Blogs | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/Blogs/kevin%20drum http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en Voter's Boyfriend to Obama: "Mr. President, Don't Touch My Girlfriend" http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/10/mr-president-dont-touch-my-girlfriend <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>President Barack Obama was in Chicago on Monday to cast an <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/21/politics/obama-early-voting-jokes/index.html" target="_blank">early vote</a> for the midterm elections. He did so while standing next to fellow voter Aia Cooper. Cooper's boyfriend, who was also standing nearby, issued a remarkable warning to the president:</p> <p>"Mr. President, don't touch my girlfriend."</p> <p>With Cooper laughing, but clearly mortified, the exchange that follows is just priceless. (Well played, Mr. President.) Watch below:</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="357" src="http://www.cnn.com/video/api/embed.html#/video/politics/2014/10/21/newday-ip-obama-votes-joke.cnn" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> Mixed Media Video Obama Tue, 21 Oct 2014 19:11:10 +0000 Inae Oh 262971 at http://www.motherjones.com Elizabeth Warren Demands An Investigation Of Mortgage Companies http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/elizabeth-warren-nonbank-mortgage-servicer <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Monday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called on the Government Accountability Office to investigate non-bank companies that service Americans' mortgages, <a href="http://democrats.oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/documents/2014-10-20%20EEC%20%26%20EW%20to%20GAO%20re%20Non-Bank%20Servicers_0.pdf" target="_blank">noting in a letter</a> co-signed by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) that an increasing number of lawsuits has been filed in recent years against these firms&mdash;which are not regulated as strictly as banks.</p> <p>Mortgage servicers, whether they are owned by banks or not, handle mortgages after they've been sold to a customer. That means they take care of administrative business including collecting mortgage payments and dealing with delinquent borrowers. What Warren and Cummings are worried about is that the share of non-banks servicing mortgages has grown astronomically&mdash;300 percent between 2011 and 2013&mdash;and it appears that the increased workload has led to shoddier service.</p> <p>The rise of the industry, which typically services <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/30/us-mortgage-servicers-lending-idUSKBN0FZ1EY20140730" target="_blank">lower-income borrowers</a>, "has been accompanied by consumer complaints, lawsuits, and other regulatory actions as the servicers' workload outstrips their processing capacity," according to a recent report by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Last December, for instance, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau&mdash;the agency Warren helped create&mdash;entered a $2 billion settlement with the nation's largest non-bank servicer over mortgage mismanagement. Financial industry watchdogs and consumer advocates have <a href="http://online.wsj.com/articles/fhfa-inspector-general-cites-risks-on-nonbank-mortgage-servicers-1404187344" target="_blank">charged</a> that the non-bank home loan servicing companies are often unwilling to work with troubled borrowers to modify mortgages and prevent foreclosures.</p> <p>In their letter, Warren and Cummings also urge the Government Accountability Office to investigate how consumers might be harmed in the event that a large non-bank servicer collapses during a economic downturn. Non-bank mortgage companies are not subject to the regulations governing banks that perform the same functions, such as the requirement that they hold onto a certain amount of emergency funds in case of a financial collapse.</p></body></html> MoJo Corporations Economy Regulatory Affairs Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:12:28 +0000 Erika Eichelberger 262961 at http://www.motherjones.com Rwanda Hits Back at America's Ebola Paranoia http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/rwanda-ebola-americans-screening <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Rwanda will be begin <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/10/21/rwanda-united-statees-ebola-screening/17653947/" target="_blank">screening</a> all Americans entering the country for Ebola, regardless if they're exhibiting symptoms or not, government officials in the East African nation announced Tuesday. Coincidence? The new measure comes just days after <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/ebola-america-panic-hysteria" target="_blank">two Rwandan students </a>were denied enrollment at a New Jersey school over Ebola fears, even though Rwanda has had zero cases of Ebola. The United States, on the other hand, has had three confirmed cases. Rwanda is also more than <a href="http://www.nj.com/burlington/index.ssf/2014/10/amid_ebola_fears_students_from_africa_kept_home_in_south_jersey.html" target="_blank">2,500 miles</a> from the closest Ebola outbreak in West Africa.</p> <p>The US Embassy in Rwanda <a href="http://rwanda.usembassy.gov/mobile//sm-102114.html" target="_blank">explains the situation: </a></p> <blockquote> <p>On October 19, the Rwandan Ministry of Health introduced new Ebola Virus Disease screening requirements. Visitors who have been in the United States or Spain during the last 22 days are now required to report their medical condition&mdash;regardless of whether they are experiencing symptoms of Ebola&mdash;by telephone by dialing 114 between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. for the duration of their visit to Rwanda (if less than 21 days), or for the first 21 days of their visit to Rwanda. Rwandan authorities continue to deny entry to visitors who traveled to Guinea, Liberia, Senegal, or Sierra Leone within the past 22 days.</p> </blockquote> <p>Although there's no way to tell if the screenings are indeed motivated by retaliation for the ignorant panic displayed by the New Jersey school, this sure is an interesting turn of events.</p></body></html> MoJo Health Tue, 21 Oct 2014 15:40:55 +0000 Inae Oh 262946 at http://www.motherjones.com Everything You Need to Know About Ebola in America, in One Fantastic Quote http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/ebola-america-one-sentence-pan <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><a href="http://www.cleveland.com/akron/index.ssf/2014/10/man_not_worried_about_ebola_af.html" style="line-height: 2em;" target="_blank">Meet a man made of very stern stuff indeed</a><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 2em;">:</span></p> <blockquote> <p>Peter Pattakos spent 20 minutes Saturday in an Akron bridal shop, getting fitted for a tux for his friend's wedding. Thursday, his friend sent a text message, telling him that Ebola patient Amber Joy Vinson had been in the store around the same time.</p> <p>[...]</p> <p>Pattakos, 36, a Cleveland attorney who lives in Bath Township, called the health department, which told him to call back if he exhibits any Ebola symptoms. He called a doctor, who told him not to worry.</p> <p>"I didn't exchange any bodily fluids with anyone, so I'm not worried about it," he said. "I'm much more likely to be mistakenly killed by a police officer in this country than to be killed by Ebola, even if you were in the same bridal shop."</p> </blockquote> <p>Yep.</p></body></html> MoJo Ebola Tue, 21 Oct 2014 03:13:21 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 262936 at http://www.motherjones.com Elizabeth Warren Was on Fire This Weekend. Here Were Her 5 Best Lines. