Blogs | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/Blogs/_and_articles http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en Marcobot Is Now Programmed to Repeat... Repeat... Repeat http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/marcobot-now-programmed-repeatrepeatrepeat <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A friend passes along Marco Rubio's annoyance with all the folks who are mocking his habit of robotic talking point repetition. Here he is on Sean Hannity's show tonight:</p> <blockquote> <p>First of all, it's silly because, yes, it might be the 80th time that reporter heard it, but if I'm at a town hall in Iowa or New Hampshire, that might be the only time that those people hear it....And it may be the 100th time that a member of the press corps heard it, but it might be the first and only time that that voter gets to hear it.</p> </blockquote> <p>"See how different those two sentences are?" asks my friend. "One says 80th and the other says 100th.&nbsp; And it's 'that reporter' versus 'the press corps.'"</p> <p>Poor Marco. This stuff is now so lodged in his brain that he probably couldn't stop himself if he tried. It's amazing how thoroughly Chris Christie has gotten inside his OODA loop.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 11 Feb 2016 06:20:17 +0000 Kevin Drum 296606 at http://www.motherjones.com President Obama Shows How to Defend Pragmatism the Right Way http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/president-obama-shows-how-defend-pragmatism-right-way <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>So did President Obama kinda sorta endorse Hillary Clinton and her pragmatic approach to politics in his Springfield speech today? Not really. He was pretty focused on the bitterness and polarization of contemporary political culture and what <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_obama_hillary_clinton.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">we could do about it. But there were a few places where he seemed like he was giving Hillary a little boost <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/02/10/remarks-president-address-illinois-general-assembly" target="_blank">if you cocked your ears just right:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>I learned by talking to your constituents that if you were willing to listen, it was possible to bridge a lot of differences....<strong>They understand the difference between realism and idealism;</strong> the difference between responsibility and recklessness. They had the maturity to know what can and cannot be compromised, and to admit the possibility that the other side just might have a point.</p> <p>....Our progress has never been inevitable. It must be fought for, and won by all of us, with the kind of patriotism that our fellow Illinoisan, Adlai Stevenson, once described <strong>not as a &ldquo;short, frenzied outburst of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>....Trying to find common ground doesn't make me less of a Democrat or less of a progressive. <strong>It means I&rsquo;m trying to get stuff done</strong>....Rather than accept the notion that compromise is a sellout to one side, we&rsquo;ve got to insist on the opposite&nbsp;&mdash; that it can be a genuine victory that means progress for all sides.</p> </blockquote> <p>Obama's defense of realism vs. idealism and his irritation toward "short, frenzied" outbursts of emotion could be read as implicit criticisms of Bernie Sanders. Likewise, his defense of his progressive record includes a deliberate echo of Hillary Clinton's description of herself as a "progressive who likes to get things done."</p> <p>It's not much, and it was relatively subtle. Still, even when he acknowledged that our democracy "seems stuck" and "we have to find a new way of doing business," he didn't endorse anything revolutionary. Quite the contrary. It became yet another chance to urge pragmatism and hard work: "In a big, complicated democracy like ours, if we can&rsquo;t compromise, by definition, we can&rsquo;t govern ourselves."</p> <p>It's unfortunate for Hillary that she can't defend this kind of politics effectively. Obama somehow makes the hard slog of slow change sound noble and heroic. Hillary makes it sound workmanlike at best and defeatist at worst. She may not ever have the simple kind of elevator pitch that Bernie Sanders has, but if she could make her brand of pragmatism sound just a little more uplifting&mdash;a little more vital&mdash;I'll bet she'd be having a lot fewer problems right now.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 11 Feb 2016 06:10:40 +0000 Kevin Drum 296596 at http://www.motherjones.com Uninsured Rate Ticks Up a Bit at End of 2015 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/uninsured-rate-ticks-bit-end-2015 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Every quarter I take a look at the CDC's survey of the uninsured to see how Obamacare is doing. So far it's doing pretty well. However, the CDC data is always six months behind, and a few days ago I noticed that <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/188045/uninsured-rate-fourth-quarter-2015.aspx" target="_blank">Gallup's more timely survey</a> showed an increase in the uninsured rate over the last two quarters of 2015. I figured I'd have to wait another month <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_cdc_uninsured_q3_2015.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">to see if the CDC confirmed this, but their <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhis/earlyrelease/quarterly_estimates_2010_2015_q123.pdf" target="_blank">latest data</a> came out earlier than I expected. Sure enough, in the third quarter they show a small increase in the uninsured.</p> <p>Unfortunately, I don't have anything trenchant to say about this. The data is a little noisy, and this might be nothing more than the usual bouncing around. Or it might represent a normal uptick at the end of the year, as people lose insurance before the new signup period. It's probably not really possible to say until we have quite a bit more data. And it's worth noting that the uninsured rate is still more than a percentage point below the original CBO projection.</p> <p>But the raw data is the raw data. Good or bad, it's here for everyone to noodle over.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 11 Feb 2016 05:03:55 +0000 Kevin Drum 296586 at http://www.motherjones.com Does Obama Still Have That Old-Time Magic? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/does-obama-still-have-old-time-magic <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In a few minutes President Obama will be back in Springfield making a speech addressed to his supporters. "You've taken on the painstaking work of progress," he says. "You've helped us find that middle ground where real change is won....I hope you'll tune in today at 2:30 p.m. Eastern." <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/images/Blog_Obama_FDR.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">Andrew Sprung figures this is basically going to be <a href="http://xpostfactoid.blogspot.com/2016/02/coming-today-obama-message-for-hillary.html" target="_blank">an endorsement of Hillary Clinton:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Obama just sent an email to supporters announcing a speech to be delivered this afternoon. I imagine it will be a message "for" Clinton&nbsp;&mdash; both to support her and to model a coherent pitch for incremental change.</p> <p>....Then there's "the painstaking work of progress" and the 'middle ground where real change is won." Those are memes pointed at this moment, in which the frontrunners in both parties are calling for radical, fundamental change.... Incrementalism is a tough sell, but Obama has made it throughout his career, and he does so more effectively than Clinton. He's more successful because he's better at articulating the long-term goal and how the incremental steps move toward them, as well as the historical framework in which those steps fit.</p> </blockquote> <p>But will it work? Personally, I've always viewed Obama as a cautious, pragmatic, mainstream liberal. But his strongest supporters never saw him that way. They really believed he was going to revolutionize Washington DC and end all the bickering. He'd pass universal health care, rein in Wall Street once and for all, and stop climate change in its tracks.</p> <p>But he didn't. And the conventional wisdom says that his supporters from 2007&mdash;when he first went to Springfield to announce his candidacy&mdash;are disappointed in him. He turned out to be just another go-along-get-along guy, and now he wants to foist a go-along-get-along gal on us. Sorry. No sale. We're feeling the Bern these days.