Blogs | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en Greece Looks Screwed; China Looks In Trouble Too <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><a href="" target="_blank">From the <em>Financial Times</em>:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Hundreds of Chinese companies have halted trading in their shares as Beijing races to insulate the economy from the country&rsquo;s steepest equity decline in over two decades. <strong>The list of suspended companies has reached 760 over the past week, representing more than a quarter of all companies listed on the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges,</strong> according to the Securities Times, a paper published by the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.</p> <p>....Beijing has taken steps to keep stocks on China&rsquo;s two main indices afloat, including direct purchases of large-cap companies, a halt to initial public offerings, and a cut to trading fees. But so far its efforts have failed to staunch concerns. &ldquo;There is a panic but no matter how they [the authorities] jump in, this thing just doesn&rsquo;t stop falling,&rdquo; said Dong Tao, an economist at Credit Suisse.</p> </blockquote> <p>So it looks like panicky moves from the authorities aren't very effective at quelling panic in investors. I may have screwed up my Greece prediction, but at least I managed to get it right on this basic trait of human nature.</p> <p>And speaking of Greece, what's happening there? <a href="" target="_blank">The <em>Guardian</em> reports:</a></p> <blockquote> <p><strong>The Greek government has been told by its eurozone partners not to expect debt relief any time soon,</strong> amid fading hopes of decisive action to stop <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_greece_bank_lines.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">the country tumbling out of the currency union.</p> <p>....<strong>Greek banks are on the brink of running out of cash, </strong>but senior European figures are already dampening hopes of any breakthrough. &ldquo;What we are going to do today is to talk to each other and restore order,&rdquo; said the president of the European commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, adding that there would be no overnight solution.</p> <p>In a coordinated press statement, the leaders of France and Germany called on Greece to come up with &ldquo;serious and credible proposals&rdquo; at Tuesday&rsquo;s summit which are consistent with its wish to stay in the eurozone....&ldquo;We are not in the business of renegotiating debt,&rdquo; said Finland&rsquo;s finance minister, Alexander Stubb. &ldquo;That was already done in 2011 and 2012,&rdquo; referring to re-structuring of Greek debts that imposed heavy losses on private creditors.</p> </blockquote> <p>Basically, the rest of the eurozone is telling Greece to pound sand. No debt relief, no bank rescue, nothing. They will listen to a new Greek proposal, but that's it. And apparently Greece doesn't have one. Today's meeting has been postponed to Wednesday to give the Greeks more time to throw something together.</p> <p>And anyway, it looks like everyone is starting to give up on Greece. <a href="" target="_blank">The FT suggests</a> that EU lawyers are quietly looking for ways to allow Greece to exit the euro, an effort supported in private by nearly everyone. Publicly, however, no one wants to take the blame for precipitating Grexit. &ldquo;Everybody knows what the others should do, and do not want to do what the others expect them to do,&rdquo; said one senior eurozone official.</p> <p>That could be the eurozone's official motto for the next few weeks. Stay tuned.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 07 Jul 2015 15:01:27 +0000 Kevin Drum 279121 at Jared Fogle's Home Raided By the FBI for Child Pornography <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>On Tuesday, federal and state authorities <a href="" target="_blank">raided the home</a> of famed Subway spokesperson Jared Fogle as a part of a child pornography investigation.</p> <p>The raid at Fogle's Indiana home follows the April arrest of Russell Taylor on federal child pornography charges. Taylor served as the former director of Fogle's charity, the Jared Fogle Foundation, which was dedicated to combating childhood obesity.</p> <p>Around 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, agents were seen carrying electronics out of the Zionsville home where Fogle was also detained. A local <a href="" target="_blank">NBC affiliate</a> reports a mobile forensics van was seen analyzing the collected materials.</p> <p>Fogle, who became a nationally recognized figure after he lost more than 200 pounds while eating Subway sandwiches as a cornerstone of his diet 15 years ago, is reportedly worth <a href="" target="_blank">$15 million.</a> He is 37-years-old.</p> <p>Back in 2007, Fogle was accused of running a <a href="" target="_blank">porn industry rental service</a> from his dorm room when he was in college in the nineties. Subway officials dismissed those allegations about their spokesman, saying they had "no knowledge" of the report.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Crime and Justice Tue, 07 Jul 2015 14:24:17 +0000 Inae Oh 279111 at What Really Happened With Jesse Jackson's Reddit Appearance <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>You may have read about the situation at Reddit, the online community that devolved into mutinous turmoil after the firing of a popular employee last week. Well, I was pretty close to the center of the storm, and I can tell you that there's more to the story.</p> <p>The fired employee, Victoria Taylor, coordinated the "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) forum, where celebrities and regular people ranging from Bill Murray and President Obama to some random vacuum-cleaner repairman answer Redditors' questions in real time. In response to Taylor's dismissal, the site's army of volunteer moderators shut down hundreds of the discussion forums known as "subreddits," and while many of them have been revived, Redditors are now calling for the head of CEO Ellen Pao.</p> <p>Because Taylor was fired a day after overseeing a problematic <a href="" target="_blank">AMA with Jesse Jackson</a>, many Redditors <a href="" target="_blank">speculated</a> that the two events were connected. Reddit's leaders and Jackson's people both say otherwise. In any case, I should weigh in, because I was on the phone with Taylor and Jackson during that AMA. Here's what I know:</p> <p>One of the criticisms of the Jackson AMA was that, in some cases, his responses seemed out of sync with the questions. But this wasn't the standard AMA format, wherein an interviewee reads questions off the screen and types in answers directly. As often happens with other celebrity AMAs, Taylor selected Redditors' questions and asked them to Jackson live. She then transcribed his verbal responses and posted them on his behalf. Yet Jackson's AMA was even more complicated than usual because it was also one of the first in a forthcoming series of <em>video</em> AMAs to be released this fall. In this setup, he answered the questions in front of a camera in a ballroom in Los Angeles' Hyatt Century Plaza while Taylor communicated with him remotely from New York.