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/elizabeth-warren-was-fire-weekend-here-were-her-5-best-lines <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>It's good to be Elizabeth Warren. The senior senator from Massachusetts spent her weekend campaigning for Democrats in <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/10/18/warren-in-minnesota-the-game-is-rigged/" target="_blank">Minnesota</a>, <a href="http://www.denverpost.com/election2014/ci_26750364/elizabeth-warren-helps-launch-udall-bus-tour-ignite" target="_blank">Colorado</a>, and <a href="http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2014/10/19/elizabeth-warren-stumps-for-bruce-braley-in-iowa/17579175/" target="_blank">Iowa</a>, and by all accounts, she tore it up, and got <a href="http://www.denverpost.com/election2014/ci_26750364/elizabeth-warren-helps-launch-udall-bus-tour-ignite" target="_blank">more than a few calls</a> to run for president. (Breaking: <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/10/18/warren-in-minnesota-the-game-is-rigged/" target="_blank">she still insists</a> she isn't going to.) These were some of her biggest red-meat lines from the campaign trail:</p> <p><strong>1. "<a href="http://www.southernminn.com/northfield_news/news/local/article_c4b42b9a-155d-5f07-acdc-0bae1e04a6b9.html" target="_blank">The game is rigged, and the Republicans rigged it.</a> </strong>We can whine, we can whimper or we can fight back, and we&rsquo;re here to fight back. We know what we&rsquo;re fighting for and what we&rsquo;re up against. We&rsquo;ve got our voices, or votes and our willingness to fight. This is about democracy, about your future, and about the kind of country we want to build.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>2. <a href="http://www.radioiowa.com/2014/10/19/elizabeth-warren-urges-iowa-democrats-to-fight-back-in-2014-audio/" target="_blank">"[W]ho does this government work for?</a></strong>&hellip;Does it work just for the millionaires, just for the billionaires, just for those who have armies of lobbyists and lawyers or does it work for the people? That&rsquo;s the question in this race.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>3. "<a href="http://www.denverpost.com/election2014/ci_26750818/elizabeth-warren-helps-launch-udall-bus-tour-ignite" target="_blank">Republicans believe this country should work for those who are rich</a></strong>, those who are powerful, those who can hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers."</p> <p><strong>4. <a href="http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2014/10/19/elizabeth-warren-stumps-for-bruce-braley-in-iowa/17579175/" target="_blank">When conservatives came to power in the 1980s, the first thing they did was "fire the cops on Wall Street. </a></strong>They called it deregulation. But what it really meant was have at 'em boys. They were saying in effect to the biggest financial institutions: Any way you can trick or trap or fool anybody into signing anything, man, you can just rake in the profits."</p> <p><strong>5. <a href="http://www.radioiowa.com/2014/10/19/elizabeth-warren-urges-iowa-democrats-to-fight-back-in-2014-audio/" target="_blank">"They ought to be wearing a T-shirt [that says]...'I got mine. The rest of you are on your own.' </a></strong>We can hang back, we can whine about what the Republicans have done&hellip;or we can fight back. Me, I&rsquo;m fighting back!"</p> <p>Contrast Warren's rock star treatment with the President's reception this weekend: he spoke at a campaign event in Maryland, and attendees <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/19/us-usa-politics-obama-idUSKCN0I80V320141019" target="_blank">filed out as soon as he started speaking</a>. Obama is being <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/run-midterms-obama-scarce-campaign-trail/story?id=26155808" target="_blank">kept at arms' length</a> in close races&mdash;Warren, on the other hand, <a href="http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/10/20/elizabeth-warren-campaign-for-jeanne-shaheen-tight-race-against-scott-brown/CkGXN0DUKFbpFzQWmOjqWM/story.html" target="_blank">will head to New Hampshire</a> this weekend to campaign for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who's running against Warren's old nemesis, Scott Brown.</p></body></html> MoJo Elections Mon, 20 Oct 2014 21:21:59 +0000 Sam Brodey 262891 at http://www.motherjones.com The 5 Stupidest Paranoid Responses to Ebola http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/ebola-america-panic-hysteria <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>As President Barack Obama noted in his <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7u08u8GA_rg" target="_blank">weekly address</a> Saturday, Ebola is a serious public health issue. But the level of paranoia that has surfaced across the country since Thomas Duncan became the first patient diagnosed with the disease in the United States is not only unwarranted&mdash;it's&nbsp; dangerous. Ripped straight from the headlines, here are just five of the more surreal incidents of Ebola panic.</p> <p><strong>Syracuse University disinvites photographer.</strong> Ebola has an incubation period of up to three weeks. If someone hasn't gotten sick within 21 days of exposure, they're in the clear. But <a href="https://nppa.org/news/syracuse-disinvites-washpost-pulitzer-photographer-due-ebola-fears" target="_blank"><em>News Photographer </em>magazine</a> reported last week that "three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Michel du Cille of <em>The Washington Post</em>, who returned from covering the Ebola crisis in Liberia 21 days ago and who is symptom free, was asked by Syracuse University officials today not to come to campus, where he was scheduled to participate in a journalism program." Cille was not pleased:</p> <div id="fb-root">&nbsp;</div> <script>(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script><div class="fb-post" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/michel.ducille/posts/10205406871357643" data-width="466"> <div class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/michel.ducille/posts/10205406871357643">Post</a> by <a href="https://www.facebook.com/michel.ducille">Michel du Cille</a>.</div> </div> <p><strong>Maine teacher put on leave after traveling to Dallas.</strong> "A teacher at Strong Elementary School was placed on a 21-day paid leave of absence after parents told the school board they were concerned that she might have been exposed to Ebola during a trip to Dallas for an educational conference," the <a href="http://www.pressherald.com/2014/10/17/fearing-ebola-strong-elementary-teacher-on-leave-after-traveling-to-dallas/" target="_blank"><em>Portland Press Herald</em> recently reported</a>. Dallas, where Duncan's case was first diagnosed, is a city of 1.25 million. <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/20/health/ebola-overreaction/index.html" target="_blank">Five million people</a> travel to and from Dallas every month.</p> <p><strong>Rwandan students kept home from New Jersey elementary school. </strong>Two students who moved from Rwanda&mdash;where there have been zero cases of Ebola&mdash;are being kept home from school in Burlington County, New Jersey, for 21 days in response to concerns from parents. Rwanda "is about 2,600 miles away from the closest affected country in West Africa," <a href="http://www.myfoxphilly.com/story/26826190/burlington-county-students-kept-home-from-school-due-to-ebola-fears" target="_blank">notes Philadelphia's local Fox station</a>. "That's about as close as Seattle, Washington, is to Philadelphia. But for some parents it really doesn't matter."</p> <p><strong>Cleveland man charged with felony after stupid joke.</strong> "Bond is set at $10,000 for a Cleveland man charged with inducing panic after being accused of telling a Horseshoe Casino&nbsp;worker that he was gambling to avoid his Ebola-stricken ex-wife," <em>Cleveland.com</em> <a href="http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2014/10/cleveland_man_accused_of_jokin.html#incart_river" target="_blank">reported last week</a>. Needless to say, neither the man nor his wife has Ebola.