administration: "Spying on our citizens&mdash;that's just wrong."</p> <p>This isn't the first attempt by Rosendale, a state representative who is seeking the GOP nomination to replace Rep. Steve Daines in Congress next fall, to make nice with his state's far-right elements. In December <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/01/matt-rosendale-montana-rothschilds-rockefellers" target="_blank">Rosendale attended</a> an event held by a group called Defend Rural America, whose founder, Kirk MacKenzie, called environmentalists "domestic terrorists." And although this is the first time a candidate has pretended to shoot down a drone, politicians <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/06/brief-history-politicians-blowing-things" target="_blank">have a long history</a> of blowing things up in campaign ads. In 2008, Montana Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer used a double-barreled shotgun to blast the federal Real ID law into tiny bits.</p> <p>As always, <em>Mother Jones</em> reminds you that if you must ritually annihilate a federal policy in a campaign ad, you should at least wear safety goggles and ear plugs.</p> </body></html> MoJo Elections Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:52:29 +0000 Tim Murphy 249931 at http://www.motherjones.com Gov. Susana Martinez Reacts to Mother Jones Story: "One of the Most Desperate and Despicable Attacks" http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/04/susana-martinez-new-mexico-responds-mother-jones <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body> <p>On Wednesday morning, <em>Mother Jones</em> published <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/04/governor-susana-martinez-new-mexico-2016" target="_blank">a cover story</a> about New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, a rising star in the Republican Party, that draws&nbsp;on <a href="https://soundcloud.com/mother-jones/sets/martinez" target="_blank">previously unreleased audio recordings</a>, emails, and text messages. In these audio tapes, she and her aides use crude and often offensive language when referring to political opponents.&nbsp;Martinez's reelection campaign immediately responded.</p> <p>In an email blast to supporters, Martinez attacked&nbsp;the messenger, calling <em>Mother Jones</em> a "tabloid" and "one of the most radically liberal publications in the country." Martinez accused <em>Mother Jones</em> of "peddling false, personal attacks against me, using stolen audiotapes from our debate prep sessions four years ago." She claimed&nbsp;that "this shows just how far the Left is willing to go to stop reforms in New Mexico." In the email, Martinez does admit to calling 2010 Democratic opponent&nbsp;Diane Denish&nbsp;"the B-word," adding, "I admit it&mdash;I've had to fund the cuss jar a few times in my life." Her email ends with a plea for a campaign contribution.</p> <p>Her email neglects to address several parts of the story, such as the reports that Martinez's top adviser, Jay McCleskey, wrote "I HATE THAT FUCKING BITCH!" about a fellow GOP pol, and that a former Martinez adviser mocked New Mexico political icon Ben Luj&aacute;n for his English-speaking abilities, saying he "sounds like a retard."</p> <p>Martinez's campaign has also created a <a href="http://www.susanamartinez.com/landing/liberal-media/?utm_medium=social&amp;utm_source=t.co&amp;utm_campaign=20140416_sm-lb-motherjonestw4.16_twitter&amp;utm_content=sm">petition</a> describing <em>Mother Jones</em> as "the far-left's premier magazine" and calls the story "one of the most desperate and despicable attacks to date." The Martinez campaign's message goes on to ask supporters to sign&nbsp;a petition ostensibly to "show the D.C. liberal media that their desperate attacks have no place in our state."</p> <p>Here's the petition:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/martinez-petition-630.jpg"></div> <p>Martinez's campaign has made full use of social media in its pushback, buying a promoted tweet on Twitter urging people to "stand with me":</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/martinez-promoted-tweet-response.jpg"></div> <p>Similarly, she&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/SusanaMartinezFan">asked&nbsp;her Facebook friends</a> to "stand with me against the D.C. liberal media and show them that their Washington-style attacks have no place in our state."</p> <p>Martinez did retweet a link to <em>Mother Jones</em>' story that was tweeted by Buzzfeed writer McKay Coppins&mdash;only to <a href="http://politwoops.sunlightfoundation.com/tweet/456434221456687104">delete her tweet</a> 14 seconds later.