</p> <p>We'll see. But I will say this: If Obama really wants to help Hillary Clinton, he can't afford too much subtlety. Any criticism of radical change will be read by liberals as primarily an attack on Donald Trump unless he makes it crystal clear what he's talking about. Tune in at 2:30 and find out!</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 10 Feb 2016 19:21:55 +0000 Kevin Drum 296536 at http://www.motherjones.com Here's Why Bernie Sanders Doesn't Say Much About Welfare Reform http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/heres-why-bernie-sanders-doesnt-say-much-about-welfare-reform <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Clio Chang and Samuel Adler-Bell want to know why Bernie Sanders hasn't spent more time blasting the Clinton-era welfare reform law and proposing <a href="https://newrepublic.com/article/128878/missing-bernies-revolution-welfare-reform" target="_blank">concrete ways to address poverty:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>While Sanders frequently repeats and laments the statistic that one in five American children live in poverty, neither he nor Clinton has put forward a specific plan to address it. And neither spends much time talking about food stamps, housing subsidies, or the Earned Income Tax Credit, all essential programs for the poor.</p> <p>Liberal pundits have criticized Clinton for defending her husband&rsquo;s welfare legislation&mdash;and for parroting the conservative caricature of welfare beneficiaries as "deadbeats"&mdash;but so far, it hasn&rsquo;t created any serious problems for her campaign. But this, perhaps, is to be expected from a more moderate Democrat. <strong>The oversight is arguably a more glaring problem for Sanders, who voted against the welfare bill and harshly condemned it in his 1997 book, but hasn&rsquo;t made it an issue in the primary.</strong> In August, he told Bloomberg, with uncharacteristic restraint, "I think that history will suggest that that legislation has not worked terribly well."</p> </blockquote> <p>One reason for this restraint may be simple: perhaps Sanders believes that the best approach to poverty is to enact his broad economic revolution. Once that's done, poverty will start to decrease.</p> <p>But there's another possible reason: maybe welfare reform has turned out not to be an especially big deal. After all, by 1996 the old AFDC program accounted for <a href="https://aspe.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/180706/4spending.pdf" target="_blank">only about $20 billion in spending,</a> a tiny fraction of the total welfare budget&mdash;and the difference in spending between AFDC and the TANF program that took its place is <a href="https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/114th-congress-2015-2016/reports/49887-TANF.pdf" target="_blank">even more minuscule.</a> The truth is that it's barely noticeable compared to <em>increases</em> in social welfare spending during the 90s from changes to CHIP, EITC, the minimum wage, and so forth.</p> <p>On that score, it's worth taking a look at social welfare spending more broadly. But what's the best way? We spend just shy of a trillion dollars a year on social welfare and safety net programs, but that number bounces up and down when the economy goes into recession and more people need help. That tells us more about the economic cycle than it does about anti-poverty programs. Instead, we need to look at spending per person in poverty. This gives us a better idea of how <em>policy</em> has responded to poverty over the past few decades. So here it is:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_welfare_spending.jpg" style="margin: 15px 0px 15px 13px;"></p> <p>I chose 150 percent of the poverty level as my metric, but the truth is that it doesn't matter much. This chart looks pretty much the same whether you show total spending, per capita spending, or spending per family below the poverty level. If you remove Medicaid from the mix, the spending increase isn't as steep but otherwise looks little different.</p> <p>There are two obvious takeaways from this. First, overall spending on social welfare programs has increased by 3x since 1980. That's pretty substantial. Second, if the 1996 welfare reform act had any effect on this steady rise in spending, you'd need a chart the size of my house to make it out. Perhaps Bernie Sanders knows this, and understands that in the great scheme of things, welfare reform just isn't worth fighting over anymore.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 10 Feb 2016 18:24:58 +0000 Kevin Drum 296521 at http://www.motherjones.com Two Prominent Black Intellectuals Just Delivered More Bad News for Clinton http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/two-prominent-black-intellectuals-just-came-out-bernie-sanders <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>After a crushing loss in New Hampshire on Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton may be having an even worse morning. As her campaign turns to South Carolina, where she hopes to win the primary with the support of African American voters on February 27, two prominent black intellectuals issued forceful statements Wednesday morning that could boost her rival, Bernie Sanders.</p> <p>"I will be voting for Sen. Sanders," Ta-Nehisi Coates, a correspondent for <em>The</em> <em>Atlantic </em>and the author of the 2015 National Book Award winner <em>Between the World and Me,</em> said Wednesday in an <a href="http://www.democracynow.org/2016/2/10/ta_nehisi_coates_is_voting_for" target="_blank">interview</a> on <em>Democracy Now!</em> Coates has written critically of Sanders recently for not embracing reparations for African Americans as part of his economic and social justice platform.</p> <p>A much stronger rebuke of Clinton came from Michelle Alexander, the author of <em>The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness</em>, who blasted the former secretary of state in an <a href="http://www.thenation.com/article/hillary-clinton-does-not-deserve-black-peoples-votes/" target="_blank">essay</a> published Wednesday on the website of <em>The Nation </em>titled "Why Hillary Clinton Doesn't Deserve the Black Vote." In it, Alexander argued that the economic and criminal justice policies of the Bill Clinton administration, from the 1994 crime bill to welfare reform in 1996, were devastating to African Americans&mdash;and that Hillary Clinton was a force in that administration whose role should be scrutinized and whose current positions on criminal justice and racial equality are not strong enough.</p> <p>Ironically, perhaps, Alexander cites Coates at the end of the essay in also critiquing Sanders.</p> <blockquote> <p>This is not an endorsement for Bernie Sanders, who after all voted for the 1994 crime bill. I also tend to agree with Ta-Nehisi Coates that the way the Sanders campaign handled the question of reparations is one of many signs that Bernie doesn't quite get what's at stake in serious dialogues about racial justice. He was wrong to dismiss reparations as "divisive," as though centuries of slavery, segregation, discrimination, ghettoization, and stigmatization aren't worthy of any specific acknowledgement or remedy.</p> <p>But recognizing that Bernie, like Hillary, has blurred vision when it comes to race is not the same thing as saying their views are equally problematic. Sanders opposed the 1996 welfare-reform law. He also opposed bank deregulation and the Iraq War, both of which Hillary supported, and both of which have proved disastrous. In short, there is such a thing as a lesser evil, and Hillary is not it.</p> </blockquote> <p>Coates and Alexander are by no means the first black intellectuals to express skepticism of Clinton and endorse Sanders. Princeton University professor Cornel West, for example, has campaigned with Sanders. On Wednesday morning, Sanders <a href="http://www.npr.org/2016/02/10/466276101/bernie-sanders-dines-with-al-sharpton-in-harlem" target="_blank">traveled to Harlem</a> to have breakfast with the Rev. Al Sharpton.</p> <p>Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the <em>Washington Post</em> <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/02/09/jim-clyburn-considering-endorsing-clinton-as-harry-reid-reiterates-neutrality-pledge/" target="_blank">reported</a> that Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), the most prominent black politician in South Carolina, is considering endorsing Clinton. She still has plenty of backing in the black political establishment. But the comments from Coates and Alexander Wednesday are a sign that the degree of support Clinton is counting on from the black community might be slipping away, and that she may not be able to sew up the black vote in South Carolina, as her supporters have long predicted.