</p> <p>The interview was meant to be an opportunity for Jackson to further discuss his diversity initiatives in Silicon Valley, which I'd covered in <a href="" target="_blank">this recent <em>Mother Jones</em> feature</a>. We suggested the AMA to him as a way to bring more attention to the issue&mdash;and to our piece. I was there in the Reddit feed during the AMA, identified as "Mother Jones," and also listening in on the call, where I helped Taylor identify questions relating to Jackson's work in the tech world. I could hear Jackson's verbal responses.</p> <p>From the beginning, Jackson attracted a lot of hostile questions. This happens all the time on Reddit, but it soon became clear that his critics on the thread outnumbered supporters. People on Reddit pages can "vote" comments up or down, with the most popular ones rising to the top. The most upvoted question began: "You are an immoral, hate-filled race baiter&hellip;" and went downhill from there. Another Redditor pointed out that at least one person posting to the AMA had also posted in a notoriously <a href="" target="_blank">racist</a> <a href="" target="_blank">subreddit</a>.</p> <p>Taylor asked Jackson the upvoted question despite its confrontational nature. It was hard to blame her, since Reddit does call it "Ask Me <em>Anything</em>." Jackson's response was criticized as rambling and nonsensical, and to an extent it was, but the critics may not have realized that he didn't hear the full question. Out of politeness, perhaps, Taylor had paraphrased it to omit the most incendiary language. It's also worth noting that Taylor's transcriptions, while generally accurate, were not verbatim.</p> <p>Some media accounts called the Jackson AMA a <a href="" target="_blank">"shitshow</a>," but by Reddit standards, <a href="" target="_blank">it wasn't all that unusual</a>. If you look past the awkwardness, there were some illuminating and <a href="" target="_blank">thoughtful</a> <a href="" target="_blank">responses</a> that were eventually elevated by other Reddit users. This is exactly what Taylor had predicted would happen. She is widely known and loved on the site as <a href="" target="_blank">someone who just "got" Reddit</a> and worked hard to listen to the community.</p> <p>So was the Jackson AMA reason enough to fire Taylor? Probably not. Taylor didn't return my call, but Reddit Chairman Alexis Ohanian told a colleague of mine on Thursday that Taylor's firing "has nothing to do with the Reverend's AMA." He later <a href="" target="_blank">said on Reddit</a>: "we're phasing out our role being in-between interesting people and the reddit audience so that we can focus on helping remarkable people become redditors, not just stop by on a press tour."</p> <p>A Jackson representative who helped coordinate the AMA told me last week that he wasn't even aware of Taylor's firing and had never complained to Reddit about how it went. That kind of trolling "is very typical for Rev. Jackson being online," he added. "We get that same Fox News/Hannity/Colmes/O'Reilly stuff almost every time."</p> <p>The Jackson rumor, however, is convenient for critics of CEO Pao, who now faces a <a href="" target="_blank">petition</a> signed by nearly 200,000 people calling for her removal. Pao is perhaps best known as the former Kleiner Perkins employee who unsuccessfully sued the venture capital firm for sex discrimination&mdash;a suit that in some ways dovetails with Jackson's efforts to diversify Silicon Valley. Pao has also made tolerance a priority at Reddit. She recently <a href="" target="_blank">banned five subreddits</a> dedicated to various forms of harassment, including one focused on racism. Reddit's trolls <a href="" target="_blank">responded</a> by flooding the site with content that harasses Pao.</p> <p>Pao admits she made a mistake in firing Taylor in the way that she did. The moderators "should have been told earlier about the transition and we should have provided more detail on the transition plan," she told NPR. It also might have helped to consider the proximity of the firing with the Jackson AMA&mdash;though had Pao done so, Reddit being Reddit, another conspiracy theory would undoubtedly have risen to take its place.</p></body></html> MoJo Race and Ethnicity Tech Top Stories jesse jackson reddit Tue, 07 Jul 2015 10:05:08 +0000 Josh Harkinson 279081 at Donald Trump Just Issued Another Insane Rant About Mexico <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Donald Trump is a dumb person who is dumb. For a very long time that dumbness didn't really come with consequences. He had his TV show and his hotels and a lot of fans in the Republican party. Sure, <em>people</em> knew he was a lunatic, but none of his corporate business partners really cared. That changed a few weeks ago when from his mouth biliously flowed some totally racist nonsense about <a href="" target="_blank">Mexicans being rapists</a>. Ever since the blow back from businesses newly ashamed of their association with Trump has been unflagging. Univision? Gone. Macy's? Gone. NBC? Gone.</p> <p>Today, Donald Trump <a href="" target="_blank">issued a statement aimed presumably to stop the bleeding.</a> It is insane and will not have the desired effect.</p> <p>Read it! Or don't. You don't have to read it. Read it if you enjoy reading insane ramblings. Don't read it if that isn't your cup of tea.</p> <blockquote><em>Statement from Donald J. Trump:</em> <p><em>I don&rsquo;t see how there is any room for misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the statement I made on June 16th during my Presidential announcement speech. Here is what I said, and yet this statement is deliberately distorted by the media:</em></p> <blockquote><em>&ldquo;When Mexico (meaning the Mexican Government) sends its people, they&rsquo;re not sending their best. They&rsquo;re not sending you (pointing to the audience). They&rsquo;re not sending you (pointing again). They&rsquo;re sending people that have lots of problems, and they&rsquo;re bringing those problems to us. They&rsquo;re bringing drugs.They&rsquo;re bringing crime. They&rsquo;re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people! But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we&rsquo;re getting. And it only makes common sense. They&rsquo;re sending us not the right people. It&rsquo;s coming from more than Mexico. It&rsquo;s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it&rsquo;s coming probably from the Middle East. But we don&rsquo;t know. Because we have no protection and we have no competence, we don&rsquo;t know what&rsquo;s happening. And it&rsquo;s got to stop and it&rsquo;s got to stop fast.&rdquo;</em></blockquote> <p><em>What can be simpler or more accurately stated? The Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States. They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc. This was evident just this week when, as an example, a young woman in San Francisco was viciously killed by a 5 time deported Mexican with a long criminal record, who was forced back into the United States because they didn&rsquo;t want him in Mexico. This is merely one of thousands of similar incidents throughout the United States. In other words, the worst elements in Mexico are being pushed into the United States by the Mexican government. The largest suppliers of heroin, cocaine and other illicit drugs are Mexican cartels that arrange to have Mexican immigrants trying to cross the borders and smuggle in the drugs. The Border Patrol knows this. Likewise, tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border. The United States has become a dumping ground for Mexico and, in fact, for many other parts of the world. On the other hand, many fabulous people come in from Mexico and our country is better for it. But these people are here legally, and are severely hurt by those coming in illegally. I am proud to say that I know many hard working Mexicans&mdash;many of them are working for and with me&hellip;and, just like our country, my organization is better for it.