Blogs | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en Tom's Kitchen: Steamed Spring Green Beans and New Potatoes with Parsley Sauce and Sardines <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>My vegetable repertoire has narrowed to the point of tedium: I saut&eacute; fast-cooking ones like greens and fresh beans&nbsp;and roast slow-cooking ones like potatoes unto caramelization. Most everything gets plenty of garlic, high-flavor fats like olive oil or lard, and a dash of chile pepper.</p> <p>But on a recent trip to Austin's urban-ag jewel Boggy Creek Farms, I picked up first-of-the-season green beans and red new potatoes that were so fresh and enticing that such treatments seemed way too aggressive. I wanted the flavor of the vegetables themselves, not my cooking techniques and condiments, to dominate.</p> <p>So I did something I don't think I've ever done voluntarily: I steamed them. And I'll be damned if they didn't avoid blandness, the fate I've always associated with the technique. Instead, the potatoes were like an impossibly potato-y bite of the earth itself; and the green beans delivered a crunchy jolt of chlorophyllic sweetness.</p> <p>To bring it all together into a light meal, I needed a low-key dressing. My Boggy Creek expedition also netted a bunch of flat-leaf parsley, which I decided to whiz into a vinaigrette. I also wanted a protein element, and in my cupboard I found one that would provide a sharp contrast to the delicate vegetables: a tin of sardines.</p> <p>To preserve the original idea&mdash;vegetables that tasted of themselves&mdash;I decided to compose the plate precisely. Here's what I did:</p> <p><strong>Steamed Spring Green Beans and New Potatoes with Parsley Sauce and Sardines</strong></p> <p>(Light meal for two, plus some leftovers)</p> <p>&frac12; pound smallish, freshly dug ("new") potatoes, quartered</p> <p>&frac12; pound fresh green beans, stem ends snapped off, snapped in half</p> <p>1 bunch flat-leaf parsley</p> <p>&frac12; cup extra-virgin olive oil</p> <p>2 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar</p> <p>1 small clove of garlic, crushed and peeled</p> <p>Sea salt</p> <p>Freshly ground black pepper</p> <p>1 4.25 oz can of sardines in olive oil (I used <a href="">this kind</a>)</p> <p>Add a <a href=";a=1552&amp;gclid=CjwKEAjwqLWrBRC-_OaG-IfL0kASJAAbzKsVpoMMPZByhiwOEiCWTv-lqwr6U0UGE3TJIwpZ7BYHehoCGsrw_wcB">steamer insert</a> to a pot along with an inch of water. Cover and turn heat to high until the water boils. Turn the heat down halfway, add the potatoes, cover, and steam until they're just tender. Remove to a bowl. Add a bit more water to the pot, and repeat with the green beans, making sure they're left with a little crunch.</p> <p>Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette by combining the parsley, oil, vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a food processor or blender. Mix until reasonably smooth. (You will likely have leftover dressing&mdash;keeps well in the fridge for a few days, and makes everything taste good.)</p> <p>To compose, start by dotting each plate with splotches of dressing. Now carefully layer on the vegetables, distributing them more or less evenly (leaving aside about a third for seconds or leftovers.) Then add the sardines the same way&mdash;use them all, because they don't make for fun leftovers. Finally, add a few more dots of dressing, as well as a conservative dusting of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place a bowl of extra dressing at the table for supplementation.</p> <p>This dish is made to serve with a minerally, ice cold white wine.</p></body></html> Tom Philpott Food and Ag Wed, 03 Jun 2015 17:11:24 +0000 Tom Philpott 276486 at Why Do So Many Obvious Losers Think They Can Be President? <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>My body is continuing its revolt against all things good and true, so my mental acuity is scattered at best. But here's something I've wanted to get out of my brain and onto pixels for a while. It's based on nothing at all except my personal opinion. It's not based on polls, nor anything the candidates have said, nor any detailed analysis of which blocs of voters each one will appeal to. It's just my gut feeling. So here it is: my ranking of the 2016 Republican presidential field:</p> <p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_2016_republican_field_1.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;"><strong>Vanity candidates&nbsp;&mdash; 0 percent chance of winning</strong></p> <ul><li>Rand Paul</li> <li>Ben Carson</li> <li>Carly Fiorina</li> <li>Mike Huckabee</li> <li>Rick Santorum</li> <li>George Pataki</li> <li>Lindsey Graham</li> <li>John Kasich</li> </ul><p><strong>Not quite 0 percent, could maybe catch on if something really lucky happens</strong></p> <ul><li>Bobby Jindal</li> <li>Ted Cruz</li> <li>Marco Rubio</li> <li>Chris Christie</li> <li>Rick Perry</li> </ul><p><strong>Legitimate candidates with a real shot at the nomination</strong></p> <ul><li>Jeb Bush</li> <li>Scott Walker</li> </ul><p>Right off the bat, I know there are at least two people on my list who will generate some dissent: Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. But Rand Paul has no chance. Sorry. He has nearly Sarah Palin's instincts at working the press and getting his based excited, but his views are just flatly too far out of the tea party mainstream to win the Republican nomination. As for Rubio, I just don't see it. I know most people would put him down with Bush and Walker as having a legitimate shot, but.....really? The guy kinda reminds me of Pete Campbell on <em>Mad Men</em>. He's got some talent, but no one really likes him that much. And he's kind of an idiot, really. Still, he's young, good looking, and appeals to older tea party types. To me, that means he's an ideal running mate, but has no chance at the brass ring.</p> <p>The thing that strikes me whenever I actually type up this list is how few legitimate contenders I find. But maybe I shouldn't be surprised. In 2012, I thought from the very start that Romney was the only legitimate contender, and there are twice as many in 2016. Maybe that's fairly normal, actually.</p> <p>So here's my question. You might disagree with my ranking, but probably not by a whole lot. There just aren't very many candidates who have a serious chance at winning the nomination. So why are so many running? When guys like Dennis Kucinich or Ron Paul ran, I understood why. They just wanted a chance to present their views to a national audience. But that can't be what's motivating everyone on this list. So what is it? What is it that's somehow convinced so many obvious losers that they actually have a shot at becoming the next president of the United States?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 03 Jun 2015 16:39:50 +0000 Kevin Drum 276506 at You May Soon Be Able to Calculate How Many Calories Are in Your Food Porn <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Are you the kind of person who relishes publishing over-saturated photos of your dinner onto Instagram? If so, a new project, reportedly being developed by Google, may soon provide you with yet another interactive activity with your food&mdash;other than simply eating it.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>The Guardian</em> reports the prospective project, coined "Im2Calories,"aims&nbsp;to help users <a href="" target="_blank">calculate the caloric makeup</a> of food photos. Using an artificial-intelligence technology that would "analyze the depth of pixels in an image" it would then figure out "the size and shape" of our meals by subjecting that analysis to various algorithms. After all that?