</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Crime and Justice Hillary Clinton bernie sanders Wed, 10 Feb 2016 17:55:55 +0000 Pema Levy 296511 at http://www.motherjones.com The 2016 Election Is Likely to Be a Close One http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/2016-election-likely-be-close-one <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><span class="trb_ar_by_nm_pm"><span class="trb_ar_by_nm_au" data-byline-withoutby=""><span itemprop="author">In the <em>LA Times</em> today, Maria Bustillos says she can't support Hillary Clinton because of her vote for the Iraq War, her ties to Wall Street, her sellout "pragmatism," and the fact that Henry Kissinger recently said complimentary things about her. "</span></span></span>Those are words that should cause any real progressive of <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_sanders_pointing.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">any gender to damn near have an aneurysm." It's hard to argue with that.</p> <p>So far, no problem. Those are all good reasons to vote for Bernie. <a href="http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0210-bustillos-female-bernie-voter-20160210-story.html" target="_blank">But what comes next is pretty disturbing:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Much as I support Sanders' lifelong, rock-ribbed liberalism, I might have been persuaded to vote for a Democrat somewhat to the right of him in hopes of bringing some moderate Republicans along for the ride&mdash;especially in view of that party's clown car primary. But none of those halfway-reasonable leftists ran: not Al Gore, not Russ Feingold, not Elizabeth Warren. And the very clownishness of that madly tootling Republican vehicle, I believe, <strong>virtually ensures that whichever Democrat secures the nomination will win the general.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>I wonder how common this belief is? Not too common, I hope, because it's wishful thinking in the extreme. Democrats have held the White House for eight years and the economy is in okay but not great shape. Those are not great fundamentals for a Democratic victory.</p> <p>Now, it's also true that demographic shifts are making the electorate steadily more Democratic. And candidate quality matters: If Republicans nominate a Donald Trump or a Ted Cruz, they'll be shooting themselves in the foot. Nonetheless, every bit of history and political science modeling suggests that this will <em>at least</em> be a close election&mdash;and possibly one that favors Republicans at the start.</p> <p>You should vote for whomever appeals to you. But if you're operating under the delusion that Democrats can literally nominate anyone they want because nobody sane will vote for any of those crazy Republicans, you'd better think twice. This is a belief that betrays both a lazy liberal insularity about the nature of the electorate and an appalling amnesia about a political era that's brought us Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay, Dick Cheney, Paul Ryan, and the entire tea party. This election is no runaway, folks.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 10 Feb 2016 17:06:01 +0000 Kevin Drum 296506 at http://www.motherjones.com You May Officially Stop Wigging Out About Twitter http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/you-may-officially-stop-wigging-out-about-twitter <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Finally we have some closure. Not in the presidential campaign, of course, which remains in chaos, but in our Twitter feeds. Today we learned that Twitter's new "algorithm" is apparently a feature that curates which tweets you see first <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/11/technology/twitter-announcement-q4-earnings.html?hp&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;clickSource=story-heading&amp;module=second-column-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news" target="_blank">if you've been away for a while:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The company, based in San Francisco, announced on Wednesday that it would start showing a selection of tweets that a user who has been away from the service might want to see. &ldquo;There are lots of people on Twitter who follow hundreds or even thousands of accounts,&rdquo; Jeff Seibert, Twitter&rsquo;s senior director of product, said in an interview. <strong>&ldquo;When they come back to Twitter, there&rsquo;s actually too much for them to catch up on.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>Tweets in this update can come from any time, from minutes to hours ago. The idea is to put important tweets up top so the user does not have to wade through less interesting information.</p> <p>....To avoid another panic among its more loyal users, Twitter is carrying out the latest change slowly. <strong>Users will initially have the option to switch on the new feature in the settings menu before it becomes a default setting. Everyone who doesn&rsquo;t like it will be able to turn it off.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Now see? That's not so bad, is it? I will definitely be giving this a try. If it doesn't work out for me, I'll turn it off.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 10 Feb 2016 16:03:59 +0000 Kevin Drum 296491 at http://www.motherjones.com The Daily News Just Expertly Called Out Donald Trump's "Brain Dead" New Hampshire Supporters http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2016/02/daily-news-donald-trump-new-hampshire <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>As expected, Donald Trump <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/donald-trump-wins-new-hampshire-networks-predict" target="_blank">won</a> the New Hampshire Republican primary on Tuesday with 35 percent of the vote. His double-digit victory, while unsurprising, did finally prove Trump could turn his high polling numbers into real votes.</p> <p>The <em>Daily News</em> had plenty to say about Trump's resounding win and the "brain dead" New Hampshire voters who catapulted him to victory:</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Tomorrow's front page:<br> DAWN OF THE BRAIN DEAD - Trump comes back to life with N.H. win: <a href="https://t.co/rkj242rGEf">https://t.co/rkj242rGEf</a> <a href="https://t.co/LRWPDIJJfL">pic.twitter.com/LRWPDIJJfL</a></p> &mdash; New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) <a href="https://twitter.com/NYDailyNews/status/697246214681665536">February 10, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>Tell us how you really feel, <em>Daily News</em>.</p></body></html> Mixed Media 2016 Elections Media Wed, 10 Feb 2016 13:06:43 +0000 Inae Oh 296486 at http://www.motherjones.com Are Cage-Free Eggs All They're Cracked Up to Be? http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2016/02/corporations-are-going-cage-free-whats-next-hens <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Cage-free eggs, once a niche product for ethically minded (and well-off) shoppers, are suddenly a hot commodity with an unlikely customer: Big Food. <a href="http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160201005160/en/SONIC-Announces-Timeline-Source-Serve-100-Cage-Free" target="_blank">Sonic</a> and <a href="http://www.hsi.org/news/press_releases/2016/02/burger-king-global-cage-free-egg-commitment-020116.html" target="_blank">Burger King</a> are the latest to join a slate of<strong> </strong>companies promising to ditch eggs produced by caged hens.</p> <p>They follow an unlikely trailblazer: McDonald's, which <a href="https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&amp;ion=1&amp;espv=2&amp;ie=UTF-8#q=mcdonalds%20cage%20free" target="_blank">announced in September</a> that it would go cage-free by the end of 2025. That decision unleashed a "<a href="http://civileats.com/2016/01/28/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-corporate-shift-to-cage-free-eggs/" target="_blank">tidal wave</a> of commitments," says Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection at the Humane Society of the United States. The list now includes most major American fast-food chains, retailers including Target and Walmart, and&nbsp;food service providers, like Aramark and Sodexo.</p> <p>Although the number of cage-free birds increased 37 percent last year, they remain less than 10 percent of the nation's 277 million hens, <a href="http://www.aeb.org/farmers-and-marketers/industry-overview" target="_blank">according to</a> the US Department of Agriculture. Now large egg producers are <a href="http://www.wattagnet.com/articles/24914-us-cage-free-egg-layer-flock-is-rapidly-increasing" target="_blank">scrambling</a> to catch up by investing in new cage-free facilities&mdash;a swift about-face for an industry that once vehemently fought efforts to eliminate the cramped, paper-sized&nbsp;"<a href="http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/confinement_farm/facts/battery_cages.html" target="_blank">battery cages</a>" in which the vast majority of hens spend their lives. In 2008, when California voted on <a href="https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_2,_Standards_for_Confining_Farm_Animals_%282008%29" target="_blank">Proposition 2</a>, a measure that mandated that hens should be able to fully spread their wings "without touching the side of an enclosure or other egg-laying hens," United Egg Producers, the industry's primary trade group, spent $10 million in a failed effort to defeat the initiative.