</p> </body></html> MoJo Elections The Right Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:16:54 +0000 Andy Kroll 249941 at http://www.motherjones.com In Red States, the Uninsured Are Up the Creek http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/04/red-states-uninsured-are-creek <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body> <p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_gallup_uninsurance_embrace_obamacare.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 20px 15px 30px;">Gallup has previously reported a drop in the uninsurance rate among Americans following the rollout of Obamacare last year. <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/168539/uninsured-rates-drop-states-embracing-health-law.aspx" target="_blank">Today, they broke down these numbers</a> between states that embraced Obamacare by setting up their own exchanges and expanding Medicaid vs. states that have resisted implementing the law.</p> <p>The results are no surprise. States that embraced Obamacare&mdash;which presumably were more committed to public health in the first place&mdash;had lower uninsurance rates to start with <em>and</em> saw bigger declines. The states that resisted were the ones with the biggest uninsurance problems to start with and saw only token declines. In fact, the decline in states that embraced Obamacare was more than triple that in the other states, 2.8 percent vs. 0.8 percent.</p> <p>These numbers will change a bit over the next couple of months as things settle down and signups are complete, but the relative differences will almost certainly remain huge. Republican governors have been almost unanimously dedicated to sabotaging Obamacare and withholding health care from their own residents, and they've been successful. I hope they're proud of themselves.</p> </body></html> Kevin Drum Health Care The Right Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:03:20 +0000 Kevin Drum 249946 at http://www.motherjones.com LBJ Was Great. LBJ Was Horrible. Deal With It. http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/04/lbj-was-great-lbj-was-horrible-deal-it <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body> <p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_lbj_two_faces_0.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 20px 15px 30px;">David Greenberg and Michael Kazin are arguing about whether LBJ was a great president. <a href="http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117388/lbjs-legacy-why-we-need-hold-two-ideas-him-once" target="_blank">Here is Greenberg's wrap-up:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Maybe our differences really come down to this: For Michael, the enormity of the Vietnam debacle is so great that LBJ must remain forever confined to a historical doghouse. In contrast, I would submit that we have to hold both Johnson&rsquo;s great deeds and his terrible deeds in our minds at the same time. This uneasy position, I think, does more to invite or even demand continued attention to LBJ&rsquo;s presidency from historians. And it implies a moral verdict on the man that is, in my view, ultimately more unsettling than a tout court denial of any esteem for him whatsoever.</p> </blockquote> <p>Yes. A thousand times yes. There's no need to rate LBJ or any other president on a scale from 1 to 10. He was a great president in some areas and a terrible one in others. That's it. You can't put those two things in a blender and come to a single, homogenized conclusion, no matter how badly you want to.</p> <p>This isn't like Mussolini making the trains run on time, or Hitler building the autobahn, trivial achievements that simply don't bear on either man's place in history. LBJ's domestic achievements were gigantic. His foreign policy failures were equally gigantic. That's it. That's what happened, and that's who he is. We just have to live with it.</p> </body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 16 Apr 2014 15:43:49 +0000 Kevin Drum 249936 at http://www.motherjones.com In War, Truth Is the First Casualty http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/04/war-truth-first-casualty <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body> <p>David Herszenhorn reports that Tuesday marked yet another day of "bluster and hyperbole, of the misinformation, exaggerations, conspiracy theories, overheated rhetoric and, occasionally, outright lies" that have marked the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/16/world/europe/russia-is-quick-to-bend-truth-about-ukraine.html?hp&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">Russian response to the crisis in Ukraine:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>It is an extraordinary propaganda campaign that political analysts say reflects a new brazenness on the part of Russian officials. And in recent days, it has largely succeeded &mdash; at least for Russia&rsquo;s domestic audience &mdash; in painting a picture of chaos and danger in eastern Ukraine, although it was pro-Russian forces themselves who created it by seizing public buildings and setting up roadblocks.