&nbsp;Voila! That caloric content of those perfectly manicured entrees.&nbsp;</p> <p>It's not perfect. Developers say that initially&nbsp;the technology may only be able to correctly measure the calories in a photo <a href="" target="_blank">30 percent</a> of the time. But in a recent presentation, Google research scientist Kevin Murphy said that success rate is good enough to attract&nbsp; enough curious users to play around with the tool and developers will work to&nbsp;improve it over time.</p> <p>Although a spokesperson for Google said the tool is still only in research mode, its potential creation could certainly help people keep tabs on their calorie intake and even help curb obesity. But is this really effective for losing weight? Research suggests such knowledge <a href="" target="_blank">does little</a> to impact a person's food choices.</p> <p>This might not matter much to Instagram's crowded food wing, reflected in popular accounts such as <a href="" target="_blank">You Did Not Eat That</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">You Wish You Ate This</a>, which is likely to gobble up the calorie counting tool. Just look at the overnight success of Microsoft's <a href="" target="_blank">age guessing app.</a> And after all there is only so much satisfaction a perfectly manicured food post can provide.&nbsp;</p></body></html> Mixed Media Food and Ag Tech Wed, 03 Jun 2015 15:00:04 +0000 Inae Oh 276451 at We're Eating Less Meat—Yet Factory Farms Are Still Growing <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The United States remains one of the globe's most <a href="">carnivorous nations</a>, but things have changed subtly in recent decades. While our consumption of chicken has skyrocketed, we're eating much less red meat.&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Redmeat_Poultry2-01%20copy.png"><div class="caption">Carolyn Perot</div> </div> <p>Overall per capita meat consumption has fallen nearly 10 percent since the 2007-'8 financial meltdown; and as we cut back on quantity, we're more likely to <a href="">pay up</a> for animals <a href="">raised outside</a> and not dosed with all manner of drugs.</p> <p>Meanwhile, though, the meat industry lurches on, consolidating operations and stuffing its factory-scale facilities ever tighter with animals, as the organization Food and Water Watch shows in a recently updated <a href=";location:US;year:2012">map</a>:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><a href=""><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/ff-map-630.gif"></a> <div class="caption"><strong>See the interactive version of this map <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>. </strong>Food and Water Watch</div> </div> <p>The charts below show the big picture. Note that the overall number of animals kept on US farms is leveling off, and in the case of beef cattle and meat chickens (broilers), actually dropping a bit. But the number of animals stuffed into each facility remains steadily on the rise for beef and dairy cows, hogs, and egg-laying hens. The number of meat chickens per site has plateaued&mdash;at the stunning level of more than 100,000 birds.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/tot.jpg"></div> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/persite.jpg"></div> <p>Among the many ecological problems you create when you concentrate so many animals in one place is massive loads of manure. How much?</p> <blockquote> <p>These factory-farmed livestock produced 369 million tons of manure in 2012, about 13 times as much as the sewage produced by the entire U.S. population. This 13.8 billion cubic feet of manure is enough to fill the Dallas Cowboys stadium 133 times.</p> </blockquote> <p>When humans live together in large numbers, as in cities, we've learned to treat our waste before sending it downstream. The meat industry faces no such requirement, and instead collects manure in large outdoor cesspools (known, picturesquely, as "lagoons") before being spread on surrounding farmland. Some individual counties churn out much more waste than large metropolises. Here's Food and Water Watch on the nation's most dairy- and hog-centric counties:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/dairy_0.jpg"></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/hog_2.jpg"></div> <p>Recycling manure as farm fertilizer is an ecologically sound idea in the abstract&mdash;but when animals are concentrated in such numbers, they produce much more waste than surrounding landscapes can healthily absorb. As a result, nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus leach into streams and rivers, feeding algae blooms and fouling drinking water. Then there are bacterial nasties. "Six of the 150 pathogens found in animal manure are responsible for 90 percent of human food- and water-borne diseases<em>: Campylobacter, Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli 0157:H7, Cryptosporidium</em> and <em>Giardia</em>," Food and Water Watch reports.</p> <p>Air, too, is a problem, as anyone who's ever gotten close to a teeming cow, pig, or chicken facility can testify. Thousands of people, of course, are forced to live near them or work on them, and it's no picnic. "Overexposure to hydrogen sulfide [a pungent gas emanating from lagoons] can cause dizziness, nausea, headaches, respiratory failure, hypoxia and even death," Food and Water Watch states. "[W]orkers in factory farm facilities experience high levels of asthma-like symptoms, bronchitis and other respiratory diseases."</p> <p>And these counties tended to be bunched together in great manure-churning clusters. Note, for example, how most industrial-scale hog production takes place in the Midwest and in eastern North Carolina:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20Shot%202015-06-02%20at%202.26.47%20PM.png"></div> <p>While Big Chicken has chosen to alight largely upon the southeast, the Mississippi Delta, and California's Central Valley:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20Shot%202015-06-02%20at%202.33.13%20PM.png"></div> <p>So why are these large facilities humming even as US eaters cut back? Globally, demand for meat continues to rise, and the dark-red spots on the maps above have emerged as key production nodes in an increasingly globalized meat market. US meat exports have tripled in value since 1997 (<a href="">USDA numbers</a>), and the industry <a href="">wants more</a>, as evidenced by its <a href="">push</a> to support the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal with Asia.</p></body></html> Tom Philpott Charts Food and Ag Health Top Stories Wed, 03 Jun 2015 10:00:16 +0000 Tom Philpott 276441 at Elizabeth Warren's "Most Watched" Video Is Absolutely Fantastic <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Last week, Senator Elizabeth Warren participated in a conference hosted by <a href="" target="_blank">tech website Re/Code</a>, where she was asked a policy question about infrastructure spending. What followed was an incredibly powerful response that touched upon the Massachusetts senator's signature issues&mdash;student loans, misplaced Washington interests, and the systematic problems hurting middle class Americans.</p> <p>"The only way we get change is when enough people in this country say, 'I'm mad as hell and I'm fed up and I'm not going to do this anymore,'" Warren said. "'You are not going to represent me in Washington, DC, if you are not willing to pass a meaningful infrastructure bill. If you are not willing to refinance student loan interest rates and stop dragging in billions of dollars in profits off the backs of kids who otherwise can't afford to go to college. If you don't say you're going to fund the NIH and the NISF, because that is our future.' We have to make these issues salient and not just wonky."