<strong> </strong>But this October, UEP President Chad Gregory told <em>Politico </em>that the group <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2015/09/egg-industry-hands-animal-advocates-big-win-in-cage-free-fight-213905" target="_blank">wouldn't put up a fight</a> in Massachusetts, where a measure modeled after California's will be on the ballot in November.</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><strike><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20Shot%202016-02-02%20at%201.18.42%20PM.png"></strike> <div class="caption"><strong><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2015/01/you-cant-produce-eggs-industrial-scale-without-breaking-few-hens" target="_blank">What does cage-free really mean</a>? </strong></div> </div> <p>Most companies, including McDonald's, have given egg producers up to a decade to change how they house their hens. As <em>Wired</em> <a href="http://www.wired.com/2016/01/the-insanely-complicated-logistics-of-cage-free-eggs-for-all/" target="_blank">charts</a> in detail, the industry is choosing to gradually phase out, rather than dismantle, a production system that's been designed since the 1950s to provide maximum efficiency. Today, Americans demand 6 billion to 7 billion eggs each month, and they expect every dozen to come relatively cheap.</p> <p>That means that while cage-free is often portrayed as a nostalgic return to pre-mechanized farming, the newest egg facilities are not like your grandfather's bucolic little chicken farm. At nonorganic farms, where outdoor access isn't required, large egg producers are primarily <a href="http://www.wattagnet.com/articles/24914-us-cage-free-egg-layer-flock-is-rapidly-increasing" target="_blank">building</a> multitiered aviaries&mdash;stacked arrangements in which thousands, if not tens of thousands of birds roam throughout the barn, hopping from level to level. "There are birds by your feet, your knees, your shoulders&mdash;cities of birds," explains Shapiro.</p> <p>Giving hens the simple ability to move around prevents many of the worst health problems associated with battery cages, Shapiro says, by strengthening brittle bones and allowing them to act on their natural instincts to roost and forage.</p> <p>But in these large, industrial aviaries, the birds "don't typically go outside," says Shapiro. And letting a flock of birds roam within a closed, confined aviary presents its own concerns.<strong> </strong>A three-year <a href="http://www2.sustainableeggcoalition.org/final-results" target="_blank">study</a> produced by a <a href="http://www2.sustainableeggcoalition.org/" target="_blank">consortium</a> of egg providers, academics, and advocacy groups found that aviaries had nearly twice the death rate of caged systems. Most of the difference had to do with aggression between the birds and outbreaks of cannibalism.</p> <p>Cannibalism is a learned behavior, a nasty symptom of industrial breeding and housing, says Joy Mench, an animal behavior specialist at the University of California-Davis who co-led the study. Outbreaks are more likely to flare up in densely stocked aviaries, where hens are given unfettered access to other birds. And for that reason, aviary managers continue to rely on the standard industry practice to lessen the risks of pecking: cutting off the sharp tips of the hens' beaks.</p> <p>Reduced air quality in the closed barns is another concern for both birds and workers, who need to spend more time managing the hens in a cage-free system. In battery cage systems, birds were separated from their waste. Without that separation, ammonia buildup can occur when feces aren't removed in a timely fashion, particularly in cold climates. But the most acute problem is that a moving flock clogs the air with dust.<strong> </strong>"There were days when you could hardly stand to walk into that aviary," says Mench, referring to the Midwestern egg facility where the study was conducted. "You couldn't see 4 feet in front of your face."</p> <p>Additionally,<strong> </strong>in both caged and uncaged systems, disease spreads like wildfire.<strong> </strong>Last year's avian flu outbreak, which <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2015/04/avian-flu-bites-us-poultry-industry" target="_blank">killed millions of hens</a> and sent egg prices skyrocketing, is thought to have originated in backyard flocks but took its heaviest toll as it blazed through crowded industrial barns.</p> <p>"People are going to love that they are cage-free, but you have to look at the whole system," says Janice Swanson, a professor at Michigan State University and a co-author of the study. "It's going to be a lot of work before cage-free is environmentally sustainable and actually does what we want it to do for the hens."</p> <p>The study suggested that bigger, so-called <a href="http://www.bhwt.org.uk/egg-industry/enriched-cages/" target="_blank">"enriched" cages</a>, with room for the multiple birds to move and exhibit more natural behaviors, may be a better bet for health and safety than aviaries. Those systems are legal under California law, which didn't ban cages but instead mandated minimum space requirements. But since they don't meet the corporate cage-free pledges, egg producers don't have an incentive to build them.</p> <p>So while cage-free systems remove many of the inherent cruelties of battery cages, the welfare of the hens inside them hinges on how these facilities,&nbsp;which can range from packed industrial aviaries to smaller farms with ample space and outdoor access,<strong> </strong>are designed and managed. That can be difficult to decipher from the labels on an egg carton.</p> <p>If you're looking to further mitigate the cruelty behind your next omelet, the Humane Society <a href="http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/confinement_farm/facts/guide_egg_labels.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/" target="_blank">recommends</a> looking past labels like "vegetarian-fed," "natural," or "farm fresh," which are stamped on cartons for marketing purposes. Pasture-raised, certified organic, or free-range are typically better bets for eggs produced by a happier, healthier hen&mdash;if you can stomach the higher cost.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/how-to-read-egg-label-full.jpg"></div> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> Blue Marble Food and Ag Regulatory Affairs Wed, 10 Feb 2016 11:00:09 +0000 Gregory Barber 295521 at http://www.motherjones.com Quote of the Evening: America Currently Suffering Worst Economic Catastrophe in Recorded History http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/quote-evening-america-currently-suffering-worst-economic-catastrophe-recorded-his <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I know Trump has said this before, so technically it's hardly new. Still, <a href="http://www.vox.com/2016/2/9/10956660/donald-trump-new-hampshire" target="_blank">I mean, it's...it's...oh hell:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>I am going to be the greatest jobs president that God ever created. Remember that. Don't believe those phony numbers when you hear 4.9 percent and 5 percent unemployment. The number's probably 28, 29, as high as 35. In fact, I even heard recently 42 percent. Do you think if we had 5 percent unemployment, do you really think we'd have these gatherings?</p> </blockquote> <p>Yeah, Trump "heard" 42 percent recently. You betcha. Trump hears a lot of things, sort of like Joan of Arc. In any case, I assume Trump keeps saying this because it goes over well with his audiences. Why might this be?</p> <ul><li>Trump fans are really bad at arithmetic.</li> <li>Trump fans know an ungodly number of unemployed people in their immediate circle of friends.</li> <li>Trump fans are really eager to believe the government is lying to them.</li> <li>Trump fans don't actually know what unemployment is.</li> <li>Trump fans don't really have a clue what he's saying. It's just mumbo jumbo delivered with authority, and they love it.</li> </ul><p>I dunno. Could be all of the above, I suppose.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 10 Feb 2016 04:55:42 +0000 Kevin Drum 296481 at http://www.motherjones.com Well, That Was a Boring Night in New Hampshire http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/well-was-boring-night-new-hampshire <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>This has been a shockingly surprise-free evening. Trump and Sanders were both expected to win by about 20 points, and that's what they did. The next four Republicans were expected to bunch up, and that's what <em>they</em> did. Kasich <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_new_hampshire_primary_2016.