</p> <p><strong>Texas college rejects applicants from Ebola-free Nigeria.</strong> Officials at Navarro College in Texas <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/texas-college-banning-students-ebola-countries" target="_blank">cited Ebola</a> as a basis for refusing admission to two Nigerian students.&nbsp;Nigeria has been extraordinarily effective in fighting its recent outbreak, which included just 20 confirmed cases&mdash;so extraordinary, in fact, that as of today, the World's Health Organization <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/10/nigeria-ebola-cdc" target="_blank">officially declared the country</a> Ebola-free. After the media caught wind of the story, an official from Navarro pushed back against "misinformation" by saying that the college is focusing on students from China and Indonesia for the next year.</p> <p>There's much, much more out there, but we leave you with this note from Bloomberg's Gabriel Snyder.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>An impressively diverse array of Ebola paranoia here: <a href="http://t.co/BAAcHmYhvO">pic.twitter.com/BAAcHmYhvO</a></p> &mdash; Gabriel Snyder (@gabrielsnyder) <a href="https://twitter.com/gabrielsnyder/status/524266023361720320">October 20, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></body></html> MoJo Health Top Stories Ebola Mon, 20 Oct 2014 20:41:56 +0000 Inae Oh 262861 at http://www.motherjones.com Drinking a "Medium" Soda Every Day Can Age You As Much As Smoking Does http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/10/study-drinking-daily-soda-ages-you-smoking <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Just as soda companies <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/10/berkeley-measure-d-soda-tax-advertising-sugar" target="_blank">plunk down millions</a> of dollars to defeat local soda-tax ballot measures, researchers have found a link between regular soda consumption and premature aging.</p> <p>Published in the peer-reviewed <em>Journal of Public Health</em>, a <a href="http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2014.302151?journalCode=ajph&amp;" target="_blank">study</a> of 5,300 adults compared the cells of people who drink soda every day to those of their non-soda-drinking counterparts. In the soda group, the ends of the chromosomes&mdash;known as telomeres&mdash;were shorter, a sign of their cells' diminished ability to regenerate. Our telomeres naturally shorten as we age, but scientists have discovered that a few behaviors&mdash;including smoking&mdash;can shorten them prematurely.</p> <p>And here's the really interesting part: People who drank a 20-ounce soda every day experienced an additional 4.6 years of telomere aging&mdash;the same amount observed in smokers. "The extremely high dose of sugar that we can put into our body within seconds by drinking sugared beverages is uniquely toxic to metabolism," lead author Elissa Epel, a professor of psychiatry at University of California-San Francisco, <a href="http://time.com/3513875/soda-may-age-you-as-much-as-smoking/" target="_blank">told</a> <em>Time</em>.</p> <p>The researchers didn't find the same effect in those who drank diet sodas or 100 percent fruit juice.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Food and Ag Health Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:28:31 +0000 Kiera Butler 262881 at http://www.motherjones.com Which Dad is More Embarrassing: Ron Paul or Rafael Cruz? http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/rand-ron-paul-ted-rafael-cruz-embarrassing <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>If Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) do battle for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, they'll have to carefully manage their most popular yet embarrassing surrogates: their fathers. Here's a quick guide to the septuagenarian bomb-throwers.</p> <div id="test">&nbsp;</div> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://assets.motherjones.com/interactives/plugins/pym.js/src/pym.js"></script><script> var pymParent = new pym.Parent('test', 'http://assets.motherjones.com/interactives/projects/2014/10/paul-cruz-table-2/index.html', {}); </script></body></html> MoJo Congress Elections Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:10:37 +0000 Tim Murphy 262721 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for October 20, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/were-still-war-photo-day-october-20-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p class="rtecenter"><em>A US Army Corporal carries a detonation cord to blow up expired ordinance in Afghanistan. <span class="photographer"><span id="ctl00_cphBody_lblCredit">(US Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston)</span></span></em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:16:26 +0000 262871 at http://www.motherjones.com John Oliver Shows the Supreme Court How to Make Their Boring Recordings Way More Adorable http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/10/john-oliver-supreme-court-animals <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The Supreme Court bars cameras from televising its oral arguments, with the only window into the minds of justices being lame audio recordings paired with awkward illustrations. No one wants to watch that.</p> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tug71xZL7yc&amp;feature=youtu.be" target="_blank">John Oliver</a> has a brilliant alternative: Dogs. Cats. Real adorable animals with fake moving paws.</p> <p>"The visual makes it irresistible. Why? Because a cat's paws are doing things you wouldn't expect them to do. And if it works for shitty piano music it can work for the Supreme Court."</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/fJ9prhPV2PI" width="630"></iframe>Consider us sold.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Video Supreme Court Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:02:36 +0000 Inae Oh 262856 at http://www.motherjones.com Housekeeping Note http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/10/housekeeping-note <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>No blogging today, I'm afraid. I've been having lower back problems for several months, and on Friday night it got a lot worse. Saturday morning I couldn't get out of bed, and had to be transported to the ER. It turns out that I had a compression fracture of one of my lumbar bones. I've been in the hospital ever since.</p> <p>I can walk again, but I'm pretty much bedbound for a while. Beyond that, further tests will tell us what's going on here. Without either oversharing or being coy, there's a chance this could turn out to be pretty serious. We'll know more by the end of the week. In the meantime, blogging will obviously be pretty limited.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:00:08 +0000 Kevin Drum 262851 at http://www.motherjones.com Numero Group Releases a Stellar Retrospective http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/10/numero-group-unwound-retrospective <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/WilH0XISBUQ?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Unwound</strong><br><em><strong>No Energy</strong></em><br><strong>Numero Group</strong></p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/image001%5B1%5D.jpg" style="height: 250px; width: 250px;"></div> <p>Part three of Numero Group's stellar <em>Unwound</em> retrospective picks up with the 1995 album <em>The Future of What,</em> followed by 1996's <em>Repetition</em>, and includes eight singles sides and some previously unreleased recordings. What's most immediately striking about these 33 tracks is how little interest the Olympia, Washington, trio has in repeating itself. While Justin Trosper (vocals, guitar), Vern Rumsey (bass) and Sara Lund (drums) still draw on deep roots in punk and hard rock, they often seem to be navigating uncharted territory. The songs are dark and jagged, more likely to generate brooding unease than provide easy catharsis. Check out either version of the tortured eight-minute epic "Swan" for an unpredictable, genre-defying experience that's thoroughly fascinating.