</p> <p>The video is now officially Warren's <a href="" target="_blank">most watched video</a>, according to her digital director. <strong>Watch below: </strong></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank">(h/t Vox)</a></em></p></body></html> MoJo Corporations Income Inequality Tue, 02 Jun 2015 22:05:26 +0000 Inae Oh 276401 at Well, Well, Well, Look Who Just Endorsed a Bold Fix For Climate Change <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Oil companies are pretty much the last ally you'd think of when it comes to advancing big-picture solutions to climate change. These are the companies, after all, whose product is <a href="" target="_blank">responsible</a> for causing a significant amount of climate change in the first place&mdash;and pretty much every proposed fix for global warming necessarily involves burning less oil.</p> <p>So it came as a bit of a surprise Monday when six of the leading European oil companies, including BP and Shell, <a href="" target="_blank">unveiled a letter</a> addressed to the United Nations climate chief calling for a price on carbon emissions (read the full letter below).</p> <p>"We believe that a price on carbon should be a key element" of ongoing UN-led international climate negotiations, the letter said. This week representatives from nearly 200 countries are meeting in Bonn, Germany, to prepare for a summit in Paris this winter where they hope to produce a powerful global accord on fighting climate change. The letter called on the world's governments to create new national carbon markets where they don't currently exist (like most of the United States, for example), and to eventually link those markets internationally.</p> <p>As <em>Bloomberg Business</em> pointed out, the letter is "<a href="" target="_blank">unprecedented</a>," in that it's the first time a group of major oil companies have banded together to advocate for a serious climate change policy. It was <a href="" target="_blank">welcomed by the UN's top climate official</a>, Christiana Figueres, who said that the "oil and gas industry must be a major part of the solution to climate change."</p> <p>Most environmental economists and policy wonks agree that making companies pay for their carbon pollution&mdash;whether through a tax or a cap-and-trade system&mdash;is a fundamental step for any meaningful reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The basic idea is that making carbon pollution expensive will drive big polluters to clean up. Policies like this are already gathering steam across the globe, from <a href="" target="_blank">Canada to China.</a> (California and a few Northeast states have regional carbon markets, but a national carbon price is still a non-starter in the US Congress.) Recently, Australia <a href="" target="_blank">demonstrated just how effective carbon pricing</a> can be, in a counterintuitive way: Carbon emissions dropped immediately after the country implemented a carbon tax, then jumped right back up when the tax was repealed.</p> <p>If Monday's letter is any clue, oil companies are reading the writing on the wall, and they know that one way or another, it's time to start planning for a future when carbon pollution is more expensive and tightly regulated. Well, some oil companies: Conspicuously absent from the letter are any US oil companies, like Chevron or ExxonMobil; all the signatories are European. In fact, just last week Exxon chief Rex Tillerson <a href="" target="_blank">implicitly blasted his European peers</a> for cozying up to the UN on climate issues, saying his company wouldn't "fake it" on climate change and that investing in renewable energy is tantamount to "losing money on purpose."</p> <p>The head of French oil giant Total addressed the cross-Atlantic schism in <a href="" target="_blank">comments to Reuters</a>, saying that the European companies were set on throwing their weight behind carbon pricing "<span id="articleText">without necessarily waiting for an American to come on board."</span></p> <p>Although carbon pricing "obviously adds a cost to our production and our products," the letter says, the companies would prefer consistency and predictability over the patchwork of policies that exists now. In other words, it's easier to justify and plan investments in lower-carbon projects, such as replacing coal with natural gas, when carbon prices are stable and "even-handed," the letter said. At the same time, these companies have come under <a href="" target="_blank">increasing pressure from shareholders</a> to address how they'll stay profitable in the future, as restrictions on carbon emissions are tightened.</p> <p>To that end, a few of the signatories already have their own <a href="" target="_blank">internal "shadow" carbon price</a>, where investment options are calculated with a hypothetical carbon price added in, as a way of anticipating future policies.</p> <p>Still, progressive-sounding statements notwithstanding, oil companies are oil companies, and the letter gives no indication that any of them have plans to replace fossil fuels as their primary product. Shell, for one, is just weeks away from a <a href="" target="_blank">new foray into offshore drilling</a> in the Arctic. And according to <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Bloomberg</em></a>, the European companies are no better than their American counterparts in terms of their actual carbon footprint. So it remains to be seen how committed the companies will be to supporting sweeping changes to the global energy system, or if letters like this are just a clever way to stay relevant as the international climate talks forge ahead. Either way, the paradox of a corporation calling for a carbon price while still pursuing fossil fuel extraction is just more evidence that the free market won't fix climate change voluntarily&mdash;governments have to create new policies, like an international carbon price, that energy companies can't evade.</p> <p>Here's the letter:</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-2091463-paying-for-carbon-letter">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//"></script><script> DV.load("//", { width: 630, height: 800, sidebar: false, container: "#DV-viewer-2091463-paying-for-carbon-letter" }); </script><noscript> <a href="">Paying for Carbon Letter (PDF)</a> <br><a href="">Paying for Carbon Letter (Text)</a> </noscript></body></html> Blue Marble Climate Change Climate Desk Energy Top Stories Infrastructure Tue, 02 Jun 2015 21:38:58 +0000 Tim McDonnell 276416 at Oh Snap. The Feds Are Reportedly After Sepp Blatter. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The<em> New York Times </em><a href=";smid=nytcore-iphone-share&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">reports that authorities are confirming</a> to them that Sepp Blatter is indeed the subject of a federal corruption investigation:</p> <blockquote> <p>Mr. Blatter had for days tried to distance himself from the controversy, but several United States officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that in their efforts to build a case against Mr. Blatter they were hoping to win the cooperation of some of the FIFA officials now under indictment and work their way up the organization.</p> </blockquote> <p>No one could have predicted.