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">did a little better and Rubio a little worse than the polls showed, but that's all. As for Chris Christie, he bet the farm on New Hampshire and now the mortgage is due. He's toast.</p> <p>So is Kasich, by the way. I'm afraid a 16 percent showing in New Hampshire isn't going to be strong enough to do him any good. More and more, it's starting to look like Trump vs. Cruz for all the marbles, with Rubio and Bush still having outside shots as spoilers.</p> <p>I guess Trump was the big winner tonight. He won big, he's got good numbers in South Carolina, and the race for second place was close enough that probably nobody is going to pull out. As long as Trump is competing with a bunch of rabble, instead of one or two well-funded competitors, he'll probably keep doing pretty well. The only question left is whether the chump faction of the Republican Party is big enough to actually deliver him the nomination. I think I no longer have an opinion about that.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 10 Feb 2016 04:09:24 +0000 Kevin Drum 296471 at http://www.motherjones.com Heavy Drinking Is Primarily a Women's Problem http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/heavy-drinking-primarily-womens-problem <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Back in 2005, South Dakota adopted a program called 24/7 Sobriety. It's pretty simple: if you're convicted of drunk driving, you have to take a breath test twice a day while you're on pretrial release or probation. If you fail, you get tossed in jail for a couple of days.</p> <p>So how has it worked out? According to a new study in <em>Lancet Psychiatry</em>, pretty well. Previous studies had already demonstrated a 12 percent drop in repeat drunk driving, and the new study shows that 24/7 also contributed to a drop of 4.3 percent in all-cause mortality. That's a lot of lives saved. <a href="http://www.vox.com/2016/2/9/10952842/rand-sobriety-study" target="_blank">Mark Kleiman has more of the details here.</a></p> <p>So far, none of this is a big surprise. But another result of the study is more interesting: the decline in mortality was largest among women even though men make <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_247_program_mortality.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">up the vast majority of drunk driving cases. The chart on the right shows the numbers. All-cause mortality barely budged for men but was down 8.3 percent among women. Even more startling, the decline in mortality was mostly due to fewer deaths from circulatory problems and external injuries.</p> <p>But why? The authors make a few suggestions:</p> <blockquote> <p>A well publicised programme such as 24/7 Sobriety...might promote a general deterrent effect. <strong>Another potential mechanism is a reduction in drinking-related problem behaviours among participants,</strong> which might reduce mortality among non-participants (eg, domestic violence).</p> <p><strong>With respect to circulatory deaths among women, one might consider reduced stress due to partner&rsquo;s cessation of heavy drinking.</strong> There might also be spillovers due to changes in the drinking behaviour of participants&rsquo; family and friends. A husband&rsquo;s drinking affects his wife&rsquo;s drinking during the transition into married life and early in the marriage, and transitions in drinking behaviour can have spousal effects even later in life.</p> </blockquote> <p>This is, obviously, speculative. Still, it confirms our intuition that heavy drinking affects friends and family as much or more than it does the heavy drinker himself. Heavy drinkers are far more likely to assault their wives and girlfriends; are more likely to trigger drinking in others; and just generally cause lots of stress and anxiety in those around them. When you cut out the heavy drinking, all of those things are reduced significantly. And the biggest beneficiaries are women.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 10 Feb 2016 01:25:45 +0000 Kevin Drum 296456 at http://www.motherjones.com Donald Trump Wins GOP's New Hampshire Primary, Networks Predict http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/donald-trump-wins-new-hampshire-networks-predict <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The networks declared Donald Trump the winner of the New Hampshire GOP primary Tuesday night as soon as the polls had closed at 8 p.m. ET.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">BREAKING: Donald Trump is the projected winner of the Republican <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NHPrimary?src=hash">#NHPrimary</a> <a href="https://t.co/rIX58KHtA0">https://t.co/rIX58KHtA0</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Decision2016?src=hash">#Decision2016</a> <a href="https://t.co/h5cR2bGtIk">pic.twitter.com/h5cR2bGtIk</a></p> &mdash; MSNBC (@MSNBC) <a href="https://twitter.com/MSNBC/status/697223491536490496">February 10, 2016</a></blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Trump had been polling ahead in New Hampshire for <a href="http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/nh/new_hampshire_republican_presidential_primary-3350.html" target="_blank">many months</a>, and on Tuesday he showed he could turn those numbers into votes.</p> <p>As of 8 p.m., several Republicans were vying for second place behind Trump, including John Kasich and Jeb Bush.</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Donald Trump New Hampshire Wed, 10 Feb 2016 01:14:35 +0000 Pema Levy 296451 at http://www.motherjones.com The Supreme Court Just Dealt a Huge Blow to Obama's Climate Plan http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2016/02/supreme-court-obama-climate-plan-epa <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In a setback&nbsp;for the Obama administration, the Supreme Court on Tuesday temporarily halted enforcement of Obama's signature climate initiative.</p> <p>The Clean Power Plan, issued by the Environmental Protection Agency last summer, requires states to limit coal-fired power plant emissions&mdash;the nation's largest source of greenhouse gases&mdash;by a third by 2030. The regulation was expected to revamp the energy industry in the coming decades, shutting down coal-fired plants and speeding up renewable energy production. But 29 states, together with dozens of industry groups, <a href="https://www.edf.org/sites/default/files/content/2016.01.26_wv_et_al._scotus_stay_application.pdf" target="_blank">sued the EPA</a>, claiming the rule was&nbsp;"the most far-reaching and burdensome rule the EPA has ever forced onto the states."</p> <p>In a 5-4 vote today, the Supreme Court issued an unusual, one-page&nbsp;emergency order for the EPA to put the plan on hold until the US Court of Appeals, which will hear the case this summer, comes to a decision. While the hold is temporary, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/10/us/politics/supreme-court-blocks-obama-epa-coal-emissions-regulations.html?_r=0" target="_blank">many</a> <a href="http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-court-obama-climate-change-20160209-story.html" target="_blank">see</a> <a href="http://www.vox.com/2016/2/9/10955470/supreme-court-blocks-obama-co2-rules" target="_blank">the order</a> as a sign that the Supreme Court has concerns about the policy.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/sup-court-stay-final.png"></div> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> Blue Marble Energy Wed, 10 Feb 2016 00:42:04 +0000 Julia Lurie 296436 at http://www.motherjones.com The Russians Are Doing Surprisingly Well in Syria http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/russians-are-doing-surprisingly-well-syria <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In the interest of keeping myself honest, I should acknowledge that&mdash;so far, at least&mdash;the Russian incursion in Syria has apparently gone <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/after-four-months-russias-campaign-in-syria-is-proving-successful-for-moscow/2016/02/02/7a65d676-9dd0-11e5-9ad2-568d814bbf3b_story.html" target="_blank">a lot better than I expected:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Under the banner of fighting international terrorism, President Vladimir Putin has reversed the fortunes of forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad....Government forces are now on the offensive, and last week they scored their most significant victory yet....<strong>&ldquo;The operation is considered here to be quite successful,&rdquo;</strong> said Evgeny Buzhinsky, a retired lieutenant general and senior vice president of the Russian Center for Policy Studies <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_russia_air_force.