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Music Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:00:22 +0000 Jon Young 262831 at http://www.motherjones.com Sallie Ford, the Exhilarating Provocateur http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/10/portland-sallie-ford-slap-back <!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/6-q1HAAtMzo" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Sallie Ford<br><em>Slap Back</em><br> Vanguard</strong></p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="sallie ford" class="image" src="/files/SallieFordSlapBack-Cover-2-300x300.jpg" style="height: 250px; width: 250px;"></div> <p>Raucous, profane, and unapologetic, Sallie Ford relishes playing the provocateur. On the exhilarating <em>Slap Back</em>, the Portland, Oregon-based singer-songwriter debuts her new all-female backing band, sounding like the early, badass Elvis Costello who fronted the Attractions. Buoyed by waves of punky garage rock, Ford addresses urgent issues like romance and lust in her usual blunt language ("Give Me Your Lovin'"), while illuminating her own struggles ("So Damn Low") and pausing for moments of surprising tenderness, observing, "Loves may come and lovers may go. But I'm here for the long haul, I hope you know" in "Hey Girl." For all the catchy tunes and tough grooves, Ford's greatest asset is her rowdy charisma.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Music Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:00:21 +0000 Jon Young 262826 at http://www.motherjones.com Why Did Top Scientific Journals Reject This Dr. Bronner's Ad? http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/10/read-dr-bronners-gmo-ad-thats-too-hot-nature-and-science <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, presides over a company with famously wacky product labels. Sample sentence, from the <a href="http://file:///Users/remote_mojo/Downloads/drbronner_32oz_Pep%20(1).pdf" target="_blank">18-in-1 Hemp PEPPERMINT</a> soap bottle: "Each swallow works hard to be perfect pilot-provider-teacher-lover-mate, no half-true hate!" But Bronner himself, grandson of the founder (the one with the elaborate prose style), has emerged as a serious, though fun-loving, activist, particularly around pesticides and genetically modified crops, as Josh Harkinson's recent <em>Mother Jones</em> <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/02/dr-bronners-magic-soap-david-bronner-gmo-hemp">profile</a> shows.</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/bronner-thumb-2.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Read "<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/02/dr-bronners-magic-soap-david-bronner-gmo-hemp" target="_blank">How Dr. Bronner's Turned Activism Into Good Clean Fun</a>" </strong></div> </div> <p>But apparently, Bronner's writing on GMOs is too hot for the advertising pages of the English-speaking world's two most renowned science journals, <em>Science</em> and <em>Nature&mdash;</em>even though a slew of magazines, including <em>Scientific American, The New Yorker, Harper's, The Nation, Harvard,</em> and, yes, <em>Mother Jones</em>, accepted the Bronner ad. It consists of a short essay, known in publishing as an advertorial, that's nothing like the wild-eyed rants on his company's soap bottles. Bronner's ad (<a href="https://www.motherjones.com/files/davidbronner_seidler_endorsement_advertorial-2.pdf" target="_blank">PDF</a>) focuses on how GMO crops have led to a net increase in pesticide use in the United States, citing an analysis by Ramon Seidler, a retired senior staff scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency.</p> <p>Bronner wrote his essay in response to Michael Specter's recent <em>New Yorker</em> <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/08/25/seeds-of-doubt">takedown</a> of anti-GMO crusader Vandana Shiva. He first published his critique on <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-bronner/herbicide-insecticide-use_b_5791304.html"><em>Huffington Post</em></a>, and then decided to publish it as an ad in a variety of high-profile magazines, because he felt that <em>The New Yorker</em> is highly influential among liberal elites, and he wanted to get his dissenting view out, he told me.</p> <p><em>Science</em> was close to accepting it, emails shared with me by Bronner show&mdash;an ad sales manager for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which published the magazine, emailed on September 15 that she would send over paper work "in a bit," adding that "[a]fter you sign it, I can take your credit card info by phone and submit to accounting." The price: $9,911.00. But hours later, she wrote back, squashing the deal:</p> <blockquote> <p>Sorry to say there has [been] a reversal opinion. This has gone up the ladder quite far and our CEO along with the board&nbsp;have come back saying that we cannot accept the&nbsp;ad. We're&nbsp;concerned about backlash from our members&nbsp;and potentially getting into a battle with the&nbsp;GMO industry.</p> </blockquote> <p>Something quite similar happened at <em>Nature</em>, a UK-based publication with ad sales operations in the United States. On September 16, an ad sales rep told the Bronner team via email that "I will have an IO [insert order&mdash;the contract for an advertisement] for you once I get the thumbs up from Editorial (usually takes them a day or two)." Once that's signed, he added, "I can call and get your credit&nbsp;card information over the phone, [and] then we are all good."</p> <p>But a few days later, instead of closing the deal, the rep asked if Bronner would consider placing the ad in a smaller, related journal called <em>Nature Biotechnology.</em> Bronner declined, and asked again to place it in <em>Nature</em>. The ad rep replied, "We have to do a detailed process for all ad approvals, especially if the ad is not within specs (our terms and conditions). We have passed on the ad for <em>Nature</em>, that's why the emails about seeking out other options [i.e., <em>Nature Biotechnology</em>] for you." End of discussion&mdash;the sales rep offered no explanation, and soon stopped returning calls or emails. Nor did he return my email and call seeking comment.</p> <p>As for <em>Science</em>, I talked to Laurie Faraday, the journal's East regional ad-sales manager, who worked with Bronner's team on the failed ad deal. She explained that the editorial side weighs in on decisions over advertorial-style ads. <em>Science</em>'s management found it "a little bit controversial," and worried that "if we allowed that kind of a piece to be printed in <em>Science, </em>then maybe we'd be subject to the GMO world coming after us." She added: "Ironically, it's not that anyone in the organization disagreed with what it [the ad] said. It's just that we had to consider that the opposite side of the coin might want to start a war in our magazine."</p> <p>I asked if the magazine had rejected advertorials on similar grounds in the past. She replied that a couple of years ago, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ran ads in <em>Science</em> alleging cruelty to animals in labs. "It kind of got past us at first," Faraday said, "but after the campaign ran, I was told by the publisher we would not accept them any further."</p> <p>Stan Schmidt, an ad rep for <em>Scientific American,</em> which accepted the ad, told me that his magazine has a broader policy on advertorials&mdash;it accepts them unless they contain offensive or "wild-eyed" material, and the Bronner ad easily passed the test, he said.</p> <p>"I'm concerned how lame and weak the leading scientific publications in the world are being here, although I appreciate <em>Science</em>'s upfront explanation," Bronner said. "<em>Science </em>and <em>Nature </em>magazines, like the scientific enterprise in general, are not above the fray."