</em></p> <p><em>The Mexican Government wants an open border as long as it&rsquo;s a ONE WAY open border into the United States. Not only are they killing us at the border, but they are killing us on trade &hellip; and the country of Mexico is making billions of dollars in doing so.</em></p> <p><em>I have great respect for Mexico and love their people and their peoples&rsquo; great spirit. The problem is, however, that their leaders are far smarter, more cunning, and better negotiators than ours. To the citizens of the United States, who I will represent far better than anyone else as President, the Mexican government is not our friend&hellip;and why should they be when the relationship is totally one sided in their favor on both illegal immigration and trade. I have pointed this out during my speeches and it is something Mexico doesn&rsquo;t want me to say. In actuality, it was only after my significant rise in the polls that Univision, previously my friend, went ballistic. I believe that my examples of bad trade deals for the United States was of even more concern to the Mexican government than my talk of border security.</em></p> <p><em>I have lost a lot during this Presidential run defending the people of the United States. I have always heard that it is very hard for a successful person to run for President. Macy&rsquo;s, NBC, Serta and NASCAR have all taken the weak and very sad position of being politically correct even though they are wrong in terms of what is good for our country. Univision, because 70% of their business comes from Mexico, in my opinion, is being dictated to by the Mexican Government. The last thing Mexico wants is Donald Trump as President in that I will make great trade deals for the United States and will have an impenetrable border--only legally approved people will come through easily.</em></p> <p><em>Interestingly, Univision has just announced they are attempting to go public despite very poor and even negative earnings, which is not a good situation for a successful IPO or high stock price&mdash;not to mention that I am currently suing them for breach of contract. Remember, Univision is the one who began this charade in the first place, and they are owned by one of Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s biggest backers. After the speech was made, there were numerous compliments and indeed, many rave &ldquo;reviews&rdquo;&mdash;there was very little criticism. It wasn&rsquo;t until a week after my announcement that people started to totally distort these very easy to understand words. If there was something stated incorrectly, it would have been brought up immediately and with great enthusiasm.</em></p> <p><em>The issues I have addressed, and continue to address, are vital steps to Make America Great Again! Additionally, I would be the best jobs President that God ever created. Let&rsquo;s get to work!</em></p> </blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Mon, 06 Jul 2015 22:17:13 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 279096 at Today's Proposal In Legislative Transparency: You Amend It, You Own It <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Last week Wisconsin Republicans tried to sneak language into a budget bill that would have gutted the state's open records law. Sadly for them, they got caught and had to withdraw the proposal&mdash;which, Gov. Scott Walker hastily assured us, "was never intended to inhibit transparent government in any way." Uh huh.</p> <p>This kind of sleazy behavior is hardly uncommon, but there's one bit of it that's <a href="" target="_blank">equally common and even sleazier:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>State Republicans have refused to disclose who inserted the language into the budget legislation, which was approved late Thursday evening. Before dropping the provisions entirely, the governor's office said Friday it was considering changes to the proposals concerning public records law, but would not comment as to whether Walker was involved in the proposals in the first place.</p> </blockquote> <p>Here's <em>my</em> proposal for transparency in legislating: every change in every law has to be attributed to someone. There's no virgin birth here. <em>Someone</em> wrote this language. <em>Someone</em> asked that it be inserted. <em>Someone</em> agreed to insert it. You have to be pretty contemptuous of your constituents to clam up and pretend that no one knows where it came from.</p> <p>This kind of puerile buck-passing is way too common, and it needs to stop. Maybe if they knew their name was going to be attached, legislators would think twice before inserting egregiously self-serving crap like this.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 06 Jul 2015 21:37:26 +0000 Kevin Drum 279091 at Everyone Who Cheered On the US Women's Soccer Team Should See These Stats <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>When the US women's national team <a href="" target="_blank">routed</a> Japan in the World Cup finals Sunday, <a href="" target="_blank">more than 20 million viewers</a> tuned in, making it the most-watched soccer match ever in the United States. To put that in perspective, more Americans<strong>&nbsp;</strong>watched Sunday's matchup than <a href="" target="_blank">last year's men's World Cup championship</a> (roughly 17 million viewers) or all but Game 6 of this year's&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">NBA Finals</a>.</p> <p>Still, the amount of money earned by the entire women's field compared to what the men made in Brazil is striking. As Mary Pilon <a href="" target="_blank">points out</a> in <em>Politico</em>:&nbsp;</p> <blockquote> <p>&hellip;the total payout for the Women's World Cup this year will be $15 million, compared with the total for the men's World Cup last year of $576 million, nearly 40 times as much. That also means that the Women's World Cup payout is less than the reported $24 million to $35 million FIFA spent on its self-aggrandizing fiction film, <em>United Passions</em>.</p> </blockquote> <p>And that disparity trickles down to the women's champ: The USWNT will earn $2 million from the victory, nearly 18 times less than the German men's team received after winning the 2014 World Cup ($35 million). Even the US men's team, which was bounced in the round of 16 that year, earned $8 million.</p> <p>As <em>BuzzFeed</em>'s Lindsey Adler <a href="" target="_blank">writes</a>, "When the disparity in pay for women athletes versus men is raised, the argument often veers toward television ratings, with claims that women's sports are watched by significantly fewer people." Although that argument may not hold up for American audiences, it's worth noting that early viewership figures for this year's World Cup suggest that women's matches, though steadily attracting a global audience, are still far below that of the men's World Cup (<a href="" target="_blank">188 million</a> on average).</p> <p>FIFA <a href="" target="_blank">generated</a> much of its revenue between 2011 and 2014 from TV and marketing rights from the 2014 World Cup, and it remains to be seen how much money in commercial revenue the women's games will produce. (The men's World Cup <a href="" target="_blank">brought in $4 billion</a>.) So while the most recent ratings suggest that the popularity of the Women's World Cup at home and abroad is heading in a positive direction, it will take far more to close the<strong> </strong>money gap.