</p></body></html> Contributor Tue, 02 Jun 2015 20:50:30 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 276456 at Google's New Diversity Stats Are Only Slightly Less Embarrassing Than They Were Last Year <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Around this time last year, Google shocked Silicon Valley by voluntarily <a href="" target="_blank">releasing statistics</a> on the diversity of its workforce. The move helped shame other large tech companies into doing the same, and the picture that emerged wasn't pretty: In most cases, only 10 percent of the companies' overall employees were black or Latino, compared to 27 percent in the US workforce as a whole. For its own part, Google <a href="" target="_blank">admitted</a> that "we're miles from where we want to be," and pledged to do more to cultivate minority and female tech talent.</p> <p>Now Google has an update: Its 2015 diversity stats, <a href="" target="_blank">released yesterday</a>, show that it has moved inches, not miles, toward a workforce that reflects America. The representation of female techies ticked up by 1 percentage point (from 17 to 18 percent), Asians gained 1 point, and whites, though still the majority, slipped by 1 point. Otherwise, the numbers are unchanged:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/google-chart.WEB_.gif"><div class="caption">Google</div> </div> <p>"With an organization our size, year-on-year growth and meaningful change is going to take time," Nancy Lee, Google's vice president of people operations, <a href="" target="_blank">told</a> the <em>Guardian</em>. Last year, Google spent $115 million on diversity initiatives and dispatched its own engineers to historically black colleges and universities to teach introductory computer science courses and help graduating students prepare for job searches. But unlike Intel, another big tech company that has prioritized diversity, Google has not set firm goals for diversifying its talent pool.</p> <p>"While every company cannot match Intel's ambitious plan, they can set concrete, measurable goals, targets, and timetables,"&nbsp;said a statement from the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who last year played a key role in convincing Google and other companies to disclose their diversity stats. "If they don't measure it, they don't mean it."</p></body></html> MoJo Charts Race and Ethnicity Tech google Tue, 02 Jun 2015 20:36:48 +0000 Josh Harkinson 276446 at Don't Pay Attention to Obamacare Rate Increase Horror Stories <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>I wrote about this once before, but it's worth repeating: don't pay too much attention to scare stories about gigantic increases in Obamacare premiums next year. Insurers that request increases of more than 10 percent are required to get clearance from state and federal regulators, which means that the only increase requests that are public right now are the ones over 10 percent. <a href="" target="_blank">Jordan Weissmann explains what this means:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;Trying to gauge the average premium hike from just the biggest increases is like measuring the average height of the public by looking at N.B.A. players,&rdquo; Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Foundation told the <em>Times</em>. Moreover, some states may ultimately end up rejecting the gaudiest requests if they're deemed unjustified.</p> <p>How skewed is the federal database? Here's one telling illustration from founder Charles Gaba. In Washington State, 17 insurers submitted health plans for next year, requesting an average rate increase of 5.4 percent. Only three of those companies asked for a big enough hike to show up on the federal rate review site. Together, they requested bumps averaging 18 percent, more than three times larger than the actual statewide mean. That gap should make everyone think twice before drawing conclusions from yesterday's data dump.</p> </blockquote> <p>This will be the first year in which insurance companies have a full year of experience with Obamacare to draw on. Does that mean it's possible that rates will go up a lot, now that they know what they're in for? Sure, it's possible. But so far there's really no evidence that the demographics of the Obamacare population are very different from what the companies expected. Nor are companies dropping out of Obamacare. In fact, in most states competition is increasing. All that suggests that Obamacare premiums will rise at a fairly normal rate next year. For the time being, then, don't pay too much attention to the Fox News horror stories. We've heard them all before.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 02 Jun 2015 18:24:49 +0000 Kevin Drum 276421 at Mike Huckabee Wishes He Lied About Being Transgender So He Could Have Showered with High School Girls <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>While speaking at a religious convention in Nashville earlier this year, Mike Huckabee's trademark <a href="" target="_blank">candor</a> reached a new level of absurdity, as he joked about wishing he&nbsp;"could have felt like a woman" back in high school&hellip;in order to get access to female locker rooms.</p> <p>"Now I wish that someone told me that when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in PE," <a href="" target="_blank">Huckabee said on stage</a> at the 2015 National Religious Broadcasters Convention&nbsp;back in February. "I'm pretty sure that I would have found my feminine side and said, 'Coach, I think I'd rather shower with the girls today.'"</p> <p>The remarks, reported by <em><a href="" target="_blank">BuzzFeed</a></em> on Tuesday, were meant&nbsp;to warn the crowd about Americans' growing tolerance of the transgender community and &nbsp;support for laws protecting transgender people's access to the restroom of their choice.</p> <p>"For those who do not think that we are under threat, simply recognize the fact that we are now in city after city watching ordinances say that your seven-year-old daughter&mdash;if she goes into the restroom&mdash;cannot be offended and you can&rsquo;t be offended if she's greeted there by a 42-year-old man who feels more like a woman than he does a man," he said.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" style="line-height: 2em;" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>For more on the conservative assault on where transgender people use the bathroom, <a href="" target="_blank">check out our primer here. </a></p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Gay Rights Tue, 02 Jun 2015 18:17:20 +0000 Inae Oh 276411 at FIFA President Sepp Blatter Resigns Amid Corruption Scandal <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>FIFA President Sepp Blatter <a href="" target="_blank">announced</a> Tuesday that he will step down after 17 years at the head of soccer's international governing body, in the wake of a <a href="" target="_blank">corruption probe</a> that has rattled the sport. In a press conference, Blatter called for a special election to find his replacement, just days after he was elected to a fifth term.</p> <p>Here's an excerpt of <a href="" target="_blank">Blatter's resignation letter</a>:&nbsp;</p> <blockquote> <p>I have been reflecting deeply about my presidency and about the forty years in which my life has been inextricably bound to FIFA and the great sport of football. I cherish FIFA more than anything and I want to do only what is best for FIFA and for football. I felt compelled to stand for re-election, as I believed that this was the best thing for the organization. That election is over but FIFA&rsquo;s challenges are not. FIFA needs a profound overhaul. While I have a mandate from the membership of FIFA, I do not feel that I have a mandate from the entire world of football &ndash; the fans, the players, the clubs, the people who live, breathe and love football as much as we all do at FIFA. Therefore, I have decided to lay down my mandate at an extraordinary elective Congress. I will continue to exercise my functions as FIFA President until that election.