Blogs | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/Blogs/2011/07/tea-party-groups-target-rep-allen-west/www.acluutah.org/LtrReHB132.pdf http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en Watch John Oliver's Epic Takedown of FIFA http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/06/sam-sam-we-finally-shared-a-byline <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Fee! Fi! Fo! Fum! I smell the blood of a soccer governing body!</p> <p>FIFA, the terrible no good band of Europeans who keep forcing us to call soccer "football," saw some of its senior most officials arrested in Switzerland today on American corruption charges.</p> <p>Feel free to take a moment, look at an American flag, and get all teary eyed. (This is why the pilgrims crossed an ocean.)</p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 2em;">Anyway, here is John Oliver's epic takedown of FIFA from&nbsp;his show </span><em style="line-height: 2em;">John Oliver's Epic Takedowns</em><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 2em;">.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/DlJEt2KU33I?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> Mixed Media Wed, 27 May 2015 05:14:57 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss and Sam Baldwin 253691 at http://www.motherjones.com US Authorities Just Indicted a Bunch of FIFA Officials on Corruption Charges http://www.motherjones.com/contributor/2015/05/soccer-soccer-soccer-soccer-soccer-soccer <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Swiss authorities just arrested officials from FIFA&nbsp;on <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/27/sports/soccer/fifa-officials-face-corruption-charges-in-us.html?_r=0" target="_blank">American corruption&nbsp;charges</a>.</p> <blockquote> <p>As leaders of FIFA, soccer&rsquo;s global governing body, gathered for their annual meeting, Swiss law enforcement officials arrived unannounced at the Baur au Lac hotel, an elegant five-star property with views of the Alps and Lake Zurich. The arrests were made at the request of the United States Justice Department, which brought charges in the Eastern District of New York, based in Brooklyn, according to law enforcement officials.</p> <p>Prosecutors planned to unseal an indictment soon against more than 10 officials, not all of whom are in Zurich, three law enforcement officials said. The charges include wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering.</p> </blockquote> <p>USA! USA! Switzerland, also! USA!</p> <p>Anyway<span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 24px;">, Twitter is going nuts right now with news that&nbsp;</span>America<span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 24px;">&nbsp;finally beat the world at soccer (which is what they have to call it now by the way).</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 24px;">This tweet perfectly sums up the response to this news:</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Turns out all it takes to get Americans to care about soccer is some good old-fashioned organized crime.</p> &mdash; Scafe for Senate (@erinscafe) <a href="https://twitter.com/erinscafe/status/603414461974646784">May 27, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></body></html> Contributor Wed, 27 May 2015 04:28:36 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 275926 at http://www.motherjones.com The Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Seems Like A Real Peach http://www.motherjones.com/contributor/2015/05/russia-sure-seems-like-a-terrible-place <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">It's not Russia that threatens the West. Its foundations will crash down under the pressure of ISIS and gays (cont) <a href="http://t.co/BqUrojUxod">http://t.co/BqUrojUxod</a></p> &mdash; Dmitry Rogozin (@DRogozin) <a href="https://twitter.com/DRogozin/status/602757574237278208">May 25, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></body></html> Contributor Wed, 27 May 2015 04:05:00 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 275916 at http://www.motherjones.com OMG Look At These Adorable Baby Bears Boxing Each Other. I Want To Hug Them Forever. http://www.motherjones.com/contributor/2015/05/it-would-be-such-an-adorable-blood-sport-if-we-made-baby-bears-box-for-our-amusement <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The Department of the Interior just <a href="https://twitter.com/Interior/status/603327823001026563" target="_blank">tweeted</a> this Vine and it is so cute that I want to die. I am dead. I am blogging from the afterlife.</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="630" src="https://vine.co/v/ebAg1Piw9bh/embed/simple" width="630"></iframe><script src="https://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js"></script></p> <p>Goodnight and good luck.</p></body></html> Contributor Tue, 26 May 2015 22:53:31 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 275906 at http://www.motherjones.com Qatar Is Treating Its World Cup Workers Like Slaves: Nepal Earthquake Edition http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/05/world-cup-qatar-nepal-earthquake-soccer <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>We're still seven years away from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, but it seems like the event has been buried under bad news for a decade: everything from allegations of <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/media/2014/06/fifa-world-cup-scandals-brazil-qatar" target="_blank">bribery</a> and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/10/world-cup-human-rights-abuses-brazil-russia-qatar" target="_blank">corruption</a> to <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/17/qatar-world-cup-worker-amnesty-report" target="_blank">terrible human rights violations.</a> And it doesn't look like it's getting better anytime soon.</p> <p>The latest in a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/media/2014/06/fifa-world-cup-scandals-brazil-qatar" target="_blank">string</a> of <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/10/world-cup-human-rights-abuses-brazil-russia-qatar" target="_blank">embarrassments</a>? Qatar's <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/24/qatar-denies-nepalese-world-cup-workers-leave-after-earthquakes" target="_blank">reported refusal</a> to grant bereavement leave to the roughly 400,000 migrant workers from Nepal building stadiums for the World Cup following the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake that killed <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/may/25/nepal-one-month-after-earthquake-emotional-impact-devastating" target="_blank">more than 8,000 countrymen</a>. As a result, many Nepalese workers instead must mourn from construction sites in Qatar.</p> <p>On Saturday, the <em>Guardian</em> <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/24/qatar-denies-nepalese-world-cup-workers-leave-after-earthquakes" target="_blank">reported</a> that the Nepalese government called on FIFA and its sponsors to compel Qatar to grant a short-term leave for Nepalese migrant workers and improve conditions for the 1.5 million workers from throughout South Asia. But the Persian Gulf state rebuffed that request, Nepalese labor minister Tek Bahadur Gurung told the <em>Guardian</em>: "Those on World Cup construction sites are not being allowed to leave because of the pressure to complete projects on time."</p> <p>Qatari officials challenged that claim, noting that the nation had granted temporary leave to more than 500 Nepalese workers. That's roughly 0.1 percent of the Nepalese&nbsp;migrant workers on the stadium construction project.</p> <p>The latest <em>Guardian </em>report adds to the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/10/world-cup-human-rights-abuses-brazil-russia-qatar" target="_blank">mounting criticism</a> from <a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/articles/news/2015/05/mounting-risk-of-world-cup-built-on-abuse-as-qatar-fails-to-deliver-reforms/" target="_blank">human rights organizations</a>, <a href="http://www.ibtimes.com/fifa-2022-world-cup-sponsors-visa-adidas-coca-cola-concerned-over-qatars-labor-1932365" target="_blank">corporate sponsors</a>, and foreign officials on Qatar's World Cup preparations. A 2013 <em>Guardian</em> investigation <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/sep/26/qatar-world-cup-migrant-workers-dead" target="_blank">estimated</a><strong>&nbsp;</strong>that at least 4,000 migrant workers, who face dire <a href="http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=11019010" target="_blank">working and living conditions</a> and <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jul/29/qatar-world-cup-stadium-workers-earn-45p-hour" target="_blank">meager pay</a>, will die before kickoff in 2022. Squalid conditions already have led to more than 1,200 worker deaths since Qatar won its 2010 bid to host the World Cup, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/23/qatar-nepal-workers-world-cup-2022-death-toll-doha" target="_blank">including</a> at least 157 Nepalese workers in 2014. (Nepalese workers <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/23/qatar-nepal-workers-world-cup-2022-death-toll-doha" target="_blank">have died at a rate</a> of one every two days.)