</p></body></html> Mixed Media International Sex and Gender Sports Mon, 06 Jul 2015 21:36:28 +0000 Edwin Rios 279066 at South Carolina Senator Rants Against Gay Marriage During Vote on Confederate Flag Removal <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>In a historic 37-3 vote, members of South Carolina's Senate just <a href="" target="_blank">voted to remove</a> the Confederate flag from its statehouse grounds. Monday's vote followed hours of debate, with lawmakers overwhelmingly making the case to do away with the racist symbol once and for all.</p> <p>Perhaps confused by the subject at hand, Sen. Lee Bright used Monday's debate as an opportunity to voice his support in keeping the flag and dually attack the Supreme Court's <a href="" target="_blank">gay marriage decision</a> last month, not to mention the "abomination colors" showcased by the White House to celebrate the court's decision.</p> <p>"This nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and they are under assault by men in black robes who were not elected by you," Bright warned.</p> <p>"Our governor called us in to deal with the flag that sits out front, let's deal with the national sin that we face today!" <a href="" target="_blank">he continued.</a> "We talk about abortion but this gay marriage thing, I believe will be one nation gone under like President Reagan said. If we&rsquo;re not one nation under God, we&rsquo;ll be one nation gone under."</p> <p>With more biblical references and anti-LGBT ranting, Bright went onto urge his fellow lawmakers to continue flying the battle flag. It was a rare moment of crazy, perhaps even for his two fellow Confederate flag supporters, who likely knew they had only one fight to lose on Monday.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Gay Rights Race and Ethnicity Mon, 06 Jul 2015 21:16:03 +0000 Inae Oh 279086 at Rick Perry Reluctantly Accepts Gays in the Military <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>A month before the 2012 Iowa caucuses, then-Texas governor Rick Perry tried to save his flailing presidential campaign by tacking hard to the religious right. At the center of his effort was an <a href="" target="_blank">ad he released</a> in December 2011 titled "Strong," which opens with Perry looking at the camera and stating, "I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian, but you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school."</p> <p>The Rick Perry of the 2016 campaign is sporting a new look, between the Buddy Holly frames, the <a href="" target="_blank">speeches</a> demanding that his party reconcile itself with its history and appeal to African Americans, and the <a href="" target="_blank">denouncements</a> of Donald Trump's comments about immigrants. And on gay rights, while he's still far from marching in a pride parade&mdash;last month he <a href="" target="_blank">criticized</a> the Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide&mdash;Perry is singing a different tune on President Obama's repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. As <a href="" target="_blank">flagged</a> by <em>Bloomberg Politics</em>, Perry appeared Sunday on ABC's <em>This Week</em>, and when George Stephanopoulos asked if he stood by that ad, Perry sounded as though he still disliked the policy but was resigned to the fact that Don't Ask, Don't Tell wouldn't be restored. "I have no reason to think that is going to be able to be done," Perry said. "I think&mdash;you know, that clearly has already&mdash;you know, the horse is out of the barn."</p> <p>Watch Perry on <em>This Week</em>:</p> <p><iframe height="360" scrolling="no" src="" style="border:none;" width="640"></iframe><br><a href="">ABC US News</a> | <a href="">World News</a></p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Elections Gay Rights Military The Right Rick Perry Mon, 06 Jul 2015 18:49:02 +0000 Patrick Caldwell 279051 at There Are Things That Erode Public Trust in Science. Primordial Gravity Waves Aren't One of Them. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>I had to laugh just a little when <a href="" target="_blank">I read this last night:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Jan Conrad, an astroparticle physicist, claims that "The field has cried wolf too many times and lost credibility," and he worries that false discoveries are undermining public trust in science. He lists some dubious results which have caused a stir amongst physicists and the general public over the past couple of years, including the faster-than-light-neutrinos that weren&rsquo;t, <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_jetsons_flying_car.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">the primordial gravitational waves that are probably just dust, and several Dark Matter candidates which remain shrouded in uncertainty and contradiction.</p> </blockquote> <p>When nutritionists constantly change their minds about what's good or bad for us, <em>that</em> undermines public trust in science. This is because everyone eats, and stories about diet and nutrition are plastered all over TV, social media, blogs, magazines, newspapers, and every other form of human communication.</p> <p>But those primordial gravitational waves that are probably just dust? I'm here to assure you that 99.9 percent of the world doesn't give a shit. Most people have never heard of it. Most of the ones who have heard of it don't understand it. And almost by definition, most of the ones who <em>do</em> understand it have a pretty sophisticated understanding of the conditional nature of delicately measured new results in fields like astrophysics.</p> <p>So put me in the camp with Jon Butterworth, who wrote the linked article, and Chad Orzel, who argue that the very fact of releasing preliminary results and then correcting them if they turn out to be wrong is what distinguishes science from pseudoscience. Nor, as Butterworth points out, would it help to keep results under wraps until everything is neat and tidy. "As I said at the time regarding the false faster-than-light neutrinos, imagine the conspiracy claims if the data had been suppressed because it didn&rsquo;t fit Einstein&rsquo;s theory."</p> <p>All true. But really, the most important thing is simply that controversies on the bleeding edge of physics are of interest to only a tiny fraction of humanity, and most of them already know when and how to be skeptical. As for the rest of us, we just turn on our cell phones every day and marvel at how cool science is. Nothing about neutrinos or gravitational waves is going to change that.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 06 Jul 2015 18:05:02 +0000 Kevin Drum 279061 at A Reporter Reveals How the Press Treats Hillary Clinton <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>In what is obviously a carefully calculated bit of Bob Somerby bait, Jonathan Allen today reveals "the media's 5 unspoken rules for covering Hillary." <a href="" target="_blank">Here's the nickel summary:</a></p> <ol><li>Everything, no matter how ludicrous-sounding, is worthy of a full investigation by federal agencies, Congress, the "vast right-wing conspiracy," and mainstream media outlets.</li> <li>Every allegation, no matter how ludicrous, is believable until it can be proven completely and utterly false. And even then, it keeps a life of its own in the conservative media world.