</p> </blockquote></body></html> Mixed Media International Sports Tue, 02 Jun 2015 17:13:35 +0000 Edwin Rios 276406 at Is Campaign Finance Reform Really the Key to Winning the White Working Class? <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Stan Greenberg says that white working-class voters aren't lost to the Democratic Party. In fact, most of them strongly support a progressive agenda in the mold of Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders. The problem is that they don't trust the system, and they want to see reform <em>first</em>, before they're willing to vote for Democratic candidates <a href="" target="_blank">with expansive social welfare programs:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Three-quarters of voters in the twelve most competitive Senate battleground states in 2014&mdash;states flooded with campaign money&mdash;support a constitutional amendment to overturn the <em>Citizens United</em> ruling. Three in five <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/images/blog_money_elections.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">of those voters support &ldquo;a plan to overhaul campaign spending by getting rid of big donations and allowing only small donations to candidates, matched by taxpayer funds.&rdquo;</p> <p>....Yet most important for our purposes are the results for white unmarried women and working-class women. These groups both put a &ldquo;streamline government&rdquo; initiative ahead of everything except protecting Social Security and Medicare. They want to &ldquo;streamline government and reduce waste and bureaucracy to make sure every dollar spent is a dollar spent serving people, not serving government.&rdquo; They gave even greater importance than white working-class men to streamlining government. For these women, being on the edge means feeling more strongly that government should pinch pennies and start working for them.</p> <p>....What really strengthens and empowers the progressive economic narrative, however, is a commitment to reform politics and government. That may seem ironic or contradictory, since the narrative calls for a period of government activism. But, of course, it does make sense: Why would you expect government to act on behalf of the ordinary citizen when it is clearly dominated by special interests? Why would you expect people who are financially on the edge, earning flat or falling wages and paying a fair amount of taxes and fees, not to be upset about tax money being wasted or channeled to individuals and corporations vastly more wealthy and powerful than themselves?</p> </blockquote> <p>I'll admit to some skepticism here. Are working-class voters, white or otherwise, really pining away for campaign finance reform? The evidence of the past 40 years sure doesn't seem to suggest this is a big winner. Still, times have changed, and the influence of big money has become far more obvious and far more insidious than in the past. Maybe this really is a winner.</p> <p>As for streamlining government, my only question is: where's the beef? That is, what kind of concrete plan are we talking about here? "Streamlining" seems a little too fuzzy to capture many votes.</p> <p>In any case, read the whole thing if this is the sort of thing you enjoy arguing about. It's food for thought at the very least. As for me, I'm off to see my doctor. I'll be back sooner or later depending on how streamlined his office is.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 02 Jun 2015 15:10:33 +0000 Kevin Drum 276396 at This Is How Miserably the TSA Is Failing at Airport Security <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>An undercover investigation lead by the Department of Homeland Security uncovered devastating holes in the Transportation Security Administration's security procedures, with investigators able to smuggle fake explosives and banned weapons <a href=";utm_source=digg&amp;utm_medium=twitter" target="_blank">67 out of 70 times</a> at some of the country's busiest airports.</p> <p>"In one case, agents failed to detect a fake explosive taped to an agent's back, even after performing a pat down that was prompted after the agent set off the magnetometer alarm," ABC News reports.</p> <p>The alarming 95 percent failure rate, during an investigation that spanned a decade, has lead to the reassignment of the agency's chief Melvin Carraway.</p> <p>"The numbers in these reports never look good out of context but they are a critical element in the continual evolution of our aviation security," Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson <a href="" target="_blank">said in a statement.</a> "We take these findings very seriously in our continued effort to test, measure, and enhance our capabilities and techniques as threats evolve."</p> <p>Following the internal investigation, Johnson also ordered for more routine undercover investigations and mandatory retraining for all TSA officials.</p> <p>The full Homeland Security report is slated to be released later this <a href="" target="_blank">summer. </a></p></body></html> Mixed Media Crime and Justice Guns International Tue, 02 Jun 2015 14:15:50 +0000 Inae Oh 276386 at Here Is a Study About Sad Little Men Having Affairs for Sad, Boring Reasons <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Society tells us that men are supposed to go out into the world and earn the wages while women are supposed to stay at home and raise kids. Society, as many great thinkers have said, is stupid. It's all very 1950s and <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Revolutionary Road</em></a> and most people not from the fever swamp would acknowledge that these gender roles are detrimental to the world and terrible and dumb. Still, the pernicious effects remain in our psyche! Now, you can either believe that even the most enlightened people are still sick on some deep down interior level, or you can be the sort of person who doesn't believe things, but either way it's true.</p> <p>How true is it? <a href="" target="_blank">This true</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>This new study, <a href="" target="_blank">showcased in the June issue of the American Sociological Review</a>, found that men who are 100% economically dependent on their spouses were most at risk for cheating, three times more at risk than women married to male breadwinners.</p> <p>While, on average, women who are completely financially dependent on their husbands face about a 5% chance that they will stray, there is about a 15% chance that a man married to a female breadwinner will cheat, the study concluded.</p> <p>"I think it has to do with our cultural notions of what it means to be a man and what ... the social expectations are for masculinity," the study author, Christin Munsch, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut, told CNN.</p> <p>Being economically dependent on their wives may threaten their manhood, Munsch said, and having an affair is a way to re-establish their masculinity, even if it's all done subconsciously.</p> </blockquote> <p>God is a lazy screenwriter.</p> <p><strong>UPDATE:&nbsp;</strong></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-cards="hidden" data-conversation="none" data-partner="tweetdeck"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="">@bendreyfuss</a> Are the men who depend entirely on their woman financially the ones you're calling "the most enlightened people"?</p> &mdash; Mark (@markadams44) <a href="">June 1, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>No.