</p> <p>Despite <a href="http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/fifa-qatar-2022-world-cup-3002734" target="_blank">calls to move</a> the event to another host country, FIFA President Sepp Blatter <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/dec/23/sepp-blatter-qatar-2022-world-cup-too-little-too-late" target="_blank">has guaranteed</a> that the 2022 World Cup will take place as scheduled. In fact, Qatari labor minister Abudullah bin Saleh al-Khulaifi said in May the nation would need more workers to complete the $220 billion stadium and infrastructure construction projects by 2022.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the&nbsp;2018 World Cup in Russia&nbsp;isn't exactly shaping up to be a model event, either: On Monday, Russian officials <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/05/25/world/europe/ap-soc-wcup-russian-prison-labor.html?_r=1&amp;gwh=753D7BEA0E64ED2153CEB563BD154D99&amp;gwt=pay" target="_blank">announced</a> plans to transport prisoners from camps to work at factories in an effort to drive down the World Cup's cost.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Human Rights International Sports World Cup 2022 Tue, 26 May 2015 21:39:08 +0000 Edwin Rios 275836 at http://www.motherjones.com Judges Are Just Extensions of Political Parties These Days http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/judges-are-just-extensions-political-parties-these-days <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>From a post by Dara Lind about a court ruling on <a href="http://www.vox.com/2015/5/26/8662523/immigration-fifth-circuit" target="_blank">President Obama's immigration plan:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The two Republican-appointed judges hearing the case sided against the administration, while the Democratic-appointed judge on the panel sided with the White House.</p> </blockquote> <p>How many times have we read sentences exactly like this? It's a wonder that anyone in the country still believes that federal judges are honest brokers these days.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 26 May 2015 21:33:52 +0000 Kevin Drum 275866 at http://www.motherjones.com Bernie Sanders Has the Most Glorious 404 Error Page Ever http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/05/bernie-sanders-404-error-page <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Think you've landed on the wrong page of Bernie Sanders' campaign site? Fear not. In order to help guide you back<span class="message_content"> to the page you were trying to reach, </span>Sanders, who just announced his presidential bid,&nbsp;created the most terrific <a href="https://berniesanders.com/wtf" target="_blank">error page</a> of any 2016 candidate. Just take a look:</p> <center> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Dhot2OJKKZc" width="630"></iframe></p> </center> <p>Follow his directions: "Just scoot down to the bottom of the page and you'll find your way back home to where you should be!" The site is further enhanced by the perfect URL: <em>berniesanders.com/wtf</em>.</p> <p>Bravo, Bernie. <span class="message_content">The broken links may have turned into your first big win. </span></p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Tue, 26 May 2015 20:38:29 +0000 Inae Oh 275851 at http://www.motherjones.com Remembering Powerhouse Photographer Mary Ellen Mark http://www.motherjones.com/media/2015/05/mary-ellen-mark-photos-mother-jones <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I found out about the death of photographer <a href="http://www.maryellenmark.com/" target="_blank">Mary Ellen Mark</a> the way we learn about the passing of anyone these days&mdash;Facebook. My feed is currently flooded with condolences, remembrances, and laminations for Mark, who died yesterday at age 75.</p> <p>Mark was a powerhouse photographer, a true legend. Her early '80s project on homeless youth, <a href="http://www.maryellenmark.com/books/titles/streetwise/index001_stwise.html" target="_blank"><em>Streetwise</em></a>, remains a canon of documentary photography. In the late '80s and '90s, Mark's work graced the pages of <em>Mother Jones</em> numerous times. Art Director Kerry Tremain made great use of her, both picking up archival images and making assignments such as portraits of journalist I.F. Stone and hip-hop mogul <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/media/2003/09/heeding-hip-hops-higher-calling" target="_blank">Russell Simmons</a>.</p> <p>Mark's work was also featured early in the <em>Mother Jones</em> Fine Prints and Portfolios program, which led to the creation of the <em>Mother Jones</em> Documentary Photo Fund. Her print was part of the New York Portfolio I, alongside other heavy hitters like Nan Goldin, Duane Michaels, Ralph Gibson, and Inge Morath. (Sorry, we no longer have any of the print portfolios.)</p> <p>No doubt there will be many eulogies and recollections of Mark and the impact she made on photography, particularly on social documentary photography, the kind of photography that's been our bread and butter here.</p> <p>Though it's a just a shallow slice of her deep legacy, here's a collection of some of Mark's work for <em>Mother Jones</em>.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/ifstone-sept89-crop.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>I.F. Stone, September 1989</strong></div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/MJ092__12680.p1-crop.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Russell Simmons, November 2003 </strong></div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/mem-15thanniversary_0.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong><em>Mother Jones</em> 15th anniversary issue, 1991 </strong></div> <div class="caption">&nbsp;</div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/mem-msnov901-crop.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Story on <em>Ms.</em> magazine, November 1990 </strong></div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/mem-msnov902-crop.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Story on <em>Ms.</em> magazine, November 1990</strong></div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/novdec92-crop.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Jessica Mitford and Maya Angelou, November 1992 </strong></div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" height="691" src="/files/mem-cover.jpg" width="524"><div class="caption"><strong>"Hollywood's Washington" cover, January 1991 </strong></div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And here's a short piece that Leica produced on Mark:</p> <center><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4w2aaO9WYh4?rel=0" width="560"></iframe></center></body></html> Mixed Media Tue, 26 May 2015 20:33:36 +0000 Mark Murrmann 275841 at http://www.motherjones.com This Is the Unprecedented New Law France Just Passed to Eliminate Supermarket Waste http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/05/france-supermarket-food-waste-ban <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Thursday, France's parliament unanimously approved a <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/french-parliament-cracks-supermarket-waste-31227139" target="_blank">new law</a> prohibiting large supermarkets from throwing out unsold food,&nbsp;instead mandating stores donate any surplus groceries to charities or for animal feed use.</p> <p>The law, which aims to reduce waste in a country where people trash up to <a href="http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/05/france-food-waste-supermarkets-150522070410772.html" target="_blank">30 kilos of food</a> per person annually, is part of a more general energy and&nbsp; environmental bill.</p> <p>"There's an absolute urgency&mdash;charities are desperate for food," MP <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/22/france-to-force-big-supermarkets-to-give-away-unsold-food-to-charity" target="_blank">Yves J&eacute;go said.</a> "The most moving part of this law is that it opens us up to others who are suffering."</p> <p>The new regulations will also ban the common practice of intentionally destroying unsold food by bleaching it&mdash;a process meant to prevent people from searching for food in dumpsters, which has lead to lawsuits after people became sick from eating spoiled food.