</li> <li>The media assumes that Clinton is acting in bad faith until there's hard evidence otherwise.</li> <li>Everything is newsworthy because the Clintons are the equivalent of America's royal family.</li> <li>Everything she does is fake and calculated for maximum political benefit.</li> </ol><p>Read the whole thing for all the details. Bottom line: "This is a problem for Clinton, and it seems unlikely to go away." Yes indeedy.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 06 Jul 2015 17:10:39 +0000 Kevin Drum 279056 at Food Irradiation: Great Technology, Lousy Name. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Roberto Ferdman interviews Jayson Lusk, an agricultural economist at Oklahoma State University, about why the public's aversion to GMO foods has stayed strong even as the scientific consensus has become nearly unanimous that GMO foods are safe. Toward the end, though, he finally get to <a href="" target="_blank">my hot button food issue:</a></p> <blockquote> <p><em>Can you think of other forms of technology that have overcome consumer fears?</em></p> <p>A perfect example is pasteurization in milk. At [first] it was very strange to people, and no one knew what to think about it. But today it&rsquo;s widely accepted and viewed as improving the safety of milk.</p> <p>Another one is microwaves. Everyone has them in their home today, but back in the 1970s it was close to zero. It took a bit for them to catch on, for people to warm up to them.</p> <p><strong>But then there are things like food irradiation that are <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_food_irradiation.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">perfectly safe but people seem to be permanently skeptical of.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Food irradiation! Dammit, Lusk is right: despite the fact that it includes the word "radiation," food irradiation is completely harmless. It's also really effective at killing the pathogens that cause all those periodic outbreaks of food poisoning you hear so much about. Irradiate your hamburger and you can safely cook it medium rare if you want. Irradiate your lettuce and worries about <em>e. coli</em> are a thing of the past. I wish someone made a cheap, personal food irradiation machine. I'd irradiate everything I ate. Unfortunately, irradiation machines tend to be the size of a dump truck and cost several million dollars, so that's not in the cards.</p> <p>Maybe the Japanese should get in on this. They're pretty good at miniaturizing things; they're pretty good at selling consumer tech; and they've got a huge domestic market of people who are gadget and technology crazy and probably aren't afraid of irradiated food. Although I could be wrong about that, what with Hiroshima in their past and Fukushima in their present.</p> <p>Anyway, food irradiation. It's cheap on an industrial scale, totally harmless, and makes your food safer. What's not to like?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 06 Jul 2015 16:00:31 +0000 Kevin Drum 279046 at California Should Allow Physician-Aided Suicide <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Greece has pressed the self-destruct button, and no one knows what will happen next. Here in California, we are debating whether to <em>create</em> a self-destruct button, and no one knows what will happen next.</p> <p>(Did you like that segue? Huh? Did you?)</p> <p>In California's case, the self-destruct button comes in the form of SB 128, and it is both <a href="" target="_blank">more personal and more literal than Greece's:</a></p> <blockquote> <p><strong>The measure, which would allow terminally ill people to end their lives with a doctor's help,</strong> passed the Senate last month on essentially a party-line vote, 23-15 &mdash; Democrats for, Republicans against.</p> <p>Because the bill whips up emotion about morality based on religious beliefs and raises questions concerning medical ethics, it makes many legislators uncomfortable politically and personally.</p> <p>The proposal is slated for its first Assembly hearing Tuesday in the Health Committee. But sponsors say it's short two to five votes. Ten are needed to clear the 19-member panel.</p> <p><strong>A handful of Southern California Democrats, mostly Latinos under pressure from the Catholic Church, are withholding support.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Great. Yet another reason for me to be revolted by the Catholic Church. If they believe that suicide is a sin, that's fine. They should forbid suicide among Catholics. But I'm not Catholic, and it's no sin for me. So go mind your own business, folks, and represent the will of all Californians, who overwhelmingly support bringing our state into the 21st century. There is no excuse for forcing terminal patients to endure excruciating pain for months if they don't want to. It's time to put the Dark Ages behind us.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 06 Jul 2015 15:06:14 +0000 Kevin Drum 279041 at Guitarist and Songwriter Richard Thompson's 'Still' Got It <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Richard Thompson<br><em>Still</em><br> Fantasy</strong></p> <p>Richard Thompson's latest album closes on an uncharacteristically sweet note with "Guitar Heroes," a jaunty, nearly eight-minute ode to the players who initially inspired him, namely, Chuck Berry, Django Reinhardt, Les Paul, James Burton, and The Shadows' Hank Marvin. This nostalgic salute is the only hint of advancing age on the typically stellar <em>Still</em>. While the production credit for Wilco's Jeff Tweedy might bring Thompson to the attention of some new listeners, he's really just doing the same thing he's done so well for more than four decades. Longtime fans know that means spiky rockers ("All Buttoned Up") and melancholy original ballads that sound like traditional English folk songs ("She Never Could Resist a Winding Road"), infused with rueful humor and marked by stirring vocals and virtuoso guitar, especially those scorching electric solos that make your jaw drop. Still, indeed: The talented Mr. Thompson has rarely been better.</p></body></html> MoJo Music Mon, 06 Jul 2015 10:00:16 +0000 Jon Young 278886 at Greece's Big Fat No <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>It appears that the Greek referendum is headed toward a landslide No vote. With about half of the votes counted as I write this, the No vote is very strongly in the lead and Greece's interior ministry has released an official projection <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_greece_oxi.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 25px 0px 15px 30px;">showing the No side winning 61 percent of the vote.</p> <p>There are a couple of takeaways from this. First, I obviously don't know squat about the Greek temperament. Let's see now. What exactly is it that I said a few days ago? Oh yes, <a href="" target="_blank">here it is:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>In the end, the Greek public will be unwilling to back Tsipras in Sunday's referendum and will vote to accept the European deal as is. The potential catastrophe of default and leaving the euro is just too scary for most of them to contemplate....So that's my prediction. Unless Tsipras caves completely beforehand, the referendum will be held on Sunday and Greeks will vote to stay in the euro and accept Germany's terms. It will basically be an unconditional surrender.