</p></body></html> Contributor Ben's Thoughts Mon, 01 Jun 2015 22:52:01 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 276371 at San Francisco Moves to Require Health Warnings on Soda Ads <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Sugar has <a href="" target="_blank">invaded</a> just about every part of our diet (Americans consume an estimated five times the amount of added sugar <a href="" target="_blank">recommended</a> by the World Health Organization), and it's making us sick. Too much added sugar can <a href="" target="_blank">lead to heart disease</a> and myriad other health issues, and research <a href="" target="_blank">suggests</a> sugar in liquid form is worst of all for you.</p> <p>That's why today San Francisco lawmakers <a href="" target="_blank">discussed</a> requiring soda advertisements to include a health warning. It would read, "WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. This is a message from the City and County of San Francisco."</p> <p>Other proposed ordinances <a href=";ID=400743&amp;GUID=E1C49D3B-459B-4448-8862-3F895C431852" target="_blank">would prohibit</a> the advertising of sugar-sweetened drinks on city property and ban their purchase with city funds or grants. These measures would be the first of their kind taken by an American city.</p> <p>As expected, the sugar industry is not happy about them. Last year, it spent more than $10 million campaigning against a San Francisco <a href=",_Proposition_E_%28November_2014%29" target="_blank">ballot measure</a> to tax sugary beverages, and, <a href="" target="_blank">according to the <em>San Jose Mercury News</em></a>, industry groups are prepared to fight these ordinances, as well.</p> <p>CalBev, the trade group representing California's nonalcoholic beverage industry, <a href="" target="_blank">called</a> the proposals "anti-consumer choice" and said the warnings would not improve health and instead mislead and confuse consumers.</p> <p>San Francisco supervisor Malia Cohen, who introduced the soda ordinances along with fellow supervisors Scott Wiener and Eric Mar, has a different perspective. "Soda companies are spending billions of dollars every year to target low-income and minority communities, which also happen to be some of the communities with the highest risks of Type II diabetes," she said in a statement. "This ban on soda advertising will help bridge this existing health inequity."</p> <p>Wiener added, "These health warning labels will give people the information they need to make informed choices about how these sodas are impacting their lives and the lives of people in their community."</p> <p>A hearing was held for the ordinances earlier today. Next, they will be brought to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for a vote.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Food and Ag Health Mon, 01 Jun 2015 22:36:31 +0000 Luke Whelan 276351 at Tracy Morgan Gives Emotional First Interview Since Fatal Car Crash <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>On Monday, Tracy Morgan sat down with Matt Lauer for his <a href="" target="_blank">first interview</a> since the devastating six-car <a href=";rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=6&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CDcQFjAF&amp;;ei=N7NsVdTbHqawsATL8oDgDQ&amp;usg=AFQjCNEdOnM8ulPUx7aLMfCkUYf7DKFtkg&amp;sig2=6TVa-PPDcfEDYieLj5aVkQ" target="_blank">accident</a> that left him in critical condition and killed one of his friends,&nbsp;James McNair, nearly one year ago.</p> <p>"I can't believe I'm here," Morgan said "Just seeing the tragedy that happened&mdash;it just touches me."</p> <p>When speaking about the loss of McNair, Morgan started to cry. "He was a loving man and he was a warm man. He was a good man. It&rsquo;s just hard for me to see that he's gone. That's it."&nbsp;</p> <div style="position:relative; padding-bottom:63%; padding-bottom:-webkit-calc(56.25% + 50px); padding-bottom:calc(56.25% + 50px); height: 0;"><iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" src="" style="position:absolute; width: 100%; height: 100%;"></iframe></div> <p>The accident involved a truck driven by a Walmart employee and set off a long legal battle that was <a href="" target="_blank">settled</a> just last month.</p> <p>"Bones heal, but the loss of my friend will never heal," Morgan said. "I'm happy that Walmart stepped up to the plate. They took full responsibility."</p></body></html> Mixed Media Media Mon, 01 Jun 2015 19:33:10 +0000 Inae Oh 276346 at Here Is Caitlyn Jenner's Stunning Vanity Fair Cover <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Caitlyn Jenner, the woman formerly known as Bruce Jenner of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" fame, made her public debut on the cover of <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Vanity Fair</em></a> on Monday. The beautiful portrait was shot by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz:</p> <center> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Caitlyn Jenner poses for Annie Leibovitz on the cover of Vanity Fair <a href="">#CallMeCaitlyn</a> <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) <a href="">June 1, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> </center> <p>During a sit-down interview with <a href="" target="_blank">Diane Sawyer</a> back in April, the former Olympian opened up about her transition into becoming a woman. "My whole life has been getting me ready for this," Jenner said.&nbsp;</p> <p>"Caitlyn doesn't have any secrets. As soon as the <em>Vanity Fair</em> cover comes out, I'm free," she said in an exclusive new video for the magazine.&nbsp;</p> <center> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> </center> <p>The cover hits newsstands on June 9.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> Mixed Media Gay Rights Media Mon, 01 Jun 2015 16:41:56 +0000 Inae Oh 276331 at SCOTUS Delivers Good News for Abusive Trolls <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Trolls and libertarians rejoice. In a highly watched case that explored the tough question of what distinguishes protected free speech from illegal threats, the Supreme Court on Monday made it harder for the government to prosecute individuals who are making threatening statements toward others.</p> <p>The court voided the conviction of Anthony Elonis, who was found guilty of issuing unlawful threats over Facebook with rants that referred to killing his estranged wife. Elonis argued that his posts, which were presented as rap lyrics, were a form of expression protected by the First Amendment. He was convicted in federal district court in Pennsylvania under the "reasonable person" standard: Would a reasonable person consider Elonis' posts threatening?</p> <p>In a <a href="" target="_blank">7-2 decision</a>, Chief Justice John Roberts ruled that the reasonable person test wasn't sufficient for a criminal conviction like this one. Avoiding touchy First Amendment questions, the court determined that Elonis' posts should have been evaluated under a tougher standard that takes his mental state into account. That is, did he intend to follow through on his threats or did he know that his words would be seen as a threat?</p> <p>"Elonis's conviction was premised solely on how his posts would be viewed by a reasonable person, a standard&hellip;inconsistent with the conventional criminal conduct requirement of 'awareness of some wrongdoing,'" Roberts wrote. He noted that a criminal conviction could only be supported "if the defendant transmits a communication for the purpose of issuing a threat or with knowledge that the communication will be viewed as a threat."