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">in Moscow. It could probably continue for one year or longer, he said, &ldquo;but it will depend on the success on the ground.&rdquo;</p> <p>....<strong>&ldquo;Putin can afford to play geo&shy;political chess in the Middle East because it does not cost much,&rdquo;</strong> said Konstantin von Eggert, an independent political analyst based in Moscow. Entering the conflict in Syria has allowed Putin to combat what he sees as a U.S. policy of regime change, show off his military muscle and reassure allies in the region that Moscow is a loyal partner, von Eggert said.</p> </blockquote> <p>In the past couple of days, thanks to Russian help, Assad has come ever closer to taking control of Aleppo, <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-07/tipping-point-in-syria-as-russian-air-power-turns-tide-for-assad" target="_blank">Syria's biggest city:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Gains by Assad and his allies in the past month have squeezed overland supply lines to Turkey that may represent the last bulwark against defeat for the rebels in northern Syria.</p> <p>Assad, who was on the verge of defeat in mid-2015 before Russian President Vladimir Putin stepped in with military support, has wrested back the initiative. <strong>His army last week broke a three-year siege of two villages north of Aleppo. The city is almost encircled, apart from a narrow stretch of contested territory.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>The Russian air force has acquitted itself better than I expected, and Assad's forces have taken advantage of Russian air support better than I expected. It's still early days, of course, and there's a lot more to Syria than Aleppo. Russia could still find itself drawn into a long, pointless quagmire down the road. But it hasn't yet.</p> <p>Over the past decade, Putin has taken on several small-scale military incursions: in Georgia in 2008; in Crimea in 2014; and now in Syria. But small though they may be, they've been executed competently and they've provided the Russian army with invaluable real-world experience. Apparently that's paid off.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 09 Feb 2016 23:05:12 +0000 Kevin Drum 296426 at http://www.motherjones.com Arizona Is Paying a High Price for Cracking Down on Illegal Immigration http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/arizona-paying-high-price-cracking-down-illegal-immigration <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The <em>Wall Street Journal</em> has an interesting look today at the costs and benefits of immigration across the Southern border. After Arizona cracked down on illegal immigration in 2007, their population of undocumented workers dropped by a whopping 40 percent&mdash;<a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-thorny-economics-of-illegal-immigration-1454984443" target="_blank">and it's stayed down since then:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Arizona is a test case of what happens to an economy when such migrants leave, and it illustrates the economic tensions fueling the immigration debate.</p> <p>Economists of opposing political views agree the state&rsquo;s economy took a hit when large numbers of illegal immigrants left for Mexico and other border states, following a broad crackdown. But they also say the reduced competition for low-skilled jobs was a boon for some native-born construction and agricultural workers who got jobs or raises, and that the departures also saved the state money on education and health care. Whether those gains are worth the economic pain is the crux of the debate.</p> </blockquote> <p>You should read the whole thing if you want all the details, including the fact that wages increased about 15 percent for a small number of construction workers and farmworkers&mdash;though Arizona's unemployment rate more generally has been no better than its neighbors'. Beyond that, though, the <em>Journal</em> provides only a graphic summary that doesn't really summarize much. So I've helpfully annotated it for you. It sure looks to me like Arizona has a very long way to go before the benefits of reducing illegal immigration will come anywhere close to the costs.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_arizona_illegal_immigration_0.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 20px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 09 Feb 2016 20:15:07 +0000 Kevin Drum 296401 at http://www.motherjones.com Donald Trump Says He Wouldn't Call Ted Cruz a "Pussy" If He Were President Because His Uncle Taught at MIT http://www.motherjones.com/contributor/2016/02/donald-trump-says-he-wouldnt-call-ted-cruz-pussy-if-he-were-president-because-hi <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Donald Trump says he wouldn't <a href="https://t.co/AED0iqdZFG" target="_blank">call Ted Cruz a pussy</a> if he were president because "when it comes to great steaks, I've just raised the stakes."</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/LyONt_ZH_aw" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Just kidding!</p> <p>He actually told Lester Holt that he wouldn't call Cruz "a pussy" as president because "I went to one of the best schools. I was a good student. I have an uncle who was one of the top professors at MIT. It's a good gene pool right there." So that doesn't make that much more sense than the steak thing.</p> <p>Watch:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">"Is this an act?"<br><br> After another vulgar moment, <a href="https://twitter.com/LesterHoltNBC">@LesterHoltNBC</a> asks Donald Trump if he would act same as president.<a href="https://t.co/9IHNm1jVSM">https://t.co/9IHNm1jVSM</a></p> &mdash; NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) <a href="https://twitter.com/NBCNightlyNews/status/697138545606004736">February 9, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></body></html> Contributor Donald Trump Tue, 09 Feb 2016 20:05:34 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 296396 at http://www.motherjones.com NRA Board Member Ted Nugent Is Having a Very Anti-Semitic Week http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/ted-nugent-nra-anti-semitic <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Ted Nugent is <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/12/nra-board-directors-nugent-selleck-north" target="_blank">no stranger</a> to mounting outrageous defenses of the gun lobby. But this week, the musician's predictable inflammatory language reached new levels of offensive starting on Monday with the following anti-Semitic image posted to his Facebook page:</p> <center> <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/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script><div class="fb-post" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/tednugent/posts/10153470914987297:0" data-width="500"> <div class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore"> <blockquote cite="https://www.facebook.com/tednugent/posts/10153470914987297:0"> <p>Know these punks. They hate freedom, they hate good over evil, they would deny us the basic human right to self defense ...</p> Posted by <a href="https://www.facebook.com/tednugent/">Ted Nugent</a> on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/tednugent/posts/10153470914987297:0">Monday, February 8, 2016</a></blockquote> </div> </div> </center> <p>The info-graphic features the images of 12 Jewish-American politicians all paired with the Israeli flag<strong> </strong>and the banner question, "So who is really behind gun control?" As <a href="http://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/02/08/nra-board-member-ted-nugent-suggests-jews-are-b/208449" target="_blank">Media Matters noted</a>, a similar image appeared on the white supremacist website Stormfront in 2014.</p> <p>The next day, Nugent, who is a board member for both the National Rifle Association and for <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/john-lott-guns-crime-data" target="_blank">John Lott's Crime Prevention Research Center</a>, posted another offensive image, this one appearing to compare gun control advocates to Nazis:</p> <center> <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/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script><div class="fb-post" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/tednugent/posts/10153471510392297:0" data-width="500"> <div class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore"> <blockquote cite="https://www.facebook.com/tednugent/posts/10153471510392297:0"> <p>Soulless sheep to slaughter. Not me.