</p> <p>Now, the local politician who sparked the law's creation is hoping other countries will adopt similar bans on supermarket waste. Arash Derambarsh, who slammed such bleaching practices as "scandalous" to the <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/25/french-supermarkets-donate-food-waste-global-law-campaign" target="_blank"><em>Guardian</em></a>, will take his campaign to a United Nations' summit discussing ways to end poverty this November.</p> <p>In the United States, <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041123095923.htm" target="_blank">nearly half </a>of all food goes uneaten and sent to landfills.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Food and Ag International Tue, 26 May 2015 18:39:05 +0000 Inae Oh 275821 at http://www.motherjones.com How Many US Troops Will Be In Iraq By the Time Obama Leaves Office? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/how-many-us-troops-will-be-iraq-time-obama-leaves-office <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Over the past few days I've been trying to catch up with the fall of Ramadi and what it means for the war against ISIS. But it's not easy figuring out what really happened.</p> <p>According to Defense Secretary Ash Carter, Ramadi was <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/05/24/us/politics/ap-us-united-states-iraq-.html?_r=0" target="_blank">yet another debacle for the Iraqi military:</a> <strong>"What apparently happened is the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight.</strong> They were not outnumbered; in fact, they vastly outnumbered the opposing force. That says to me, and I think <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_ramadi_isis.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">to most of us, that we have an issue with the will of the Iraqis to fight ISIL and defend themselves."</p> <p>The inevitable Kenneth Pollack, however, <a href="http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/markaz/posts/2015/05/22-iraq-ramadi-isis-islamic-state-washington" target="_blank">says that just isn't the case:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>I think it important to start by putting the fall of Ramadi in its proper perspective. Da&rsquo;ish [ISIS] forces have been battling for Ramadi since December 2013, so while the denouement may have come somewhat suddenly and unexpectedly, this is not a new front in the war and it ultimately took Da&rsquo;ish a very long time to take the city. Although Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) did eventually retreat from the town and abandoned at least some heavy weapons doing so, <strong>most reports indicate they fell back to defensive positions outside the town. They did not simply drop their guns and run pell-mell, as many did in June 2014.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>So what does Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi think? He's certain that Carter was fed bad information. Iraqi troops, he says, are just fine: "They have the will to fight, but when they are faced with an onslaught by [the Islamic State] from nowhere . . . with armored trucks packed with explosives &mdash; <strong>the effect of them is like a small nuclear bomb &mdash; it gives a very, very bad effect on our forces,&rdquo;</strong> he said.</p> <p>Contra Pollack, then, Abadi thinks ISIS did indeed come "from nowhere." Also, he wants us to know that his troops have the will to fight, but not when facing an enemy that uses actual weapons. Or something.</p> <p>Beyond this, all the usual suspects blame the whole thing on President Obama and his usual weak-kneed reluctance to support our friends overseas. Unfortunately, that matters, regardless of whether or not it's just reflexive partisan nonsense. When it's loud enough and persistent enough, it starts to congeal into conventional wisdom. And if conventional wisdom says that things aren't going well in the war against ISIS, then the pressure to <em>do something</em> ratchets up steadily&mdash;and not just from the usual suspects. The pressure also comes in more reasonable form from sympathetic critics. For example <a href="http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0524-mcmanus-isis-strategy-20150524-column.html" target="_blank">here, </a>from Doyle McManus of the <em>LA Times</em>, and <a href="http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/markaz/posts/2014/09/26-pollack-assessing-obama-administration-iraq-syria-strategy" target="_blank">here,</a> from Pollack himself.</p> <p>Zack Beauchamp thinks this friendly criticism matters a lot. <a href="http://www.vox.com/2015/5/26/8657965/isis-pollack" target="_blank">Here he is responding to Pollack's piece:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>First, Pollack is right on certain points. For example, the US campaign to equip some Sunni fighters hasn't panned out very well....Second, critics like Pollack are going to jack up the pressure on the administration to put American troops in harm's way. Pollack wants Obama to put American forces on the front lines to more accurately call in US airstrikes. He blames the administration's insistence "that not a single American be killed in this fight" for why this hasn't happened.</p> <p>It's true that the administration has strongly resisted putting American troops in combat positions. That's because they're trying very hard to avoid slouching toward another Iraq war, with a large and growing US combat force that very well might do more harm than good. No combat troops is a red line designed to prevent that escalation.</p> <p>....The foreign policy consensus in Washington is relatively hawkish, so problems with US interventions tend to be seen as problems resulting from not using enough force or committing enough resources. The more the elite consensus shifts against Obama, the more political pressure to escalate will mount. Obama probably will resist it, but the costs of doing so are going up &mdash; as Pollack's piece demonstrates.</p> </blockquote> <p>So now I feel like I've caught up a bit on this. And it hardly matters. It's the same old stuff. On the surface, everyone agrees that this is an Iraqi fight and Iraqis need to fight it. But of course our training of Iraqi troops is woefully inadequate&mdash;something that should come as no surprise to anyone who remembers that a decade wasn't long enough to train Iraqi troops back when George Bush was running things. If Obama could make it happen within a few months, he really would be a miracle worker.</p> <p>But if our training mission isn't working, the alternative is wearily obvious: more American boots on the ground&mdash;which is to say, on the front lines. And again, this comes as no surprise. Anyone who was paying attention knew that Obama's lightweight training-first strategy was likely to take years. We also knew that virtually no one in Washington has that kind of patience. Six months is the usual limit. So even among centrists and moderate hawks, pressure is going to grow to adopt a more aggressive strategy. And that means more Americans fighting on the front lines. And when that isn't enough, even more Americans.</p> <p>Can Obama resist this pressure? If anyone can, it would be him. But I'm not sure that even he can hold out for too long.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 26 May 2015 17:10:31 +0000 Kevin Drum 275816 at http://www.motherjones.com Sen. Lindsey Graham: Iranians in Pool Halls Are All Liars http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/sen-lindsey-graham-iranians-pool-halls-are-all-liars <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Lindsey Graham is the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of the US Senate. Here he is, <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-32850481" target="_blank">slipping into his Mr. Hyde role:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Senator Lindsey Graham, the first speaker Friday morning, appearing from Washington via video, spoke of losing his parents as a teenager, working in a pool hall and having to help raise his younger sister&nbsp;&mdash; and how it <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_graham_jekyll_hyde_0.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">relates to his leadership style.</p> <p><strong>"Everything I learned about Iranians I learned working in the pool room," he said. "I met a lot of liars, and I know Iranians are liars."</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Well, there you have it. It's not entirely clear to me how you'd become so adept at spotting liars in an open game like pool, but I guess ol' Lindsey managed it.</p> <p>In any case, this is certainly the level of nuance and understanding of world affairs that we're getting accustomed to from the Republican presidential field&mdash;and it's only May. By the time, say, September rolls around, they're going to be competing with each other the same way they did four years ago over border security. It won't be long before we start hearing about nukes, giant domes, and Iron Curtain 2.0. Should be lotsa fun.