</p> <p>The case presented a difficult First Amendment question pitting freedom of expression against the freedom to not be threatened with violence. But the justices ducked the matter. The ruling was predicated on a statutory interpretation.</p> <p>Elonis was sentenced to 44 months in prison for threatening to harm and even kill his estranged wife in Facebook posts&mdash;threats that left his wife <a href="" target="_blank">afraid for her safety</a>. Elonis fought the charges, arguing that he could not be imprisoned because he never intended to hurt his wife. A criminal conviction for someone who had no intent to harm, he contended, violated the Constitution's guarantee of freedom of speech. But the trial court disagreed and instructed the jury to use the reasonable-person standard.</p> <p>The federal government <a href="" target="_blank">argued</a> that the reasonable person test is the best way to determine whether a statement is a threat. Its lawyers maintained that even if there is no intent to harm, such threats can severely disrupt the lives of those people targeted.</p> <p>Civil liberties groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, <a href="" target="_blank">supported Elonis</a>, fearing an encroachment on free-speech rights. Advocates for victims of domestic violence, though, argued that victims of domestic abuse "suffer the devastating psychological and economic effects of threats of violence, which their abusers deliver more and more often via social media," according to <a href="" target="_blank">an amicus brief</a>. This brief, filed by the National Network to End Domestic Violence and a number of state-based anti-domestic-violence groups, argued that threats are often a precursor to actual violence.</p> <p>The Elonis case was argued before the court in early December and the justices took a full six months to decide the case. Roberts was joined by Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, and the court's liberal wing. Justice Samuel Alito joined in part and dissented in part. Justice Clarence Thomas dissented.</p></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties Crime and Justice Supreme Court Top Stories Mon, 01 Jun 2015 16:09:36 +0000 Pema Levy 276321 at Rand Paul Didn't Kill the Patriot Act <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>I was down with a stomach bug this weekend, so I didn't follow events in the Senate as closely as I usually would have. But Rand Paul sure seems to be getting a lot more credit than he deserves for how things went down. As near as I can tell:</p> <ul><li>Mitch McConnell just flat screwed up. He figured he could panic everyone into extending the Patriot Act by waiting until Sunday to reconvene the Senate, and he figured wrong.</li> <li>Rand Paul did indeed delay things by refusing unanimous consent to take up a compromise bill.</li> <li>But events went the way they did because a majority of the Senate opposed McConnell and wanted a compromise bill, not because of anything Rand Paul did.</li> <li>The upshot of Paul's actions is that the compromise bill has to wait until Tuesday for a vote, which means the Patriot Act will be expired for a couple of days. This is not really a big deal in anything other than symbolic terms. The compromise bill is going to be passed one way or another, and that would have been the case regardless of anything Paul did.</li> </ul><p>Am I missing something big here? I don't begrudge Paul getting some good press for what he did. Politics is theater, and Paul has worked hard to make this a front-page issue. Still, there just wasn't a majority in favor of extending the Patriot Act, and that's what made the difference.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 01 Jun 2015 15:22:41 +0000 Kevin Drum 276326 at Why Bernie Sanders Was Talking About "Fifty Shades of Grey" on "Meet the Press" <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>This wasn't the way Bernie Sanders expected to conclude the first week of his presidential campaign&mdash;comparing <a href="" target="_blank">a 1972 essay he wrote</a> for the <em>Vermont Free</em><em>man</em> to E.L. James' <em>Fifty Shades of Grey</em>. But the article, <a href="" target="_blank">first reported</a> in <em>Mother Jones</em>, quickly caught fire because of its description of a woman who "fantasizes being raped," and by the weekend, Sanders had taken steps to renounce it.</p> <p>Per <a href="" target="_blank">Bloomberg</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>"This is a piece of fiction that I wrote in 1972, I think," the Vermont Senator said, appearing on Meet the Press. "That was 43 years ago. It was very poorly written and if you read it, what it was dealing with was gender stereotypes, why some men like to oppress women, why other women like to be submissive, you know, something like&nbsp;<em>Fifty Shades of Grey</em>."</p> </blockquote> <p>But if the 1972 essay ruined his media tour, it didn't do anything to suppress the enthusiasm of the progressive activists Sanders aims to make his base. Sanders spent his first week of the campaign speaking to overflow crowds across the Midwest (3,000 people in Minneapolis) and New Hampshire. And, evidently, he's turned some heads. Here's the <a href="" target="_blank"><em>New York Times</em></a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>DES MOINES &mdash; A mere 240 people live in the rural northeast Iowa town of Kensett, so when more than 300 crowded into the community center on Saturday night to hear Senator <a class="meta-per" href="" title="More articles about Bernard Sanders.">Bernie Sanders</a> of Vermont, many driving 50 miles, the cellphones of Democratic leaders statewide began to buzz.</p> <p>Kurt Meyer, the county party chairman who organized the event, sent a text message to Troy Price, the Iowa political director for Hillary Rodham Clinton. Mr. Price called back immediately.</p> </blockquote> <blockquote> <p>"Objects in your rearview mirror are closer than they appear," Mr. Meyer said he had told Mr. Price about Mr. Sanders. "Mrs. Clinton had better get out here."</p> </blockquote> <p>Clinton's strategy, to this point, has been to act as if her other prospective Democratic primary opponents don't exist. Sanders might have just changed that calculus.</p></body></html> MoJo Elections bernie sanders Mon, 01 Jun 2015 15:02:21 +0000 Tim Murphy 276306 at Watch John Oliver Issue a Scathing Takedown of FIFA's "Swiss Demon" President <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>One very prominent name was missing among the several high-ranking FIFA officials <a href="" target="_blank">indicted</a> on corruption and bribery charges last week. That person, of course, was FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who as John Oliver described on the latest <a href="" target="_blank">"Last Week Tonight,"</a> has "left a trail of devastation" under his watch as the organization's president.</p> <p>"No decision Blatter has overseen is more questionable than the 2022 World Cup being awarded to Qatar, because not only will the conditions be terrible to play in, but the number of migrant workers that have died in Qatar since the cup was announced has been staggering," Oliver said.</p> <p>Despite the new charges and Blatter's scandal-ridden reputation, he was actually reelected as president for a fifth term on Friday.</p> <p>"To truly kill a snake, you must cut off its head, or in this case its asshole," Oliver explained. Without Blatter's indictment, the host says no truly significant reforms can be made for the world's favorite sport.</p> <p>Watch Oliver make a plea to both U.S. officials and FIFA's long list of powerful sponsors to remove Blatter as president, once and for all:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p id="update"><strong>UPDATE: Tuesday, June 2, 2015:</strong> Blatter has <span class="s1"><a href="" target="_blank">resigned</a></span>. Oliver has sent the "one perfect tweet" of this news cycle.