</p> </blockquote> <p>In technical terms, that was totally fucking wrong. Instead of caving in, the Greeks told Europe to take a hike. They refused to accept the austerity plan put in front of them and instead voted to support prime minister Alexis Tsipras's effort to demand better terms. In general, that means they want Europe to (a) offer debt relief, (b) permit the Greek government to pass a higher budget supported by higher taxes; and (c) go a little easier on pension cuts.</p> <p>The second takeaway is....oh forget it. Why listen to me anymore after this predictive debacle? Anyway, I don't think anyone even knows what's next now. Tsipras obviously has a vote of confidence and will stay in power. Angela Merkel and the rest of the Troika will have to decide whether to make a few concessions or simply refuse and let Greece twist in the wind. I honestly have no idea what they'll choose. And the ECB will have to decide whether to keep Greece's banks on life support for a while longer.</p> <p>Stay tuned. It's going to be a fascinating few weeks for those of us who don't actually live in Greece and have to personally face the possibility of economic catastrophe.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sun, 05 Jul 2015 18:56:46 +0000 Kevin Drum 279036 at Happy Independence Day! <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Jeez, what am I doing, blogging about serious stuff today? Well, that's it. I'm going to go clean the grill or watch a parade or do something else that's date appropriate. Have a happy 4th, everyone!</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_flags.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 5px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 04 Jul 2015 17:15:39 +0000 Kevin Drum 279031 at Obamacare Rates May Be Going Up Significantly in 2016 -- Or Maybe Not <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The <em>New York Times</em> reports that insurers are asking for <a href=";action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;module=first-column-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news" target="_blank">significant rate increases for 2016:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans &mdash; market leaders in many states &mdash; are seeking rate increases that average 23 percent in Illinois, 25 percent in North Carolina, 31 percent in Oklahoma, 36 percent in Tennessee and 54 percent in Minnesota....The rate requests, from some of the more popular health plans, <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_obamacare_laptop.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">suggest that insurance markets are still adjusting to shock waves set off by the Affordable Care Act.</p> <p><strong>It is far from certain how many of the rate increases will hold up on review, or how much they might change.</strong> But already the proposals, buttressed with reams of actuarial data, are fueling fierce debate about the effectiveness of the health law.</p> <p>....Insurers with decades of experience and brand-new plans underestimated claims costs. <strong>&ldquo;Our enrollees generated 24 percent more claims than we thought they would when we set our 2014 rates,&rdquo;</strong> said Nathan T. Johns, the chief financial officer of Arches Health Plan, which covers about one-fourth of the people who bought insurance through the federal exchange in Utah. As a result, the company said, it collected premiums of $39.7 million and had claims of $56.3 million in 2014. It has requested rate increases averaging 45 percent for 2016.</p> <p><strong>The rate requests are the first to reflect a full year of experience with the new insurance exchanges and federal standards that require insurers to accept all applicants.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>I'd continue to counsel caution until we get further into the process. Big rate increase requests have been the opening bids from insurance companies for years, and they usually get knocked down to something much more reasonable by the time the regulatory process is finished. It's also the case that if lots of young people have been paying the tax penalty instead of getting insured, that might change as the penalty goes up. It was $95 in 2014, went up to $325 this year, and goes up to $695 in 2016. At some point, more and more of these folks are going to decide that they really ought to get something for their money instead of just paying a penalty to the IRS, and that will help broaden the insurance pool.</p> <p>Still, the bottom line here is that credible evidence is growing that we might see biggish rate increases in 2016. They won't be the monster increases that Fox News will be hyping endlessly, but they might be bigger than us liberal types expected. We'll know in a few months.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 04 Jul 2015 17:10:38 +0000 Kevin Drum 279026 at On Independence Day, Pentagon Shows Off Some Real Fireworks <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_bunker_buster_0.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">From W.J. Hennigan on the <a href="" target="_blank">front page of this morning's <em>LA Times</em>:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>As diplomats rush to reach an agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program, the U.S. military is stockpiling conventional bombs so powerful that strategists say they could cripple Tehran's most heavily fortified nuclear complexes, including one deep underground....U.S. officials say the huge bombs, which have never been used in combat, are a crucial element in the White House deterrent strategy and contingency planning should diplomacy go awry and Iran seek to develop a nuclear bomb.</p> <p>....U.S. officials have publicized the new bomb partly to rattle the Iranians. Some Pentagon officials warned not to underestimate U.S. military capabilities even if the bunker-busters can't eliminate Iran's nuclear program. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, suggested at the same Pentagon news conference Thursday that airstrikes might be ordered multiple times if Iran tries to build a bomb.</p> </blockquote> <p>The usual questions present themselves. (1) This is obviously a piece that was spoon-fed to the press. Why now? (2) Who is it targeted at? Iran, or our allies? Or Israel? (3) Is it credible? Does anyone truly believe that Obama will bomb Iran if talks fail? (4) Credible or not, does this kind of saber rattling do more harm than good? Discuss.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 04 Jul 2015 16:20:00 +0000 Kevin Drum 279021 at China Halts IPOs in Peculiar Attempt to Prop Up Stock Market <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The latest from China, where the <a href="" target="_blank">stock market continues to plummet:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>China has decided to suspend new stock sales and establish a market-stabilization fund aimed at fighting off the worst equities selloff in years, as concerns grow among China&rsquo;s leadership that the stock-market malaise could be spreading to the other parts of the world&rsquo;s second-largest economy.</p> <p>...Previous steps including an interest-rate cut by the central bank have failed to impress investors, many of whom have been forced to unwind their leveraged bets as stocks continue to drop.</p> <p><strong>Chief among the decisions made is to halt new initial public offerings</strong> in a bid to preserve liquidity in an increasingly volatile market, the people said. Officials also discussed the setup of a market-stabilization fund.