</p></body></html> Tom Philpott Food and Ag Media Science Top Stories Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:00:19 +0000 Tom Philpott 262616 at http://www.motherjones.com NBA Player Kisses Sideline Reporter, Calls Her the Wrong Name http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/nba-player-kisses-sideline-reporter-calls-her-wrong-name <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Before Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers took the court Friday to play the Dallas Mavericks, Allie Clifton, a Fox News Ohio reporter, tried to interview him about his game strategy.</p> <p>After haphazardly answering one of her questions, Thompson calls her "Tina," winks at the camera, and then kisses her on the cheek before running away.</p> <p>Here's video of the incident:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/mmlTByKgX6w" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Contrary to some of the sports media's reporting, kissing a reporter on air while she is working is not "<a href="http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2014/10/cleveland_cavaliers_forward_tr_6.html">an unexpected gift</a>" or "<a href="http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/10/18/tristan-thompson-kisses-cavaliers-sideline-reporter-video/">harmless, and nothing more than an awkward one-sided exchange</a>." It's downright uncomfortable and belittling, even if Clifton maintained utter professionalism throughout. As Kelly Dwyer at <a href="http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/tristan-thompson-kisses-a-sideline-reporter--and-he-really--really-screwed-up--video-174239361.html" target="_blank"><em>Yahoo Sports</em></a> put it: "This isn't cute or funny or meme-worthy&hellip;Just because you're working with someone of the opposite sex, it doesn't mean a sly innuendo, pat on the rear, or kiss on national television is in any way appropriate."</p></body></html> MoJo Sex and Gender Sports Sun, 19 Oct 2014 16:56:15 +0000 Hannah Levintova 262836 at http://www.motherjones.com EPA: Those Bee-Killing Pesticides? They're Actually Pretty Useless http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/10/epa-those-bee-killing-pesticides-theyre-pretty-useless-otherwise <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>So, there's this widely used class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, marketed by chemical giants Bayer and Syngenta, that have emerged as a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2012/03/bayer-pesticide-bees-studies" target="_blank">prime</a> <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/05/smoking-gun-bee-collapse" target="_blank">suspect</a> in honeybee collapse, and may also be harming <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2013/03/not-just-bees-bayers-pesticide-may-harm-birds-too" target="_blank">birds</a> and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/07/federal-agency-finds-neonic-pesticides-midwestern-water" target="_blank">water-borne critters</a>. But at least they provide benefits to farmers, right?</p> <p>Well, not soybean farmers, according to a blunt economic assessment released Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency (<a href="http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-10/documents/benefits_of_neonicotinoid_seed_treatments_to_soybean_production_2.pdf" target="_blank">PDF</a>). Conclusion: "There are no clear or consistent economic benefits of neonicotinoid seed treatments in soybeans."</p> <p>Wait, what?</p> <p>The report goes on: "This analysis provides evidence that US soybean growers derive limited to no benefit from neonicotinoid seed treatments in most instances."</p> <p>Hmmm. But at least they're better for farmers than no pesticide at all?</p> <p>Nope: "Published data indicate that most usage of neonicotinoid seed treatments does not protect soybean yield any better than doing no pest control."</p> <p>Ouch.</p> <p>The EPA notes that in recent years, US farmers have been planting on average 76 million acres of soybeans each season. Of those acres, an average 31 percent are planted in seeds treated with neonics&mdash;that is, farmers buy treated seeds, which suffuse the soybean plants with the chemical as they grow. So that's about 24 million acres of neonic-treated seeds&mdash;an area equal in size to the <a href="http://www.statemaster.com/graph/geo_lan_acr_tot-geography-land-acreage-total" target="_blank">state of Indiana</a>. Why would farmers pay up for a seed treatment that doesn't do them any good, yet may be doing considerable harm to pollinators and birds? The EPA report has insights: "data from researchers and extension experts ... indicate that some growers currently have some difficulty obtaining untreated seed." The report points to one small poll that found 45 percent of respondents reported finding non-treated seeds "difficult to obtain" or "not available."</p> <p>Another reason may be marketing. Syngenta, for example, promotes its <a href="http://www.syngentacropprotection.com/prodpreview/index.aspx?prodID=940&amp;ProdNM=CruiserMaxx%20Beans" target="_blank">"CruiserMaxx"</a> seed treatment for soybeans, which combines a <a href="http://www.syngentacropprotection.com/prodrender/index.aspx?prodid=721" target="_blank">neonic insecticide</a> with two different fungicides. The pitch: "Promotes better emergence, faster speed to canopy, improved vigor and higher yield potential.<br> Protects against damaging chewing and sucking insect pests. ... Increases yield even under low insect pressure."</p> <p>Only one US crop is planted more abundantly than soybeans: corn, which typically <a href="http://www.agriview.com/news/crop/usda-fewer-acres-of-corn-but-potential-for-record-crop/article_c01c112f-cf2f-5537-a8cb-da5f350428f4.html" target="_blank">covers around 90 million acres</a>. According to Purdue entomologist Christian Krupke, <a href="http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0029268" target="_blank">"virtually all"</a> of it is from neonic-treated seeds. That's a land mass just 10 percent smaller than <a href="http://www.statemaster.com/graph/geo_lan_acr_tot-geography-land-acreage-total" target="_blank">California</a>. You have to wonder what bang those farmers are getting for their buck. I have a query into the EPA to see whether it has plans to conduct a similar assessment for corn. Meanwhile, this March <a href="http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/files/neonic-efficacy_digital_29226.pdf" target="_blank">2014 Center for Food Safety research report,</a> which was reviewed by Krupke and Jonathan Lundgren, a research entomologist at the US Department of Agriculture, found that the bee-killing pesticides offer at best limited benefits to corn farmers, too.</p></body></html> Tom Philpott Food and Ag Regulatory Affairs Top Stories Sat, 18 Oct 2014 10:00:07 +0000 Tom Philpott 262791 at http://www.motherjones.com Would Joe Biden Put His Son In Prison For Doing Coke? http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/joe-biden-hunter-biden-cocaine <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>So the son of our Vice President was <a href="http://online.wsj.com/articles/bidens-son-hunter-discharged-from-navy-reserve-after-failing-cocaine-test-1413499657">booted from the military for doing coke</a>. This must be an awkward situation for Joe Biden, given his role in cracking down on drug use over the last few decades. Joe Biden created the position of &ldquo;drug czar,&rdquo; a key step in the drug war. As the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1986, he played a major role in passing mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines. He was the main sponsor of the RAVE Act in 2003, meant to crack down on MDMA use, which would have held club owners liable for providing &ldquo;paraphernalia&rdquo; like glowsticks and water. He still <a href="http://time.com/5330/marijuana-legalization-joe-biden-pot/">vocally opposes marijuana legalization</a>.