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 26 May 2015 15:20:04 +0000 Kevin Drum 275811 at http://www.motherjones.com Hillary Clinton Store Features Pantsuit T-Shirt of Your Nightmares http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/05/hillary-clinton-store-features-pantsuit-t-shirt-your-nightmares <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Hillary Clinton's campaign <a href="https://shop.hillaryclinton.com/" target="_blank">store</a> is open for business! The online store, stocked with coffee mugs and items emblazoned with Clinton's official 2016 logo, appears to feature the usual swag expected from a political campaign. But one piece of merchandise stands out. That's the "pantsuit t-shirt," which looks like this:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" height="404" src="/files/pantsuit.png" width="616"></div> <p>Love seeing Clinton continue to embrace the pantsuit jokes! But for $30, will supporters put their sartorial reputations on the line by wearing what is essentially an awful <a href="https://www.google.com/search?q=tuxedo+t+shirt&amp;oq=tuxedo+t+shirt&amp;aqs=chrome.0.0l6.5256j0j4&amp;sourceid=chrome&amp;es_sm=91&amp;ie=UTF-8#q=tuxedo+t+shirt&amp;tbm=shop" target="_blank">tuxedo t-shirt?</a> As for the store's adorable <a href="https://shop.hillaryclinton.com/products/future-voter-onesie" target="_blank">"Future Voter" onesie</a>? Nailed it.</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Hillary Clinton Tue, 26 May 2015 15:12:16 +0000 Inae Oh 275806 at http://www.motherjones.com The Freewheeling Fun of Jazz Guitarist Wes Montgomery's Live Concerts http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/05/compilation-jazz-guitar-virtuoso-wes-montgomerys-live-concerts-are-great-fun <!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="https://www.youtube.com/embed/HldQ6-RZr5g" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Wes Montgomery<br><em>In the Beginning</em><br> Resonance</strong></p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" height="272" src="/files/Wes-COVER_outlined.jpeg" width="272"></div> <p>Near the end of his life, jazz guitar virtuoso Wes Montgomery (1923-1968) caught the ear of pop audiences with a series of records that were slick and sophisticated, but a little dull. This vibrant two-disc set is far more satisfying. Spanning 1949 to 1958, <em>In the Beginning</em> is dominated by live performances from Montgomery's hometown of Indianapolis, in small-group settings that often featured brothers Monk (bass) and Buddy (piano), along with underrated tenor sax player Alonzo "Pookie" Johnson. The recordings aren't perfect technically, and the playing isn't always razor-sharp, but all concerned sound like they're having a great time, especially Wes, who swings and struts with a freewheeling joy missing from his later work. Also included are five polished studio tracks produced by none other than a 22-year-old Quincy Jones, although these pale next to the spontaneous sounds of Wes Montgomery onstage, finding himself and having fun.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Video Music Mon, 25 May 2015 20:40:24 +0000 Jon Young 275701 at http://www.motherjones.com Holy Shit! Almonds Require a Ton of Bees http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2015/05/almonds-now-require-85-percent-us-beehives <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Growing 80 percent of the globe's almonds in California doesn't just require <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/02/wheres-californias-water-going" target="_blank">massive amounts of water</a>. It also takes a whole bunch of honeybees for pollination&mdash;roughly two hives' worth for every acre of almonds trees,&nbsp;around 1.7 million hives altogether.&nbsp;That's something like 85 percent of all available commercial hives in the United States, Gene Brandi, a California beekeeper who serves as vice president of the American Beekeeping Federation, recently <a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/05/15/407071581/beekeepers-reported-losing-42-percent-of-honeybee-colonies-last-summer" target="_blank">told</a> NPR.</p> <p>Now, that vast army of bees&mdash;made up, all told, of <a href="http://it's%20a%20pollination-fixated%20army%20consisting%20of%20more%20than%2080%20billion%20flying,%20buzzing%20soldiers." target="_blank">more than 80 billion</a> flying, buzzing soldiers&mdash;doesn't stay put in California's almond-happy Central Valley all year. The almond bloom typically lasts for just a few weeks (or less) in February. The modern honeybee operation is an itinerant business&mdash;beekeepers move hives throughout the year, in pursuit of paid pollination gigs&mdash;from tangerines in Florida to cherries in Washington state&mdash;as well as good forage for honey.</p> <p>But California's almond bloom is the biggest gig of all&mdash;the "largest managed pollination event anywhere in the world," <em>Scientific American</em> reports. And as US honeybee populations' health has flagged in recent years&mdash;most famously epitomized by the mysterious winter die-offs that began around a decade ago, known as colony collapse disorder&mdash;the almond industry has been drawing in a larger and and larger portion of the nation's available bee hives.</p> <p>One question that arises is: Why do the nation's beekeepers uproot themselves and their winged charges to travel to California each year? The state houses about <a href="http://westernfarmpress.com/tree-nuts/honey-bee-shortage-alarms-california-almond-industry">500,000 beehives</a>, meaning that more then 1 million come in, from as far away as Maine. What's the incentive?</p> <p>These days, US beekeepers typically make more money from renting out their bees for pollination than they do from producing honey. "Without pollination income, we'd be out of business," Brandi told me. Income from the two sources varies year to year, but pollination income has grown over the years even as honey revenues have fallen, depressed by competition from imported honey. In 2012, for example, US beekeepers brought in <a href="http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Minnesota/Publications/Livestock_Press_Releases/2014/MN_Honey_03_14.pdf">$283 million from honey</a>, versus an estimated <a href="http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/1679173/special-article-september_-pollinator-service-market-4-.pdf">$656 million</a> from pollination.</p> <p>And California's almond growers have to shell out big money to draw in their pollinators&mdash;between $165 and $200 per hive, vs $45 to $75 a hive a decade ago, according to the <em><a href="http://www.fresnobee.com/news/business/agriculture/article19537314.html#storylink=cpy">Fresno Bee</a></em>. That's around $309 million, if we assume as average price of $182 per hive, the midpoint of the <em>Bee</em>'s range.</p> <p>What's the impact on overall honeybee health, which has been under heavy pressure over the past decade? There are two potential downsides.</p> <p>The first is from pesticides&mdash;<a href="http://www.cdms.net/LDat/ld08S009.pdf" target="_blank">insect growth regulators</a> and <a href="http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/r3902111.html" target="_blank">fungicides</a>&mdash;bees encounter in their travels around almond groves. During the 2014 California almond bloom, between 15 percent and 25 percent of beehives suffered "severe" damage, ranging from complete hive collapse to dead and deformed brood (the next generation of bees incubating in the hive), the&nbsp;Pollinator Stewardship Council <a href="http://http://www.buzzaboutbees.net/support-files/beedeathsamongthealmonds.pdf" target="_blank">estimated</a>. The die-off caused an uproar, and many beekeepers pointed a finger at pesticides&mdash;and they probably had a point, as I showed <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/04/california-almond-farms-blamed-honeybee-die" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <p>This year, Brandi told me, some beekeepers reported losses, but they weren't nearly as severe or widespread as the ones in 2014. In the wake of the 2014 troubles, the Almond Board of California released a set of <a href="http://www.almonds.com/sites/default/files/content/attachments/honey_bee_best_management_practices_for_ca_almonds.pdf" target="_blank">"best management practices"</a> for protecting honeybees during the bloom that, Brandi said, may have influenced growers to avoid particularly harmful pesticide applications. Given that almond growers utterly rely on&mdash;and indeed, pay heavily for&mdash;honeybees for pollinating their crop, it seems logical that they'll avoid poisoning them when possible. There will also be tension, though, as long as almond trees are planted in geographically concentrated and vast groves. Large monocrops provide an ideal habitat for pests like fungi and insects, and thus a strong incentive to respond with chemicals. There's also the possibility that concentrating such a huge portion of the nation's bees in such a tight geographical area facilitates the spread of viruses and other pathogens.