</p> </blockquote> <p>Another odd move that I don't entirely understand. Do IPOs reduce market liquidity in any significant way? Put another way: Am I missing something here, or is this just another panicky move by the Chinese authorities that's unlikely to make things better?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 04 Jul 2015 16:05:20 +0000 Kevin Drum 279016 at Friday Cat Blogging - 3 July 2015 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Today you get a very special episode of Friday Catblogging. It's a movie! I made it with my shiny new Surface 3, and although it's not the <em>greatest</em> catblogging movie ever made, it does prove the old adage: any camera you have is better than any camera you don't. So sit back and enjoy Hopper using her passive-aggressive defensive skills to keep Hilbert at bay. Our show takes place atop the fireplace mantel, everyone's favorite new place these days.</p> <p>Have a great 4th, everyone. See you next week.</p> <p><iframe align="middle" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" style="margin: 20px 20px 15px 40px;" width="550"></iframe></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 03 Jul 2015 17:36:11 +0000 Kevin Drum 279011 at Greek Media Really, Really Wants Yes Vote On Euro-Bailout <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Henry Chu of the <em>LA Times</em> reports on how the Greek media is presenting <a href="" target="_blank">Sunday's upcoming vote on the bailout:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Strong emotions are in abundant supply. But impartial reporting is not.</p> <p>Along with Skai TV, nearly all the mainstream press and television stations in Greece have skewed their coverage or are openly in favor of the "yes" campaign, throwing in doubt just how fair Sunday's election will <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_tsipras_oxi.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">be. The snap referendum has already come under criticism for being called with too little notice by the left-wing Greek government &mdash; which is urging a "no" vote &mdash; to allow for proper campaigning and educating of voters.</p> <p>....In a widely circulated examination of how the six biggest TV networks treated the rival referendum rallies Monday and Tuesday, freelance journalist Markos Petropoulos found that <strong>the pro-government "no" demonstration got about 81/2 minutes of coverage, whereas the "yes" protest received more than five times that much.</strong></p> <p>In another newscast, one network devoted 18 minutes to warnings and statements from European leaders about the breakdown of bailout negotiations with Athens and the surprise referendum announcement that had precipitated it. The Greek government's position got two minutes.</p> <p><strong>The bias toward the "yes" side reflects the fact that many of Greece's biggest news outlets are owned by corporate titans and other "oligarchs" whose business interests would be directly threatened by a "no" victory and the potential abandonment of the euro in favor of the drachma,</strong> [Nikolas] Leontopoulos said.</p> </blockquote> <p>I suppose it's no surprise that Greece's corporate class is deeply unthrilled by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras's leftist government, and would be happy to see him humiliated and tossed out of office. I assume that they also prefer the devil they know&mdash;grinding European-imposed austerity for years&mdash;to the devil they don't&mdash;exiting the euro amid chaos and eventually rebuilding their economy with a devalued drachma. After all, they'll stay rich either way, and sticking with their fellow European moguls probably seems the better bet by far.</p> <p>Less than 48 hours to go now.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 03 Jul 2015 15:58:29 +0000 Kevin Drum 279006 at Bobby Jindal Really, Really, Really Hates Gay Marriage <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_jindal_flag.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;"><a href="" target="_blank">From <em>The Advocate</em>:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>After three courts told him he had to, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal will finally allow his administration to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples today.</p> <p>....Jindal's administration argued it's possible the Supreme Court's ruling didn't apply to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, where Louisiana had been defending its statewide ban....On Wednesday, the circuit court actually went through the motion of confirming the Supreme Court has jurisdiction over it.</p> <p>....But Jindal's administration jumped on that as reason to delay even further. The Fifth Circuit technically sent the case back to the lower, district court where its earlier ruling in favor of the state had to be corrected. The <em>New Orleans Times-Picayune</em> reported that Jindal's spokesman said no same-sex couple would be recognized until the district court formally reversed itself. And so it did that today."</p> </blockquote> <p>I've seen several people wondering why Jindal wasted time with this, since he knew perfectly well what the outcome would be. The answer is obvious: He's trying to position himself as the most tea-partyish, most anti-Obama, most combative conservative in the Republican field. So this is basically brand marketing. Republican voters now know that <em>no one</em> will stand up for traditional values as strongly as Bobby Jindal. Message sent and received.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 03 Jul 2015 15:05:16 +0000 Kevin Drum 279001 at Obama Just Came Out Hard Against the Washington Football Team’s Racist Name <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>In an irony that will surely be lost on team owner Dan Snyder, the <a href="" target="_blank">Washington Redskins</a> are being kicked off their land.</p> <p>From the <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Washington Post</em></a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser this spring that the National Park Service, which owns the land beneath Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, was unlikely to accommodate construction of a new stadium for the Redskins unless the team changes its name.</p> <p>Jewell&nbsp;oversees both national park land and America's trust and treaty relationships with Native American tribes.</p> <p>Her decision not to extend the District's lease of the RFK land badly hinders Bowser's bid to return the Redskins to D.C.&mdash;and boosts efforts to lure the team across the Potomac to Northern Virginia.</p> </blockquote> <p>Jewell, who has been an <a href="" target="_blank">outspoken critic</a> of the team's <a href="" target="_blank">controversial</a> name, added that adjusting the federal lease on the property, which doesn't expire for another 22 years, is "not likely to be a priority for the administration." The team's owner Dan Snyder, who <a href="" target="_blank">has vowed</a> to never change the team's name, has <a href="" target="_blank">long been interested</a> in building a new stadium in the DC area.</p> <p>There's actually a great precedent for this. As <a href="" target="_blank">we explained in 2013</a>,</p> <blockquote>The showdown began in 1961, when John F. Kennedy's interior secretary, Stewart Udall, who'd committed to ending segregation anywhere in his sphere of influence, declared his intent to break pro football's last color bar...The call for integration was met with opposition, most notably from the team's owner, George Preston Marshall, a laundromat magnate turned NFL bigwig who had held firm for years. Udall had one advantage over Marshall: The team's new home field, DC Stadium (later renamed RFK Memorial), was federal property. With Kennedy's approval, Udall gave Marshall a choice: He could let black players on his team, or take his all-white squad to someone else's gridiron."