</p> Posted by <a href="https://www.facebook.com/tednugent/">Ted Nugent</a> on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/tednugent/posts/10153471510392297:0">Monday, February 8, 2016</a></blockquote> </div> </div> </center> <p>This isn't the first spasm of anti-Semitism and Nazi imagery to come from the NRA or its board members. Back in 2007, the <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/nra-depicts-bloomberg-octopus-anti-semitic-symbol-article-1.211274" target="_blank">group's official magazine published</a> an image of then New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg&mdash;who is featured in Nugent's social media ranting this week&mdash;depicting him as an octopus, a well-known symbol of anti-Semitism<strong>. </strong>The NRA denied the analogy.</p></body></html> MoJo Guns Religion Tue, 09 Feb 2016 19:34:33 +0000 Inae Oh 296386 at http://www.motherjones.com Here's the One Thing Every Candidate in New Hampshire Has in Common http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/people-candidates-meet-new-hampshire <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>New Hampshire is different&mdash;so says New Hampshire. But it's unarguably true; no state combines as high a saturation of candidate visits with such a small, tightly concentrated population. (Just try having <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/chez-vachon-manchester-carly-fiorina" target="_blank">some breakfast poutine</a> in Manchester.) The effect is that the candidates sometimes seem as if they spend as much time talking <em>about</em> the voters they meet as they do talking <em>to</em> them. As the Republican and Democratic contenders made their final pitch over the last eight days, they used New Hampshirites they've met to make substantive points about heroin addiction, drug prices, and college tuition&mdash;or just to have some fun with their audience. (We see you, Chris Christie.) Here's a sampling:</p> <p>Ohio Gov. John Kasich:</p> <blockquote> <p>One lady was sitting way up in the bleachers, at the end of the town hall...And she's sitting way up in the stands and she raises her hand and she says, 'I have a 31-year-old daughter, she developed cancer as a young kid, and we don't know where we can put her. She's on prescription drugs because of the pain and so we have to watch that and we don't know exactly where she should be.' And I looked at her and said, 'You're all alone aren't you?' And she said, 'Yeah, I am, I'm all alone.' And I said, 'Why don't you come down here?' And she came down to where I was. I gave her a big hug, and I said, 'You know you're not alone anymore.' And we followed up&hellip;</p> </blockquote> <p>Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:</p> <blockquote> <p>In short encounters with people, they sometimes tell you the most personal things&hellip;When I was canvassing in Manchester, a young man came up to me and he said, 'I'm supporting you.' I said, 'Thank you.' I said, 'I want to know why.' He said, 'Because you've been talking about addiction.' I said, 'Did you have a personal experience?' He said, 'Yeah, I'm a student athlete, I got injured my senior year in high school. I had to have surgery and I got a lot of pain pills. A lot of opioids. And I got hooked.' He said then when they cut him off, 'I turned to heroin. It was cheap and readily available.' He said, 'I'm two and a half years sober. It's really hard. Every single day, it's really hard.' He said, 'I want a president who thinks about people like me.'</p> </blockquote> <p>New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie:</p> <blockquote> <p>It's funny, when you're a US attorney or a governor and you travel out of state from New Jersey, it's amazing the things people wanna ask you. So I had a guy in New Hampshire, he said, 'I need to ask you a question about something.' I said, 'Okay, what do you want to ask me?' He said, 'I wanna ask you about Tony Soprano.' So I said, 'Oh my God&hellip;'</p> </blockquote> <p>Kasich:</p> <blockquote> <p>A couple nights ago, there's a young woman sitting in the back, we were talking about the issue of heroin and prescription drugs and all the things that we've done, 'cause there's been so many things that we've done. She finally raised her hand back there and she said, 'My daughter's been sober for 11 months,' and everybody was stunned, and there were people out there that were tearing up. And I said to the crowd, I said, 'Do you have any idea what this lady's life is like? Eleven months sober? Well, we don't know what's gonna happen in the 12th month, or the 13th month. And it's a mom that loves her daughter.' Yeah I guess I'm now gonna call this daughter and say, 'You know, mom's counting on you.' Things like that have been happening all the time and I have become convinced that all of us need to slow down.</p> </blockquote> <p>Christie:</p> <blockquote> <p>I met a guy this morning who was talking to me about his dad, who's a truck driver. He was at a town hall this morning to ask me a question about his dad. His dad had to be out driving today. One of the things that we talked about was&mdash;I know how to drive, right? I know how to work the clutch and shift, I know how to use the steering wheel and pump gas. You don't want me driving an 18-wheeler truck. Believe me, you do not want me driving that truck. Right? It's a different skill set. You've got to have some experience and training. Especially on a day like today. It's raining out, the weather's wet, the roads are tough. You don't want somebody who doesn't know what they're doing behind the wheel of that truck. Even though I know how to drive, it doesn't mean I know how to drive an 18-wheel truck.</p> </blockquote> <p>Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush:</p> <blockquote> <p>At a town hall meeting today, someone came&mdash;told a story of their father who looked like he was 85. He had, he got a bill eight years later from an operation he had. Eight years it took. They couldn't resolve the dispute and then he was told that he died. Literally, the Veterans Administration sent a death certificate to this guy and it took nine months to clarify the guy [was alive]. I met him. He's voting for me. And he is&mdash;likely to be alive.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/contributor/2015/07/cool-people-buy-steaks-from-brookstone" target="_blank">Failed steak salesman</a> Donald Trump:</p> <blockquote> <p>I was just up in Manchester, I met with the police officers yesterday. Tremendous people. They love the area, they love the people, they love all the people. They want to do their job. And you're going to have abuse and you're going to have problems, and you've got to solve the problems and you have to weed out the problems. But the police in this country are absolutely amazing people.</p> </blockquote> <p>Christie:</p> <blockquote> <p>Let there be no doubt that I want your vote...Earlier in New Hampshire, back last August, I gave a town hall meeting and a gentleman came up to me afterward, he said, 'Governor, I love everything you said, I agree with all your positions, I think you'd be a great leader for our country, and I'm not voting for you.' I said, 'You're not voting for me, what do you mean you're not voting for me?' He said, 'Well I agree with on your positions. I'm not voting for you but I wish you the best of luck.' He looked like he was in his mid '80s, and he started walking away from me. I said, 'Wait, wait, wait, come back here.' I said, 'Come on, tell me what I've got to do. That's fair.' He said, 'Alright&mdash;because you didn't ask for my vote.' He said, 'I sat here for two hours, I listened to all your positions, I loved them, I like you, but if you don't ask for my vote, you're not getting my vote. So you're not getting my vote, I'm sorry.'</p> <p>I looked at him and said, 'Well <em>can</em> I have your vote?' He said, 'Too late.' I said, 'Too late?? It's August, man. You're not voting until February. How can it be too late!' He said, 'Alright, this is what I'm gonna do: I'm gonna come back to one of your town hall meetings later.' He said, 'I'm gonna sit in a place where you can't see me. And I'm gonna see if you remember what I told you. And if you do and you ask for my vote, then I'm gonna reconsider my position. And if you don't, I won't.' I said, 'Alright sir, thank you, I appreciate it.' And we shook hands. And he walked away, took about four or five steps away, and then he stopped and turned back and looked over his shoulder and he said, 'By the way, that's how we do things in New Hampshire, son.'</p> <p>So I live in mortal fear of this guy.</p> </blockquote></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Tue, 09 Feb 2016 18:27:35 +0000 Tim Murphy 296301 at http://www.motherjones.com The Worst Argument Ever For Not Drafting Women http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/worst-argument-ever-not-drafting-women <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I can't say that I've paid a lot of attention to the question of whether women should be required to register for the draft or allowed to serve on the front lines. There are, I'm sure, some good reasons to oppose allowing women in the infantry, <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/article/431002/women-combat-selective-service-natural-law" target="_blank">but this sure isn't one of them:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Such a policy inverts natural law and the rules that have grounded our civilization for thousands of years. Men should protect women. They should not shelter behind mothers and daughters.