</p> <p>The second threat to bee health from pollinating California's massive almond bloom comes from long-distance travel. This one lies at the heart of the beekeeping industry's itinerant business model. Does it compromise bee health to pack hundreds of hives onto a flatbed truck for cross-country trips? The stresses go well beyond the <a href="http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/millions-of-honeybees-spill-along-i-5-everybodys-been-stung/" target="_blank">occasional</a> <a href="http://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/traffic/2014/05/20/truck-carrying-bees-overturns-on-95-on-ramp/9348173/" target="_blank">truck wreck</a>. <em>Scientific American</em> explains the rigors of apiary highway travel like this:</p> <blockquote> <p>The migration&hellip;continually boomerangs honeybees between times of plenty and borderline starvation. Once a particular bloom is over, the bees have nothing to eat, because there is only that one pollen-depleted crop as far as the eye can see. When on the road, bees cannot forage or defecate. And the sugar syrup and pollen patties beekeepers offer as compensation are not nearly as nutritious as pollen and nectar from wild plants. Scientists have a good understanding of the macronutrients in pollen such as protein, fat and carbohydrate, but know very little about its many micronutrients such as vitamins, metals and minerals&mdash;so replicating pollen is difficult.</p> </blockquote> <p>A 2012 <a href="http://www.hindawi.com/journals/psyche/2012/193029/" target="_blank">paper</a>, coauthored by USDA bee researcher Jeff Pettis, found that long-distance travel may indeed have ill health effects&mdash;the researchers found that "bees experiencing transportation have trouble fully developing their food glands and this might affect their ability to nurse the next generation of workers."</p> <p>Brandi, for his part, dismisses travel as a factor in the overall decline in bee health. "Bees have been traveling back and forth across he country for years," he said&mdash;since long before the colony collapse disorder and other health troubles began to emerge a decade ago, he said. He said bee travel has actually gotten less stressful over the years as beekeepers have upgraded to smoother-riding flatbed trucks. He said other factors, including pesticides, declining biodiversity, and mites (a bee pest) are likely more important drivers of declining bee health.</p> <p>Meanwhile, California almond country's massive appetite for pollination isn't likely to dissipate anytime soon. According to the <a href="http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/California/Publications/Fruits_and_Nuts/201505almac.pdf" target="_blank">latest USDA numbers</a>, acreage devoted to almonds expanded by 5 percent in 2014, and growers continue laying in yet more groves this year, <em>Western Farm Press</em> <a href="http://westernfarmpress.com/tree-nuts/california-almonds-break-one-million-acre-plateau" target="_blank">reports</a>. Land&nbsp;devoted to almonds has grown 50 percent since 2005&mdash;and every time farmers add another acre of trees, they need access to two additional bee hives for pollination.&nbsp;</p> <p>So why don't more beekeepers simply move to California and stay put, to take advantage of the world's biggest&mdash;and growing&mdash;pollination gig? I put that question to longtime bee expert Eric Mussen of the University of California-Davis. He said the state is already home to 500,000 of the nation's 2.7 million hives. The almond bloom is great for a few weeks, but in terms of year-round foraging, "California is already at or near its carrying capacity for honeybees," he said&mdash;the areas with the best-quality forage are already well stocked with bees.So satisfying the world's ever-growing appetite for almonds will continue to require an annual armada of beehive-laden trucks.</p></body></html> Tom Philpott Econundrums Food and Ag Top Stories almonds Mon, 25 May 2015 10:00:09 +0000 Tom Philpott 275631 at http://www.motherjones.com Chart: America Is More Liberal Than Politicians Think http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/chart-day-politicians-dont-know-their-own-districts-very-well <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_conservative_attitudes.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Here's a fascinating tidbit of research. <a href="https://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~broockma/broockman_skovron_asymmetric_misperceptions.pdf" target="_blank">A pair of grad students surveyed 2,000 state legislators</a> and asked them what they thought their constituents believed on several hot button issues. They then compared the results to actual estimates from each district derived from national surveys.</p> <p>The chart on the right is typical of what they found: Everyone&mdash;both liberal and conservative legislators&mdash;thought their districts were more conservative than they really were. For example, in districts where 60 percent of the constituents supported universal health care, liberal legislators estimated the number at about 50 percent. Conservative legislators were even further off: They estimated the number at about 35 percent.</p> <p>Why is this so? The authors don't really try to guess, though they do note that legislators don't seem to learn anything from elections. The original survey had been conducted in August, and a follow-up survey conducted after elections in November produced the same result.</p> <p>My own guess would be that conservatives and conservatism simply have a higher profile these days. Between Fox News and the rise of the tea party and (in the case of universal health care) the relentless jihad of Washington conservatives, it's only natural to think that America&mdash;as well as one's own district&mdash;is more conservative than it really is. But that's just a guess. What's yours?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Charts 2016 Elections Elections The Right Top Stories Sun, 24 May 2015 15:28:55 +0000 Kevin Drum 275786 at http://www.motherjones.com Michael B. Jordan Just Slammed People Who Can’t Deal With One of the Fantastic 4 Being Black—And It’s Great http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/05/michael-b-jordan-trolls-human-torch-can-be-black-too <!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="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_rRoD28-WgU" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>These days, when the fate of the world hangs in the balance, the superheroes that end up saving the day are normally straight, white men&mdash;at least on the big screen.&nbsp;</p> <p>While Marvel's comics have become increasingly more diverse over the years with a <a href="http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Next-Spider-Man-May-Another-White-Guy-69939.html" target="_blank">half-black, half-Hispanic Spiderman</a> and a <a href="http://www.vulture.com/2015/05/marvels-female-superhero-renaissance.html" target="_blank">female version of Thor</a>, its cinematic universe <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/women-superheroes-movies-marvel-sony-hunger-games" target="_blank">remains largely male</a> and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.vulture.com/2013/10/marvel-diversity-problem-avengers-shield-comics.html" target="_blank">whitewashed</a>. This is why the backlash to Michael B. Jordan being cast in the highly-anticipated reboot of&nbsp;<em>Fantastic </em><em>Four</em>is so disheartening. When the actor was originally confirmed to play Johnny Storm a.k.a the Human Torch, naysayers took to social media to complain about the black actor would be playing a traditionally white character. (When <em>TMZ</em> <a href="http://screenrant.com/fantastic-four-michael-b-jordan-human-torch-criticism/" target="_blank">asked</a> what he thought of the criticism, Jordan quipped: "They're still going to see [the movie] anyway.")</p> <p>Attention, trolls and comic book purists:&nbsp;The idea that Jordan shouldn't be Johnny Storm because he's black is misguided, because, you know, comic books are fictional and so are the movies.&nbsp;Anyone can fill these roles and&nbsp;do a great job (see Idris Elba<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZXjQee9VA4" target="_blank"> as a Norse god in&nbsp;<em>Thor</em></a>).</p> <p><a href="http://www.ew.com/article/2015/05/22/michael-b-jordan-fantastic-four-race" target="_blank">In an essay</a>&nbsp;published Friday&nbsp;in <em>Entertainment Weekly</em>, Jordan slammed&nbsp; people who are having a hard time accepting that in the new movie only three&nbsp; of the fantastic four are white.