</p> <p>To be clear: Hunter Biden wasn&rsquo;t caught with actual cocaine. He just failed a drug test. But what if he'd happened to be found with a little bag in his pocket? Would Joe Biden would find it fair for him to serve 87 months, which is the average federal sentence for drug possession?</p> <p>Of course, were Hunter Biden to be caught with powder cocaine, he would likely fare better than someone caught with crack. To his credit, Joe Biden himself has pushed for reducing the longstanding sentencing disparity between crack and regular cocaine, but possession of 28 grams of crack still triggers a five-year minimum sentence. It takes 500 grams of regular cocaine to trigger the same sentence. That&rsquo;s an 18-to-one difference. (African Americans make up 83 percent of <a href="http://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/research-and-publications/research-publications/2014/FY13_Overview_Federal_Criminal_Cases.pdf">people convicted for crack</a> offenses, even though the number of white crack users is 40 percent greater than that of black users, according to a <a href="http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~oliver/RACIAL/Reports/NIHMinoritydrugUse%20report.pdf">National Institute on Drug Abuse</a> study).</p> <p>America has more prisoners than any other country&mdash;a quarter of all people behind bars in the entire world are in US prisons or jails. Nearly half of all federal prisoners are serving sentences for drugs. Many of them won't have a chance to "regret" their mistakes and move on, as Hunter Biden has said he will.</p></body></html> MoJo Crime and Justice Human Rights Prisons Fri, 17 Oct 2014 22:19:41 +0000 Shane Bauer 262806 at http://www.motherjones.com Now Congressional Republicans Are Digging Through Scientists' Grant Proposals http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/10/lamar-smith-climate-science-investigation-nsf <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>When scientists across the country need money for research projects, one place they often turn is the National Science Foundation. The NSF is <a href="http://www.nsf.gov/about/" target="_blank">an independent federal agency</a> with an annual budget of about $7 billion, which it doles out to fund about a quarter of all federally supported science research.</p> <p>Of course, the agency doesn't just give money away to anyone who asks. Proposals have to survive a rigorous review process that includes close scrutiny by a panel of top scientists in the relevant field. Competition is fierce: Of the <a href="http://dellweb.bfa.nsf.gov/awdfr3/default.asp" target="_blank">49,000 proposals</a> submitted in 2013, only a fifth were ultimately funded. So as far as most scientists are concerned, an NSF grant is about the highest mark of scientific legitimacy a research project can get.</p> <p>Representative Lamar Smith (R-Texas) apparently disagrees. Over the last 18 months, Smith, who chairs the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, has launched an aggressive campaign against what he sees as misguided money management at NSF that fritters funds away on frivolous research. Research on ridiculous things like, you know, climate change.</p> <p>Smith's committee is responsible for setting the NSF's budget. But in the last year, the Congressman has gone to unprecedented lengths to scrutinize the agency's scientific operations. His staffers are sifting through the archives of NSF grant proposal materials, which are normally kept strictly confidential to preserve scientific objectivity. They're looking for projects to highlight as evidence that NSF is wasting money on research that, from their view, aren't in the "national interest."</p> <p>A <a href="http://news.sciencemag.org/policy/2014/10/battle-between-nsf-and-house-science-committee-escalates-how-did-it-get-bad" target="_blank">great recent story in <em>Science</em></a> lays out Smith's strategy:</p> <blockquote> <p>Four times this past summer, in a spare room on the top floor of the headquarters of the National Science Foundation (NSF) outside of Washington, D.C., two congressional staffers spent hours poring over material relating to 20 research projects that NSF has funded over the past decade&hellip;</p> <p>The peculiar exercise is part of a long-running and bitter battle that is pitting Smith and many of his panel's Republican members against [Rep. Eddie Bernice] Johnson [the committee's ranking Democrat] and the panel's Democrats, NSF's leadership, and the academic research community&hellip;</p> <p>Smith, however, argues he is simply taking seriously Congress's oversight responsibility. And he promises to stay the course: "Our efforts will continue until NSF agrees to only award grants that are in the national interest," he wrote in a 2 October e-mail to <em>Science</em>Insider.</p> </blockquote> <p>The tally of projects under scrutiny by Smith's team has now grown to 47 (a listing of them is linked to in the <em>Science</em> story above). On one hand, that's a lot. The confidentiality of the NSF review process is a long-established, sacred scientific practice that protects research from bias and makes sure only the cream rises to the top. So any cracks in that firewall, and certainly any whiff of political interference, are of great concern to the scientific community.</p> <p>On the other hand, the 47 grants represent only a tiny fraction of the NSF's total operation; together, they amount to about $26 million, or 0.37 percent of NSF's budget. Which raises the questions of why Smith would (a) throw himself into an investigation of spending that, all things considered, is barely a drop in the federal bucket and (b) pick these specific projects to focus on. A spokesperson from Smith's committee&mdash;who provided a statement on behalf of Smith's office (the same statement quoted by <em>Science </em>above)&mdash;did not respond to these questions.</p> <p>Many of the studies at issue involve social sciences (a study of caste systems in Ethiopia, for example, and one about rural sanitation in India) that fall outside the core areas of engineering, mathematics, computer science, and biology that Smith, in a <a href="http://science.house.gov/press-release/future-nsf-stop-wasting-taxpayer-money" target="_blank">press release this spring</a>, singled out as "the primary drivers of our economic future."</p> <p>But some of the biggest-ticket items up for public dissection focus on climate change. They include a $3 million grant awarded in 2008 to study how federal agencies can better communicate climate science to the public and a $5.6 million award to a Columbia University team to carry out public education work on the impacts of climate change at the poles. You know, totally frivolous questions that have nothing to do with the "national interest" on things like rising sea levels, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/08/arctic-methane-hydrate-catastrophe" target="_blank">epic releases of methane</a>, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/10/pentagon-climate-change-shift-wars" target="_blank">US military engagement in the Arctic</a>, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/10/walruses-arctic-shell-oil" target="_blank">new areas for offshore oil drilling</a>, and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/10/walrus-photo-alaska-climate-change" target="_blank">35,000 stranded walruses</a>. Definitely not stuff you need to worry about, or have our top scientists investigate and explain.</p> <p>The <a href="http://democrats.science.house.gov/sites/democrats.science.house.gov/files/Complete_Correspondence.pdf" target="_blank">letters over the past few months</a> between Smith and NSF director France C&oacute;rdova, an astrophysicist and former president of Purdue University, are a great new entry in the annals of <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/09/watch-jon-stewart-explain-science-climate-deniers-congress" target="_blank">government scientists explaining Science 101 to Republican Congressmen</a>.