</p> <p>....To watch the television news in Russia is to be pulled into a swirling, 24-hour vortex of alarmist proclamations of Western aggression, sinister claims of rising fascism and breathless accounts of imminent hostilities by the &ldquo;illegal&rdquo; Ukrainian government in Kiev, which has proved itself in recent days to be largely powerless.</p> <p><strong>The Rossiya 24 news channel, for instance, has been broadcasting virtually nonstop with a small graphic at the bottom corner of the screen that says &ldquo;Ukrainian Crisis&rdquo; above the image of a masked fighter,</strong> set against the backdrop of the red-and-black flag of the nationalist, World War II-era Ukrainian Insurgent Army, which inflicted tens of thousands of casualties on Soviet forces.</p> <p>Over the course of several hours of coverage on Tuesday, Rossiya 24 reported that four to 11 peaceful, pro-Russian &ldquo;supporters of federalization&rdquo; in Ukraine were killed near the town of Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine when a mixed force of right-wing Ukrainians and foreign mercenaries strafed an airfield with automatic gunfire from helicopter gunships before landing and seizing control.</p> <p>In fact, on the ground, a small crowd of residents surrounded a Ukrainian commander who had landed at the airfield in a helicopter, and while there were reports of stones thrown and shots fired in the air, only a few minor injuries were reported with no signs of fatalities.</p> </blockquote> <p>Thank God we live in America, where this kind of thing doesn't happen.</p> </body></html> Kevin Drum International Media Wed, 16 Apr 2014 15:00:56 +0000 Kevin Drum 249926 at http://www.motherjones.com A Single Pot Plant Uses HOW Much Water?! http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/04/your-pot-habit-sucks-salmon <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body> <p>Like college sophomores philosophizing over bong hits late at night, the California North Coast's booming marijuana farms languish in the smoky haze of paradox. On the one hand, they're hyperregulated&mdash;that is to say, illegal (with the exception of farms licensed to grow for the medical trade).&nbsp;On the other hand, being illegal, they're essentially not regulated at all, as my colleague Josh Harkinson showed in a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/03/marijuana-weed-pot-farming-environmental-impacts" target="_blank">recent piece</a>.</p> <p>A rogue grower tending a plot on a California state park isn't worried about running afoul of state fish-and-wildlife authorities for illegally diverting a stream for irrigation. Instead, he's scrambling to avoid being busted on federal drug charges&mdash;and will thus grab any resource necessary to churn out a fast and plentiful pot harvest.</p> <p>And with California's drought <a href="http://www.water.ca.gov/news/newsreleases/2014/040114word.pdf">settling in for a long, hot summer</a>, that's bad news for ecosystems that rely on the state's increasingly scarce surface waters&mdash;including&nbsp;the once-prolific Northern California salmon run. A <a href="http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20140412/articles/140419825#page=0" target="_blank">recent article</a> in the Mendocino County <em>Press Democrat </em>shows just how dire things have gotten in the state's pot-farm-heavy "Emerald Triangle" (Mendocino, Humboldt, and Trinity counties).</p> <p>The piece looks at a forthcoming study from the California Fish and Wildlife Department on three key Emerald Triangle watersheds. Using satellite imagery, the researchers found that pot cultivation had skyrocketed in the areas since 2009,&nbsp;rising between 75 percent and 100 percent. The three watersheds contain an average of 30,000 pot plants each, they found. (Here's a <a href="http://srweb.sar.dc.publicus.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=SR&amp;Date=20140412&amp;Category=ARTICLES&amp;ArtNo=140419825&amp;Ref=EP&amp;NewTbl=1&amp;item=1&amp;MaxW=750&amp;border=0" target="_blank">nifty map</a>). And they're thirsty. According to the <em>Press Democrat, </em>"Researchers estimate each plant consumes 6 gallons of water a day. At that rate, the plants were siphoning off 180,000 gallons of water per day in each watershed&mdash;all together more than 160 Olympic-sized swimming pools over the average 150-day growing cycle for outdoor plants."