</p> <blockquote> <p>This is a family movie about four friends&mdash;two of whom are myself and Kate Mara as my adopted sister&mdash;who are brought together by a series of unfortunate events to create unity and a team. That&rsquo;s the message of the movie, if people can just allow themselves to see it.</p> <p>Sometimes you have to be the person who stands up and says, "I&rsquo;ll be the one to shoulder all this hate. I&rsquo;ll take the brunt for the next couple of generations."&nbsp;I put that responsibility on myself. People are always going to see each other in terms of race, but maybe in the future we won&rsquo;t talk about it as much. Maybe, if I set an example, Hollywood will start considering more people of color in other prominent roles, and maybe we can reach the people who are stuck in the mindset that "it has to be true to the comic book."&nbsp;Or maybe we have to reach past them.</p> <p>To the trolls on the Internet, I want to say: Get your head out of the computer. Go outside and walk around. Look at the people walking next to you. Look at your friends&rsquo; friends and who they&rsquo;re interacting with. And just understand this is the world we live in. It&rsquo;s okay to like it.</p> </blockquote> <p>Let's sum up Jordan's smackdown in one line: The Human Torch is whatever&nbsp;Marvel says it is. You can see how Jordan does in theaters on August 7.&nbsp;</p></body></html> Mixed Media Film and TV Race and Ethnicity Sun, 24 May 2015 00:25:19 +0000 Edwin Rios 275781 at http://www.motherjones.com Obama's Plan to Save the Monarch Butterflies' Epic Migration http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/05/whats-deal-obamas-plan-save-monarch-butterflys-epic-migration <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Earlier this week, amid negotiating <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/obama-leadership-trans-pacific-partnership-tpp" target="_blank">major trade deals</a> and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/05/barack-obama-finally-joins-twitter" target="_blank">joining</a> Twitter, Obama put forth a major infrastructure project: a highway for monarch butterflies.</p> <p>That's right, monarch butterflies. The pollinators are crucial to the health of our ecosystems but, like bees, their populations have <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/02/09/the-monarch-massacre-nearly-a-billion-butterflies-have-vanished/" target="_blank">seen</a> startling drops. Some groups are even <a href="http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/invertebrates/monarch_butterfly/index.html" target="_blank">calling</a> for their protection under the Endangered Species Act. The Obama administration wants to do something about it as part of its&nbsp;strategy to protect pollinating insects, but that turns out to be a tricky task given the monarch's&nbsp;complex life cycle.</p> <p>Each year, millions of monarch butterflies complete a 2,000-mile migration circuit from Mexico to the border of the United States and Canada that is so epic it has inspired <a href="http://makewayformonarchs.org/i/poetry" target="_blank">poetry</a>, <a href="http://www.powells.com/biblio/9780062124265" target="_blank">a novel </a>and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YatyW5ozRAs" target="_blank">documentary</a> <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Le1snq0ROXM" target="_blank">after</a> <a href="http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/butterfly_monarch" target="_blank">documentary</a>.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YatyW5ozRAs" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>The whole process revolves around the butterflies' favorite plant, milkweed, on whose leaves they lay eggs. Milkweed grows in the northern&nbsp;United States and southern Canada, so each spring they <a href="http://www.monarchbutterflyfund.org/node/148" target="_blank">migrate</a> north from Mexico (a process that requires multiple generations), resting along the way on trees like this.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="Monarch butterflies in trees" class="image" src="/files/butterflies%20on%20trees.jpg" style="height: 420px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">Rebecca Blackwell/AP</div> </div> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="Monarch butterflies on branch" class="image" src="/files/butteflies%20on%20branch.jpg" style="height: 422px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">Rebecca Blackwell/AP</div> </div> <p>The generation that arrives up north has just enough energy to lay eggs on milkweed leaves before dying themselves. The new generation, bolstered by the milkweed, then grows up with the strength to make make the autumn trip back to Mexico before the cold, continuing the cycle.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ocWgSgMGxOc" width="630"></iframe></p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="Monarch butterflies" class="image" src="/files/shutterstock_143452636_0.jpg" style="height: 418px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">Noradoa/Shutterstock</div> </div> <p>But a mixture of climate change, development, and herbicide use has <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/01/how-gmo-crops-dethrone-monarch-butterfly">wiped out</a>&gt; the milkweed-hungry monarchs. The US Fish and Wildlife Service <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/02/09/the-monarch-massacre-nearly-a-billion-butterflies-have-vanished/">estimated</a> that nearly one billion butterflies have died since 1990, a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/invertebrates/monarch_butterfly/pdfs/Monarch_ESA_Petition_QA.pdf">90 percent</a> population decline.</p> <p>Enter Obama. As part of his "National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators," his administration&nbsp;has <a href="http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/politics/national-strategy-to-promote-the-health-of-honey-bees-and-other-pollinators/1554/" target="_blank">introduced</a>&nbsp;a plan to <span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 24px;">restore the monarch butterflies' habitat and&nbsp;</span>increase their population by 225 million. The centerpiece of the&nbsp;plan is a "flyway" along Interstate 35, which stretches from Texas to Minnesota. The plan calls for turning federally owned land along the interstate corridor into milkweed refuges for the butterflies.</p> <p>Will it work? Many don't think it's enough, including Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. "The goal the strategy sets for the monarch butterfly migration is far too low for the population to be resilient," she said in an email adding&nbsp;more protection and a ban of harmful pesticides are needed to save them.</p> <p>One source of hope for the insect is its beauty. No one wants to see these iconic butterflies go away.</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="600" src="https://vine.co/v/O9rFPxu9Yql/embed/simple" width="630"></iframe><script src="https://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js"></script></p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="monarch butterfly" class="image" src="/files/shutterstock_93648106.jpg" style="height: 367px; width: 630px; float: left;"><div class="caption">Jean-Edouard Rozey/Shutterstock</div> <div class="caption"> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="monarch butterfly" class="image" src="/files/AP166429473329.jpg" style="height: 452px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">Rebecca Blackwell/AP</div> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> Blue Marble Animals Climate Change Top Stories Sat, 23 May 2015 19:52:56 +0000 Luke Whelan 275751 at http://www.motherjones.com So How Did My Experiment Turn Out? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/so-how-did-my-experiment-turn-out <!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.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/its-experiment-week" target="_blank">On Monday</a> I announced that this was Experiment Week. Today is Saturday, and Science&trade; has spoken.</p> <p>It turns out that I'm kinda sorta OK for about four or five hours in the morning. As long as I rest every hour or so, I can indeed write a couple of light blog posts, <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_2_oclock.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">take a walk around the block, and shower and shave. That's the good news.</p> <p>However, the deadline for my second walk of the day is about 2 pm. On Monday I walked at 5 pm, and when I was done I felt like I'd just run a marathon. It took me all evening to recover. On Tuesday I walked at 4 pm. This time it felt like I'd run a mile, and I recovered in about an hour. Basically, I've learned that my body wants to crash at about 2 pm every day. Maybe I doze for a couple of hours, maybe I actually sleep a bit, but either way I'm good for nothing. By 5 pm I'm back up, but all my chemo side effects have started to get worse. The neuropathy is worse, the nausea is worse, and the fatigue is worse. This continues until bedtime, getting steadily worse the entire time.