</p> <p>"NSF's investment in meritorious research projects enables new and transformative discoveries within and among those fields and disciplines, resulting in the expansion of our scientific knowledge and understanding," she wrote to him on May 19.</p> <p>In other words, basic science shouldn't be judged by how closely it hews to a predetermined, profitable advance. The Large Hadron Collider probably isn't ever going to do much for the US economy, but that doesn't mean it's not in the "national interest" for us to understand the basic physics of the universe. Sometimes, even research on the <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/04/duck_penis_controversy_nsf_is_right_to_fund_basic_research_that_conservatives.html" target="_blank">mechanics of corkscrew-shaped duck penises</a> can be a worthy investment of taxpayer dollars.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Climate Change Climate Desk Congress Science Top Stories Fri, 17 Oct 2014 21:22:12 +0000 Tim McDonnell 262801 at http://www.motherjones.com The Head of the Federal Reserve Just Gave a Rousing Speech on Inequality http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/janet-yellen-income-inequality%20 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Friday, Janet Yellen presented a thorough speech outlining the inherent problems income inequality presents to the American ideology, proving once again she is committed to using her role as Federal Reserve chair to tackle widening income inequality rates.</p> <p>"The extent of and continuing increase in inequality in the United States greatly concern me," Yellen told the Federal Reserve of Boston. "The past several decades have seen the most sustained rise in inequality since the 19th century after more than 40 years of narrowing inequality following the Great Depression."</p> <p>&ldquo;I think it is appropriate to ask whether this trend is compatible with values rooted in our nation&rsquo;s history, among them the high value Americans have traditionally placed on equality of opportunity," she added.</p> <p>The speech, titled "Perspectives on Inequality and Opportunity from the Survey of Consumer Finances," follows several notable <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/11/15/2947861/federal-reserve-janet-yellen-income-inequality/" target="_blank">instances</a> in which Yellen has indicated she would be actively working towards reducing wealth inequality&ndash;a more pointed approach that distances her from her predecessors, former chairs <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/18/upshot/what-janet-yellen-said-and-didnt-say-about-inequality.html?hp&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;version=HpSumSmallMediaHigh&amp;module=second-column-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news&amp;_r=0&amp;abt=0002&amp;abg=0" target="_blank">Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke.</a> In Friday's speech, Yellen also echoed Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-Mass.) calls to fix the burden of rising higher education costs.</p> <p>As continued evidence has shown, income inequality rates have soared over the last few decades, with the average income of the one percent rising more than 175 percent since 1980, while the bottom 90 percent hardly moved.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/incomeyellen.jpg"></div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%">&nbsp;</div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%">&nbsp;</div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While Yellen's speech on Friday made no mention of any specific policy changes the Federal Reserve may take on to combat inequality rates, it did signal a significant shift in how the Federal Reserve views inequality as a serious hindrance to the country's economic health. To read Yellen's speech in its entirety, <a href="http://federalreserve.gov/newsevents/speech/yellen20141017a.htm" target="_blank">click here.</a></p></body></html> MoJo Income Inequality Fri, 17 Oct 2014 18:59:15 +0000 Inae Oh 262781 at http://www.motherjones.com Friday Cat Blogging - 17 October 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/10/friday-cat-blogging-17-october-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I don't know about you, but I could stand to have catblogging a little earlier than usual this week. What you see here is one of the many cat TVs now installed in our home. This is the dining room TV. There are also cat TVs in the kitchen and the study. The kitchen TV apparently has most of its good shows at night, and it's not clear what those shows are about. But they are extremely entrancing.</p> <p>The dining room TV, by contrast, is sort of our workhorse cat TV. They both love it all day long. Needless to say, this is something new for both Hopper and Hilbert, since they spent the first ten months of their lives in a shelter, where cat TV mostly just starred other cats. Who knew there were so many other channels to choose from?</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hopper_2014_10_17.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 60px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 17 Oct 2014 18:15:46 +0000 Kevin Drum 262796 at http://www.motherjones.com What World Leader Has Done the Most Damage to the Global Economy? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/10/what-world-leader-has-done-most-damage-economy <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Who's worse: <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/10/amity-shlaes-wrong-and-proud-on-economy.html" target="_blank">Amity Shlaes</a> or <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/17/world/europe/bloc-in-europe-starts-to-balk-over-austerity-.html?hp&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;version=HpHeadline&amp;module=first-column-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news" target="_blank">Angela Merkel</a>? You have to give the nod to Merkel, of course. Unlike Shlaes, who is limited to cheering on horrifically bad ideas that would immiserate millions, Merkel has the power to actually <em>implement</em> horrifically bad ideas that immiserate millions. And she has. So Merkel it is.</p> <p>Now, if instead the question were how Merkel compares to, say, John Boehner and Paul Ryan, then it would be a tougher choice. I think Merkel would still win, though. When it comes to bullheaded insistence on terrible economic policy, she's hard to top.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Economy Fri, 17 Oct 2014 17:57:32 +0000 Kevin Drum 262786 at http://www.motherjones.com Finally, Nigeria's Kidnapped Schoolgirls Are Coming Home http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/nigerian-schoolgirls-kidnapped-boko-haram-release-agreement <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Friday, Nigeria's government <a href="http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFKCN0I61PG20141017" target="_blank">announced</a> it had reached a deal with Boko Haram to release the approximately <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/05/nigeria-boko-haram-kidnapping-explained" target="_blank">200 schoolgirls held captive</a> by the Islamist terror group since April.</p> <p>The agreement, announced by the country's defense minister, also involves a cease fire between Boko Haram and Nigeria's military. The government expects the terror group will not back out on the deal. "Commitment among parts of Boko Haram and the military does appear to be genuine," an official with Nigeria's security forces <a href="http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFKCN0I61PG20141017" target="_blank">told <em>Reuters</em> Friday</a>. "It is worth taking seriously."</p> <p>Boko Haram militants abducted more than 300 schoolgirls from Chibok boarding school in northern Nigeria in mid-April, sparking a worldwide outcry and propelling the group onto to the international stage for the first time. Over fifty of the girls escaped early on. The rest have remained in captivity ever since.