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="fr">Champagne.... <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; John Oliver (@iamjohnoliver) <a href="">June 2, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></body></html> Mixed Media Media Sports Mon, 01 Jun 2015 13:36:55 +0000 Inae Oh 276301 at Country-Folk Artist Eilen Jewell Sings About Love and Dusty Roads <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><strong>Eilen Jewell<br><em>Sundown Over Ghost Town</em><br> Signature Sounds</strong><br> &nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" height="217" src="/files/SIG2076%20SUNDOWN%20OVER%20GHOST%20TOWN%201500x1500.jpg" width="217"></div> <p>A cabaret artist masquerading as a country-folk performer, Idaho's Eilen Jewell sings with an unhurried elegance that evokes late-night intimacies and dusty roads with equal skill. (A Billie Holiday tribute album wouldn't be inappropriate.) Though her fifth album consists entirely of original songs, <em>Sundown Over Ghost Town</em> feels like a welcome return to a set of classics you've known forever, gently touching on desire, loneliness, and the longing for home. Paced by guitarist Jerry Miller and steel guitarist Jake Hoffman, Jewell's underrated band gracefully mixes breezy rockers and luminous ballads without straining for effect. Perfect for fans of Madeleine Peyroux.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Music Mon, 01 Jun 2015 10:00:13 +0000 Jon Young 276161 at This Tweet About the Patriot Act Is Perfect <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">12:00am - Patriot Act expires 12:01am - Sharia law replaces Constitution 12:02am - Starbucks closes, re-opens as chain of victory mosques</p> &mdash; Daniel Lin (@DLin71) <a href="">June 1, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></body></html> Contributor Mon, 01 Jun 2015 04:38:26 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 276296 at Kim Kardashian Is Pregnant and the Patriot Act Is Going to Expire <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>You're just enjoying your Sunday evening when <em>BAM:</em> EXTRA! EXTRA! <strong>PATRIOTISM DEAD</strong>.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">It's official: The Patriot Act's broadest surveillance powers will expire at midnight <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; The Verge (@verge) <a href="">June 1, 2015</a></blockquote> <p>Then, just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Congrats! <a href="">@KimKardashian</a> reveals she&rsquo;s pregnant with baby number two: <a href=""></a> <a href="">#KUWTK</a> <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Kardashians on E! (@KUWTK) <a href="">June 1, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Journalists live for days like this. I can't help but wonder how <em>The Newsroom</em> would have covered this monumental night.</p></body></html> Contributor Ben's Thoughts Mon, 01 Jun 2015 02:43:13 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 276291 at Beau Biden, the Vice President's Son, Has Died <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><a href="" target="_blank">RIP</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Joseph Robinette &ldquo;Beau&rdquo; Biden III, the son of Vice President Biden and former state attorney general of Delaware, died Saturday after battling brain cancer for several years.</p> </blockquote> <blockquote> <p>Biden, 46, the oldest son of the vice president and the rising star of a family dynasty, had been admitted recently to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington as he fought the cancer, a battle that his father largely kept private in the last weeks as his son clung to his life.</p> </blockquote> <p>So sad.</p> <p>Here's the Vice President's statement:</p> <blockquote> <p>It is with broken hearts that Hallie, Hunter, Ashley, Jill and I announce the passing of our husband, brother and son, Beau, after he battled brain cancer with the same integrity, courage and strength he demonstrated every day of his life.</p> <p>The entire Biden family is saddened beyond words. We know that Beau&rsquo;s spirit will live on in all of us&mdash;especially through his brave wife, Hallie, and two remarkable children, Natalie and Hunter.</p> <p>Beau's life was defined by service to others. As a young lawyer, he worked to establish the rule of law in war-torn Kosovo. A major in the Delaware National Guard, he was an Iraq War veteran and was awarded the Bronze Star. As Delaware&rsquo;s Attorney General, he fought for the powerless and made it his mission to protect children from abuse.</p> <p>More than his professional accomplishments, Beau measured himself as a husband, father, son and brother. His absolute honor made him a role model for our family. Beau embodied my father's saying that a parent knows success when his child turns out better than he did.</p> <p>In the words of the Biden family: Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known.</p> </blockquote> <p>And the statement from the President:</p> <blockquote> <p>Michelle and I are grieving tonight. Beau Biden was a friend of ours. His beloved family &ndash; Hallie, Natalie, and Hunter &ndash; are friends of ours. And Joe and Jill Biden are as good as friends get.</p> <p>Beau took after Joe. He studied the law, like his dad, even choosing the same law school. He chased a life of public service, like his dad, serving in Iraq and as Delaware&rsquo;s Attorney General. Like his dad, Beau was a good, big-hearted, devoutly Catholic and deeply faithful man, who made a difference in the lives of all he touched &ndash; and he lives on in their hearts.</p> <p>But for all that Beau Biden achieved in his life, nothing made him prouder; nothing made him happier; nothing claimed a fuller focus of his love and devotion than his family.</p> <p>Just like his dad.</p> <p>Joe is one of the strongest men we&rsquo;ve ever known. He&rsquo;s as strong as they come, and nothing matters to him more than family. It&rsquo;s one of the things we love about him. And it is a testament to Joe and Jill &ndash; to who they are &ndash; that Beau lived a life that was full; a life that mattered; a life that reflected their reverence for family.</p> <p>The Bidens have more family than they know. In the Delaware they love. In the Senate Joe reveres. Across this country that he has served for more than forty years. And they have a family right here in the White House, where hundreds of hearts ache tonight &ndash; for Hallie, Natalie, and Hunter; for Joe and for Jill; for Beau&rsquo;s brother, Hunter; his sister, Ashley, and for the entire Biden clan.</p> <p>&ldquo;I have believed the best of every man,&rdquo; wrote the poet William Butler Yeats, &ldquo;And find that to believe it is enough to make a bad man show him at his best or even a good man swing his lantern higher.&rdquo;</p> <p>Beau Biden believed the best of us all. For him, and for his family, we swing our lanterns higher.</p> <p>Michelle and I humbly pray for the good Lord to watch over Beau Biden, and to protect and comfort his family here on Earth.</p> </blockquote> <p>And this old tweet from Beau is heartbreaking:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Happy Birthday to the best coach I could have asked for. Love you Pop. <a href="">#TBT</a> <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Beau Biden (@BeauBiden) <a href="">November 20, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></body></html> MoJo Sun, 31 May 2015 02:15:08 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 276286 at