</p> </blockquote> <p>That's a <em>National Review</em> editorial. Not a personal opinion piece or a blog post. It's the official and carefully considered institutional view of the magazine. Did they invite Vladimir Putin to guest edit this issue, or what?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 09 Feb 2016 17:41:39 +0000 Kevin Drum 296381 at http://www.motherjones.com Torture Is Having Another Star Turn http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/torture-having-another-star-turn <!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.vox.com/2016/2/9/10950182/donald-trump-ted-cruz" target="_blank">From the "Fascinating Factlets" file:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The FCC, which regulates "indecent material" on broadcast radio and television, does not generally permit the word pussy to be aired between 6 am and 10 pm. That means that though a broadcaster can publish a story containing<iframe align="right" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="258" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/XX4MO7YHqeg?start=0" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;" width="400"></iframe> the word online, it can't do the same on its main network, which has a far broader reach.</p> </blockquote> <p>So...it's fair game after 10 pm? This means that only night owls got to hear Donald Trump's latest bit of puerile insultmongering. Everyone else got the bleeped version, or perhaps no version at all because who needs the grief from pissed-off viewers? In any case, the key takeaway here isn't that Donald Trump called Ted Cruz a pussy. What else would you expect from Trump? The key takeaway is that he was mocking Cruz for not being gung-ho enough about waterboarding, <em>and it was a huge crowd pleaser</em>. The audience went completely gaga over Trump's fetishization of torture. If he had called for prisoners to be tortured on national TV&mdash;"Celebrity Interrogator" hosted by Dick Cheney, maybe&mdash;I think they might have expired on the spot from sheer bliss.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 09 Feb 2016 17:09:02 +0000 Kevin Drum 296361 at http://www.motherjones.com Marco Rubio Is Running for Panicker-in-Chief http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/marco-rubio-running-panicker-chief <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>McKay Coppins <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/mckaycoppins/the-anxiety-of-marco-rubio" target="_blank">explains Marco Rubio to the rest of us:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>To those who have known him longest, Rubio's flustered performance Saturday night fit perfectly with an all-too-familiar strain of his personality, one that his handlers and image-makers have labored for years to keep out of public view. Though generally seen as cool-headed and quick on his feet, Rubio is known to friends, allies, and advisers for a kind of incurable anxiousness&mdash;<strong>and an occasional propensity to panic in moments of crisis, both real and imagined.</strong></p> <p>&hellip;More than age, record, or wardrobe, it is Rubio's natural nervousness that makes him seem to so many who know him like he is swimming in his dad's sport coat&hellip;From the moment the 2010 primary turned negative, <strong>the candidate needed a fainting couch every time an attack was lobbed his way,</strong> his aides recalled to me.&hellip;When a state senator who was backing the governor referred to Rubio as a "slick package from Miami," he was aghast and ordered his aides to cry foul. <em>Dog whistle! Anti-Cuban! Racist! </em>When opponents accused Rubio of steering state funds toward Florida International University in exchange for a faculty job after he left office, he was indignant. <em>Outrageous! Slander!</em></p> <p>&hellip;<strong>"He just lets these little things get to him, and he worries too much,"</strong> a Miami Republican complained after spending close to an hour sitting next to Rubio on a flight as he fretted over a mildly critical process story about him in the <em>National Journal</em>. "I'm just like, &lsquo;Marco, calm down.'"</p> </blockquote> <p>Excellent! Rubio sounds like a great primary opponent to me. It should take the Clinton machine about 10 seconds to figure out how to turn him into a puddle of mush on the campaign trail. I think I might start rooting for him to get the nomination after all.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum 2016 Elections Elections marco rubio Tue, 09 Feb 2016 16:34:31 +0000 Kevin Drum 296351 at http://www.motherjones.com What It's Like to Wait Tables at Manchester's Most Popular Photo Op http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/chez-vachon-manchester-carly-fiorina <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I just wanted some poutine. But when I showed up at Manchester's Chez Vachon, I had company. As a waitress explained to a curious diner, "It's Carly Fiorini!"</p> <p>For the second day in a row, Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO, crashed a diner:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">This woman does not GAF about Carly Fiorina in Manchester. She wants to eat her breakfast. (via <a href="https://twitter.com/UnionLeader">@UnionLeader</a>) <a href="https://t.co/rTmmaZNbzV">pic.twitter.com/rTmmaZNbzV</a></p> &mdash; Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) <a href="https://twitter.com/BraddJaffy/status/696724613674496000">February 8, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>She isn't the first candidate to stop by Chez Vachon looking for a few votes and some good photos. So many candidates have stopped by the iconic French-Canadian establishment that it's made life complicated for the people who work there. Donald Trump was there on Sunday. Bill and Hillary Clinton stopped in for breakfast on Monday.</p> <p>Trump's visit was a "zoo," Jenna Desmarais, the manager, told me.</p> <p>"They were nice and everything&mdash;they just had a really big entourage, really big," she said. "We didn't have any notice and so all of a sudden there&rsquo;s people coming in the back door of the kitchen, there were people over here, state police shut down the road, they were trying to pat down our customers. It was really uncomfortable&mdash;like I had to tell them they couldn't do that, that's not okay."</p> <p>It made it nearly impossible for everyone else to have breakfast. "I eventually had to find somebody and say, 'Listen I understand you guys are doing your job, but I gotta do mine,' and we couldn't even move. Couldn't even move! So they did. He's like, 'Let them get their pictures and kick everybody out.'"</p> <p>The Clintons' visit was a lower-key affair, and in Desmarais' view, they were friendlier (although Trump did tip 50 percent). "They were very relaxed because they've been here before," Desmarais sadi. "She&rsquo;s like, 'I'm definitely eating.'" (They both had veggie omelets; Hillary got a side of sausage. In case you were wondering.) "They seemed more interested in actual people than in just shaking hands."</p> <p>So far, the only major candidate who hasn't stopped by Chez Vachon this election cycle is her favorite. "I'm actually a fan of Bernie," she said. But she's never met him. "He's the only one who hasn't been there!"</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections carly fiorina Tue, 09 Feb 2016 15:54:21 +0000 Tim Murphy 296341 at http://www.motherjones.com Here Are Your Final New Hampshire Poll Results Until 2020 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/here-are-your-final-new-hampshire-poll-results-until-2020 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>It's our first primary of 2016! To get you in the mood, here are the final Pollster aggregates for the Republican and Democratic races. Trump and Sanders both look like easy winners, so all the action is for second place. If Clinton pulls within 10 points, she'll probably declare victory and skedaddle down to South Carolina as fast as she can. The Republicans have a huge pileup in second place, so it should be quite the spectacle watching them all spin the results tonight.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_pollster_republican_new_hampshire_2016_02_16.jpg" style="margin: 15px 0px 15px 60px;"><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_pollster_democratic_new_hampshire_2016_02_16.jpg" style="margin: 15px 0px 15px 75px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 09 Feb 2016 15:34:23 +0000 Kevin Drum 296346 at http://www.motherjones.com