</p> <p>Boko Haram, whose name roughly means "Western education is sinful," has been terrorizing Nigeria since 2009 in an effort to return the country to the pre-colonial era of Muslim rule. Over the past half-decade, the Islamist group has killed <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/04/22/234-girls-kidnapped-from-nigeria-school-parents-say/" target="_blank">approximately 5,000 Nigerians</a> the group regards as pro-government in attacks on&nbsp;schools, churches, and mosques, as well as military checkpoints, police stations, highways, and a bus station in the capital city of Abuja.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo International Fri, 17 Oct 2014 16:24:47 +0000 Erika Eichelberger 262776 at http://www.motherjones.com Hurricane Gonzalo Is Going to Slam Bermuda Today http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/10/hurricane-gonzalo-going-slam-bermuda-today <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The photo above was <a href="http://www.nasa.gov/content/hurricane-gonzalo-viewed-from-the-international-space-station/#.VEEz7-c7pUk" target="_blank">taken yesterday</a> by an astronaut on the International Space Station. It shows Hurricane Gonzalo barreling across the Atlantic Ocean toward Bermuda.</p> <p>Gonzalo, currently a Category 3 hurricane, is expected to make landfall in Bermuda this afternoon before veering back out to sea and away from the US East Coast. AccuWeather.com meteorologists <a href="http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/major-hurricane-gonzalo-takes/35765219" target="_blank">are warning</a> that the damage could be severe, with "a large and life-threatening storm surge [that] could exceed 10 feet and cause a major rise in water levels over coastal areas and causeways."</p> <p>Stay safe, Bermudans.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Climate Change Climate Desk Science Fri, 17 Oct 2014 15:47:50 +0000 Tim McDonnell 262766 at http://www.motherjones.com WHO Admits That It Failed Utterly In Its Response to Ebola http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/10/who-admits-it-failed-utterly-its-response-ebola <!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> has a fairly chilling story today about an internal report from the World Health Organization that basically concludes WHO <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/17/world-health-organisation-botched-ebola-outbreak" target="_blank">completely botched its response to the Ebola outbreak in Africa:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The UN health agency acknowledged that, at times, even its own bureaucracy was a problem. It noted that the heads of WHO country offices in Africa are &ldquo;politically motivated appointments&rdquo; made by the WHO regional <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_ebola.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">director for Africa, Dr Luis Sambo, who does not answer to the agency&rsquo;s chief in Geneva, Dr Margaret Chan.</p> <p>....At a meeting of WHO&rsquo;s network of outbreak experts in June, Dr Bruce Aylward, who is normally in charge of polio eradication, alerted Chan to the serious concerns being raised about WHO&rsquo;s leadership in west Africa. He wrote an email that some of the agency&rsquo;s partners including national health agencies and charities believed the agency was &ldquo;compromising rather than aiding&rdquo; the response to Ebola and that &ldquo;none of the news about WHO&rsquo;s performance is good.&rdquo;</p> <p>Five days later, Chan received a six-page letter from the agency&rsquo;s network of experts, spelling out what they saw as severe shortcomings in WHO&rsquo;s response to the deadly virus.</p> </blockquote> <p>Click the link for more details. A couple of weeks ago I was chatting with someone about why everyone was freaking out about Ebola, and I mentioned that distrust of government experts was part of the reason. And that's hardly unreasonable. The CDC has now admitted that its response was slow and inept in many respects, and WHO was apparently just flatly incompetent. So when CDC experts tell us, for example, that stopping flights from west Africa would be counterproductive, is it any wonder that lots of people don't believe them? The truth is that I'm not sure I believe them either. After all, what have they done over the past couple of weeks to earn my trust?</p> <p>Maybe this is unfair. And I'm hardly here to defend the media's insane, panic-promoting coverage of Ebola. Still, you can't publicly screw up over and over and then act bewildered when the public no longer trusts anything you say.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Health Care Fri, 17 Oct 2014 15:39:01 +0000 Kevin Drum 262771 at http://www.motherjones.com Mitch McConnell Flips-Flops on an Ebola Flight Ban—Within 24 Hours http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/mitch-mcconnell-ebola-flight-ban-senate <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Many Ebola experts think that banning travel to the US from West Africa, where an outbreak of the deadly virus has killed thousands of people, would <a href="http://www.economist.com/news/international/21623711-panicky-response-west-may-worsen-conditions-west-africa-bridges-or-walls" target="_blank">do more harm than good</a>. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-13/cdc-dismisses-travel-ban-on-ebola-nations-after-new-case.html" target="_blank">agree</a>. But Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) can't seem to settle on a position. On Tuesday and&nbsp;Wednesday, he stumped both for a ban and for letting the experts decide&mdash;a&nbsp;flip-flop within 24 hours.<a href="#correction">*</a></p> <p>In <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/15/mcconnell-ebola-flight-bans_n_5990214.html">an interview with NBC News</a>, McConnell was asked if he thought the US should ban flights from West Africa. "I'd leave that up to the CDC to determine what the techniques ought to be in trying to contain the disease," he said. He added, "I think we ought to listen to what the CDC thinks they need either in terms of financing or certainly they'll decide the procedures for travel and all the rest. I think we need to follow the advice of the experts who know how to fight scourges like this."</p> <p>Here's video of the NBC interview:</p> <p><iframe border="no" height="500" scrolling="no" src="http://player.theplatform.com/p/2E2eJC/EmbeddedOffSite?guid=n_qc_mccon1_141015" width="635"></iframe></p> <p>But less than 24 hours later, McConnell abruptly changed course. Asked by <a href="http://mycn2.com/politics/mcconnell-wants-to-stop-flights-from-nations-with-ebola-outbreaks-supports-sending-us-troops-to-africa?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=twitter&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Cn2Politics+%28cn%7C2+Pure+Politics%29">a Kentucky TV station</a> about containing Ebola, McConnell said the US needs to "do everything we can to try to contain the problem where it is." He went on, "I'm not an expert on this, but it strikes me that it would be a good idea to discontinue flights into the United States from that part of the world."</p> <p>Here's that video:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/1Gr19PGfD_M?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>There are currently no direct flights from the Ebola-affected countries to the US, the <em>New York Times' </em>Jonathan Weisman <a href="https://twitter.com/jonathanweisman/status/523105469108588544" target="_blank">reported</a> Friday.</p> <p id="correction"><em>Correction</em>: The original version of this post stated that the NBC News and Kentucky interviews occurred on the same day.</p></body></html> MoJo Congress Elections Health Fri, 17 Oct 2014 14:52:47 +0000 Andy Kroll 262756 at http://www.motherjones.com