</p> <p>Mind you, that's just in the three watersheds the researchers looked at. According to the <em>Press Democrat</em>, there are <a href="http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20140121/articles/140129912">more than 1 million pot plants in Mendocino alone</a>&mdash;not counting legal ones licensed for the medical market.</p> <p>Already, the region's salmon tributaries are under severe pressure&mdash;as many as 24 went dry last year, the <em>Press Democrat</em> reports. And even without the drought, there just isn't enough water available to keep the pot crop humming and the salmon moving along, state Fish and Wildlife Senior Environmental Scientist Scott Bauer told the paper.</p> <p>And water diversions aren't the only vice indulged in by large-scale pot growers. Last year, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board <a href="http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/northcoast/publications_and_forms/available_documents/pdf/2013/130611_MarijuanFactSheet.pdf">listed</a> a few others, including land-grading and dam-making that leads to stream-clogging erosion; wanton use of pesticides&mdash;most egregiously, wildlife-killing <a href="http://www.times-standard.com/ci_21075742/pot-farm-poison-study-find-marijuana-grows-likely" target="_blank">rat poison</a>; and "discarding of trash and haphazard management of human waste."</p> <p>Of course, like any other crop, pot <em>could</em> be grown in ecologically responsible ways. For example, "if growers collected all their water during the rainy season and stored it in permitted tanks or ponds&mdash;like many other farmers&mdash;marijuana's water consumption would not be such an issue," one environmental watchdog told the <em>Press Democrat</em>. And in dry years like this one, at least some pot fields could be fallowed, leaving more water for wildlife.</p> <p>But since pot farming is illegal, growers have little incentive to act as land stewards. Indeed, they tend to sneak onto&mdash;and trash&mdash;state and federal parkland to plant their illicit crop. If pot farms were legal, growers could be held accountable for their environmental footprint. As one activist told Harkinson for his <em>Mother Jones </em>story, "It is not the growers who are a disease. They are just a symptom. The real disease is the failed drug war."</p> <p>Of course, legal agriculture isn't a paragon of environmental responsibility, and criminal pot farms aren't the only operations wreaking water havoc in California. As I <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/04/california-drought-groundwater-drilling">wrote recently</a>, the state's ag-heavy Central Valley is currently in the midst of sucking dry its fossil water resources, driven largely by a boom in tree nut production and a near-complete lack of regulation of groundwater pumping. The situation has gotten so dire that even big farming interests, which have for decades fought back any pumping regulations, <a href="http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_25453902/california-drought-after-years-overpumping-groundwater-state-may" target="_blank">are openly considering the possible need for smarter water rules.</a></p> <p>But that debate can't even begin among pot growers&nbsp;until they can no longer hide in the shadows cast by the drug war.</p> </body></html> Tom Philpott Food and Ag Marijuana Top Stories Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:00:10 +0000 Tom Philpott 249876 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for April 16, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/04/were-still-war-photo-day-april-16-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/0416-630x354.jpg"></div> <div id="meta"> <div class="photo-desc" id="description_div"> <p class="rtecenter"><em>Marines with the Maritime Raid Force, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit prepare to enter the well deck aboard the USS San Diego during Amphibious Squadron Marine Expedtionary Unit Integration Training (PMINT) off the coast of San Diego, Calif. April 8, 2014. PMINT is the first at-sea event in the MEU&rsquo;s predeployment training program at which they have the opportunity to conduct amphibious based operations while embarked on a ship. (<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/marine_corps/13780839594/" target="_blank">U.S. Marine Corps photo</a> by Cpl. Demetrius Morgan/Released)</em></p> </div> </div> </body></html> MoJo Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:00:08 +0000 249836 at http://www.motherjones.com