</blockquote> <p>Don't worry, Washington fans: There's always <a href="" target="_blank">Virginia</a> (or stay in Maryland).</p></body></html> MoJo Race and Ethnicity Sports Thu, 02 Jul 2015 23:06:58 +0000 Edwin Rios 278991 at China Adopts an Unusual Approach to Fighting a Stock Market Crash <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_shanghai_stock_market.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Hum de hum hum. Greece is in trouble. Puerto Rico too. <a href="" target="_blank">And don't forget China:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Chinese shares plunged Thursday, even as Beijing grasps for solutions to stem the selling, including relaxing rules on the use of borrowed funds to invest in stocks....The Shanghai Composite closed down 3.5% while the smaller Shenzhen market was down 5.6%. The ChiNext board, composed of small-cap stocks, sank 4%. <strong>Even after losing nearly a quarter of its value from a mid-June high, China&rsquo;s main stock market has almost doubled in value over the past year.</strong></p> <p>....In a rare move late Wednesday, <strong>Chinese regulators set in motion draft proposals to ease restrictions on margin lending earlier than scheduled</strong>....Regulators&rsquo; sudden shift in attitude about margin trading comes after vocal warnings about its risks in recent months. In April, regulators took various steps to rein in the practice, which had allowed investors to borrow several times their investment money.</p> </blockquote> <p>Inscrutable, those Chinese. Their stock market is crashing so they're promoting an <em>increase</em> in margin trading. That's sort of like lighting a tree on fire when it gets dark outside and all your flashlights are dead. It'll work. For a while. But it's really not considered best practice.</p> <p>Then again, maybe there's something I don't understand here. All I know is that panicky measures to halt a panic don't usually work. And the Chinese stock market still has a long way to fall. I sure hope they figure something out.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 02 Jul 2015 18:38:58 +0000 Kevin Drum 278966 at The Combined Black Workforces of Google, Facebook, and Twitter Could Fit on a Single Jumbo Jet <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>We already knew that Google, Facebook, and Twitter <a href="" target="_blank">employed relatively few African Americans</a>, but new details show that the gap is truly striking. All three companies have disclosed their full <a href="" target="_blank">EEO1 reports</a>, detailed accounts of their employees' race and gender demographics that the law requires them to submit to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The reports show that out of a combined 41,000 Twitter, Facebook, and Google employees, only 758, or 1.8 percent, are black. To put this in perspective, all of those workers could fit onto <a href="" target="_blank">a single Airbus A380</a>. Have a look:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="225" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="//" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>African Americans comprise 13 percent of the overall workforce, which means they are underrepresented at Google, Facebook, and Twitter by a factor of 7. Here's a visual comparison of the black employees&hellip;</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/single-airplane.gif"></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>versus all other employees:</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/lots-of-airplanes2.gif"></div> <p>Race and gender gaps in tech hiring have been hot-button issues as of late. Since last May, when Rev. Jesse Jackson showed up at Google's shareholder meeting, <a href="" target="_blank">he has won some serious diversity concessions from major tech companies</a>&mdash;but the pace of minority hiring remains slow. <a href="" target="_blank">As the <em>Guardian</em> noted yesterday</a>, Facebook hired 1,216 new people last year, and only 36 were black. Since last year, the percentage of black Google workers <a href="" target="_blank">has not changed</a>.</p> <p>It should be easier to shift workplace demographics at smaller companies. Twitter, with fewer than 3,000 employees in 2014, has a huge black user base that is sometimes referred to as "<a href="" target="_blank">Black Twitter</a>." Jackson wants the company to do more to move the needle. "I am very disappointed," he told <em>the Guardian</em>. "We are becoming intolerant with these numbers. There's a big gap between their talk and their implementation."</p> <p><em>Airplane image: <a href=";i=15251" target="_blank">Anthony Lui/Noun Project</a></em></p> <p><em>Correction: An early version of this story misstated the number of black employees at Google and incorrectly suggested that Twitter had released its 2015 EEO1 report. Mother Jones regrets the errors.</em></p></body></html> MoJo Charts Race and Ethnicity Tech Top Stories Thu, 02 Jul 2015 18:00:41 +0000 Josh Harkinson 278916 at America's BBQ Grills Create as Much Carbon as a Big Coal Plant <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>As your neighbors fire up their barbecues this Independence Day, the most popular day in America to grill, they won't just send the scent of tri-tip or grilled corn over the fence in your direction&mdash;they'll also send smoke. As my colleague Kiera Butler wrote about <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>, even the "cleanest" gas grills emit pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every hour they're used. So how many emissions can we expect from dinner barbecues on the 4th?</p> <p>Roughly eighty percent of American households own barbecues or smokers, <a href="" target="_blank">according to the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association</a>. Let's say all 92.5 million of them decide to grill on Saturday. A 2013 study by HPBA found that 61 percent of users opted for gas grills, 42 percent for charcoal, and 10 percent for electric (some respondents had multiple grills). If that reflected all households across the United States, and each household used <a href=";cd=1&amp;hl=en&amp;ct=clnk&amp;gl=us" target="_blank">its grill for an hour</a> on the 4th of July, then we'd get a calculation like this:</p> <p>(56.425M gas grills*5.6 pounds of CO2) + (38.85M charcoal grills*11 pounds CO2) + (9.25M electric grills*15 pounds CO2 ) = <strong>882 million pounds of CO2</strong></p> <p>That's <a href="" target="_blank">roughly as many</a> emissions as burning 2145 railcars of coal, or running one coal-fired power plant for a month.</p> <p>But let's be honest&mdash;no one wants to give up summer grilling, and these emissions stats probably won't convince your neighbor to turn off the barbecue. You might instead offer up ideas on recipes with ingredients that are friendlier to the planet&mdash;like these <a href="" target="_blank">4 veggie burgers that don't suck</a>.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Climate Change Energy Food and Ag Science Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:48:53 +0000 Maddie Oatman 278911 at