</p> <p>So that's that. I have the energy for light activity from about 7 am to 2 pm. Then I collapse, and when I get up I spend the next five or six hours enduring crappy side effects of the chemo. Oh, and this includes a terrible taste in my mouth that never goes away. Ugh.</p> <p>But it could be worse! In fact, it's <em>been</em> worse before. Still, it's frustrating that recovery seems to come so slowly. I don't know if I'll be spending another week like this or another couple of months. All I can do is wait and see.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 23 May 2015 17:42:23 +0000 Kevin Drum 275776 at http://www.motherjones.com Ireland Is Latest Country to Approve Gay Marriage http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/ireland-latest-country-approve-gay-marriage <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_ireland_gay_marriage.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">I don't have anything profound to say about this, but it's just a nice piece of good news. And I could use <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/yes-side-joyous-as-count-starts-in-irish-gay-marriage-vote/2015/05/23/3e7d509a-012b-11e5-8c77-bf274685e1df_story.html?hpid=z1" target="_blank">some good news these days:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Irish voters have resoundingly backed amending the constitution to legalize gay marriage, leaders on both sides of the Irish referendum declared Saturday after the world&rsquo;s first national vote on the issue.</p> <p>As the official ballot counting continued, the only question appeared to be how large the &ldquo;yes&rdquo; margin of victory from Friday&rsquo;s vote would be. Analysts said the &ldquo;yes&rdquo; support was likely to exceed 60 percent nationally when official results are announced later Saturday.</p> </blockquote> <p>Congratulations to Ireland. This is both a human <em>and</em> humane gesture in a world that could use more of them.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 23 May 2015 15:38:12 +0000 Kevin Drum 275771 at http://www.motherjones.com This GoPro Video From Inside An F-18 Fighter Jet Is Absolutely Bonkers http://www.motherjones.com/contributor/2015/05/planes-are-neat-fun-cool-flying-is-neat-fun-cool <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/clipgif.gif"><div class="caption">ABC News</div> </div> <p>GoPro videos are cool. Fighter jets (<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/12/f-35-pentagon-budget-deal-cupcakes" target="_blank">that aren't the F-35</a>) are cool. GoPro videos from fighter jets are unsurprisingly cool.</p> <p>This one was <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/video/cockpit-blue-angel-pilot-23056307" target="_blank">featured on ABC News</a> last year but I only discovered it just now courtesy of Nightline producer <a href="https://twitter.com/MeredithFrost/status/601941330625835009" target="_blank">Meredith Frost on Twitter.</a> (<a href="http://twitter.com/meredithfrost" target="_blank">Follow her</a>.)</p> <p>You should watch it! Or not. I mean, you don't have to. It takes all sorts to make a world. Maybe you want to leave a comment asking incredulously "why is this news?" Either way, have a great night!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe height="354" scrolling="no" src="http://abcnews.go.com/video/embed?id=23056307" style="border:none;" width="630"></iframe><br><a href="http://abcnews.go.com/video">ABC News Videos</a> | <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/entertainment">ABC Entertainment News</a></p></body></html> Contributor Video Sat, 23 May 2015 03:28:10 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 275766 at http://www.motherjones.com Holy Shit. This Is How the Duggars' Homeschooling Curriculum Allegedly Dealt With Sexual Abuse. http://www.motherjones.com/contributor/2015/05/holy-shit-how-duggars-homeschooling-curriculum-allegedly-dealt-sexual-abuse <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>All I can tell you about this tweet is that the Duggars <a href="http://jezebel.com/conservative-leader-with-ties-to-duggar-family-faces-ab-1536648157" target="_blank">are/were fans of Bill Gothard</a> and that this sexual abuse "lesson" <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/micah-j-murray/growing-up-in-bill-gothar_b_5228166.html" target="_blank">does appear</a> to have been a part of his curriculum at one time.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">The Duggars use Bill Gothard's Advanced Training Institute for homeschooling. This is how sexual abuse is approached: <a href="http://t.co/hSqOKUk0uv">pic.twitter.com/hSqOKUk0uv</a></p> &mdash; Sarah Galo (@SarahEvonne) <a href="https://twitter.com/SarahEvonne/status/601838249959620608">May 22, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p><a href="http://powderroom.kinja.com/how-are-the-duggars-dealing-with-the-gothard-sex-scanda-1581883720" target="_blank">Gothard himself has been the subject of sordid allegations</a>.</p> <p><em><strong>Update</strong></em>: "This is what purity culture does. More than anything else, it silences victims." &mdash;<a href="http://twitter.com/samanthapfield" target="_blank">Samantha Field</a>, whose <a href="http://defeatingthedragons.wordpress.com/2015/05/22/how-josh-duggar-is-getting-away-with-it/" target="_blank">thoughtful post "how Josh Duggar is getting away with it"</a> served as <a href="https://twitter.com/SarahEvonne/status/601886676764463105" target="_blank">Sarah Galo's source</a> for Gothard's insane sexual abuse counseling sheet. <a href="http://defeatingthedragons.wordpress.com/2015/05/22/how-josh-duggar-is-getting-away-with-it/" target="_blank">Go read the whole thing.</a></p></body></html> Contributor Fri, 22 May 2015 22:11:22 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 275761 at http://www.motherjones.com For the First Time Ever, Social Conservatives No Longer Outnumber Social Liberals in America http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/first-time-ever-conservatives-no-longer-outnumber-liberals-america <!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.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2015_05/no_more_social_conservative_te055694.php" target="_blank">Via Ed Kilgore,</a> here's an interesting chart <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/183386/social-ideology-left-catches-right.aspx" target="_blank">from the good folks at Gallup:</a></p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_gallup_liberal_conservative_1.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 15px 55px;"></p> <p>What's interesting about this is that the change is due almost entirely to Democrats and Democratic leaners. Since 1999, that group has gone from 35 percent socially liberal to 53 percent, and from 20 percent socially conservative to 14 percent conservative.</p> <p>Republicans and Republican leaners, by contrast, have barely budged. In the 2015 polling there's a slight dip in conservative ID and a slight spike in moderate ID, but it's probably just noise. Generally speaking, the lines are pretty flat over the past couple of decades.</p> <p>So why have Democrats changed so much? Perhaps it's the impact of Millennials. Perhaps it's the impact of gay marriage, which Democrats have been far more willing to accept than Republicans. Maybe MSNBC and liberal blogs have had a bigger impact than I would have guessed. I'm not sure. But the increase has been steady enough that it can't be blamed on any specific event, like the Bush presidency or the financial crisis.</p> <p>In any case, this really is a milestone. For a long time, one of the rocks of political analysis in America has been the simple fact that conservatives outnumber liberals. That's been true since at least the 60s, and probably for the entire postwar period&mdash;and it's been a perpetual millstone around Democratic necks. They couldn't win national elections just by getting the liberal vote and a little bit of the center-right vote. They had to get a <em>lot</em> of the center-right vote.</p> <p>But it now looks like that era is coming to an end. With social issues increasingly defining politics, a social liberal is, for all practical purposes, just a plain old liberal&mdash;and the trend of <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/180452/liberals-record-trail-conservatives.aspx" target="_blank">increasing liberal ID is already underway.</a> It's still got a ways to go, but the liberal-conservative gap is definitely closing. This probably goes a long way toward explaining why Hillary Clinton and other Democrats seem much more willing to move left than in the past. It's because they no longer think they have to capture a huge chunk of the moderate vote to win. They still need some moderates in their camp, but they no longer need to capture two-thirds or more of them. Like Republicans, they can make do with half or even a bit less.</p> <p><strong>UPDATE:</strong> The headline initially just said "liberal" and "conservative" without mentioning that it was about <em>social</em> liberals and conservatives. Too much shorthand. Sorry about that. I've changed the headline and a few words of the text to make everything clear.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 22 May 2015 16:40:29 +0000 Kevin Drum 275726 at http://www.motherjones.com Friday Cat Blogging Counterpoint: I Don't Care About Your Cute Cat http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/cats-dogs-pets-pandas-whatever <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><em>While Kevin Drum is <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/04/housekeeping-note" target="_blank">focused on getting better</a>, we've invited some remarkable writers, thinkers, and Friends of Kevin to contribute posts and keep the conversation going. Today, in the spirit of open debate, we interrupt our regularly scheduled <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/friday-cat-blogging-22-may-2015" target="_blank">cat blogging</a> for a counterpoint by <a href="http://annfriedman.com/clips" target="_blank">writer</a>, <a href="http://annfriedman.com/day-jobs" target="_blank">editor</a>, <a href="http://annfriedman.com/cyg" target="_blank">podcaster</a>, <a href="http://annfriedman.com/speaking" target="_blank">speaker</a>, <a href="http://annfriedman.com/tagged/pie+charts" target="_blank">chartisan</a>, <a href="https://tinyletter.com/annfriedman" target="_blank">newsletterer</a>, and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2006/11/mail-order-abortions" target="_blank">former </a></em><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2006/11/mail-order-abortions" target="_blank">MoJo</a><em><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2006/11/mail-order-abortions" target="_blank">er</a></em><em> <a href="http://annfriedman.com/bio" target="_blank">Ann Friedman</a>.</em></p> <p>I don't like cats. And it's even worse than you think: I don't like dogs, either. In fact, I have virtually no interest in animals at all&mdash;even eating them. I am really happy that you are comforted by the presence of your dog. I am thrilled that you and your cat "rescued each other." But, no, I do not want to cuddle with or even see photos of your pet. And please don't bother sending me that video of <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Se6flT2EWs">baby red pandas</a> cuddling each other or a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Co3N4-6B2pM">lion reuniting</a> with its long-lost human pal.</p> <p>I feel nothing.</p> <p>On this point, especially among my feminist peers on the internet, I am in the minority. In honor of the man who <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/28/technology/circuits/28cats.html">pioneered Friday cat blogging</a>, I'm going to reckon with the fact that I am just not very interested in furry creatures. The last time I wrote about this was seven years ago, in ancient internet times when I was a blogger for <em>Feministing</em> and <a href="http://feministing.com/2007/08/31/friday_anticat_blogging_1/">dared</a> to do some "Friday anti-catblogging." The commenters weren't having it. "I honestly think that there is a valuable conversation to be had about the correlation of cat-hating with misogyny," one wrote.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/kevin-drum/2015/05/cats-dogs-pets-pandas-whatever"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Kevin Drum Animals Top Stories Fri, 22 May 2015 16:34:47 +0000 Ann Friedman 275621 at http://www.motherjones.com Kansas Republicans Have Come Up with a Disgraceful New Way to Screw the Poor http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/05/heres-how-kansas-republicans-are-screwing-poor <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Starting in July, a new law in Kansas will restrict the amount of cash a welfare recipient can take out of ATM's to just $25 a day&mdash;a move that critics say introduces a whole new host of financial burdens&mdash;including high ATM fees and travel costs&mdash;when they access cash.</p> <p>Max Ehrenfreund at the <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/05/21/kansas-has-found-the-ultimate-way-to-punish-the-poor/" target="_blank"><em>Washington Post </em></a>explains:</p> <blockquote> <p>Since&nbsp;most banking machines&nbsp;are stocked only with $20 bills, the $25 limit is effectively a $20 limit.&nbsp;A family seeking to withdraw even $200 in cash would have to&nbsp;visit an&nbsp;ATM 10 times a month, a real burden for a parent&nbsp;who might not have a car and might not live in a neighborhood where ATMs are easy to find.</p> </blockquote> <p>The law, backed by a GOP-dominated Kansas legislature and Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, will benefit the pockets of large banks while taking money from poor families who rely on food stamps.</p> <blockquote> <p>In Kansas's system, every withdrawal incurs a $1 fee, and if the beneficiary doesn't have a bank account, they will have to pay the ATM fee, too. Those fees might be worth it for some families, though, because the card issued by the&nbsp;state of&nbsp;Kansas isn't like a debit card from&nbsp;an ordinary bank. Ordinary debit cards allow their holders to make purchases for free in stores.&nbsp;In Kansas, beneficiaries get two free purchases a month. After that, they pay 40 cents&nbsp;every time they&nbsp;use the card&nbsp;to buy something.</p> </blockquote> <p>The ostensible rationale for this redistribution of wealth is to minimize waste and prevent low income residents from spending their money on non-essentials like alcohol and the much-feared <a href="https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play;_ylt=A2KLqID3R19Voj8AGCQsnIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTByZWc0dGJtBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDBGdwb3MDMQ--?p=Jon+Stewart+Welfare+Lobster&amp;vid=18b18abf873d9a1be0d926b9b75785fa&amp;l=4%3A46&amp;turl=http%3A%2F%2Fts3.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DWN.%252fdXqe5QFyMSifoOUVN2FVQ%26pid%3D15.1&amp;rurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DHxBDhoIpl5g&amp;tit=Jon+Stewart+slams+Kansas+for+welfare+hypocrisy+and+gun+insanity+%5BFULL+HD%5D&amp;c=0&amp;sigr=11bm6l0bl&amp;sigt=129lccqen&amp;sigi=12141uhgf&amp;age=1428684620&amp;fr2=p%3As%2Cv%3Av&amp;fr=yhs-mozilla-001&amp;hsimp=yhs-001&amp;hspart=mozilla&amp;tt=b" target="_blank">lobster feast</a>. This is the demonizing-the-poor trope that Republican lawmakers frequently deploy to justify punitive control over how low income people spend their money. In addition to the limit on withdrawals, the state's new law carries restrictions to ludicrous levels by prohibiting spending on items such as <a href="http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2015_16/measures/documents/hb2258_02_0000.pdf" target="_blank">swimming pools and fortune telling sessions.</a></p> <p>As <em>Mother Jones </em>has written in the past, such <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/03/10-poverty-myths-busted" target="_blank">concerns</a> are wildly misplaced and seriously hurt the poor. President Obama recently addressed this conservative characterization, calling out Fox News for portraying the poor as <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/05/fox-news-probably-never-even-read-the-grapes-of-wrath" target="_blank">lazy "leeches"</a> eager to waste government funds.</p> <p>Fortunately, Kansas' controversial new provision may actually turn out to be <a href="http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/05/17/266888/kansas-could-lose-millions-for.html" target="_blank">illegal,</a> violating federal law that mandates welfare recipients "have adequate access to their cash assistance" without enduring high fees.<br> &nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Economy Income Inequality Fri, 22 May 2015 16:19:19 +0000 Inae Oh 275716 at http://www.motherjones.com Friday Cat Blogging - 22 May 2015 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/friday-cat-blogging-22-may-2015 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>One of the reasons we got a pair of sibling cats last year is because I've always wanted a couple of cats who would sleep together in an adorable little kitty pile. And that's worked out pretty well. Is there anything cuter than Hilbert and Hopper snoozing together in the picture below? I don't think so. I really don't.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hilbert_hopper_2015_05_21.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 40px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 22 May 2015 16:00:12 +0000 Kevin Drum 275711 at http://www.motherjones.com