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 Holy Shit. This Is How the Duggars' Homeschooling Curriculum Allegedly Dealt With Sexual Abuse. http://www.motherjones.com/contributor/2015/05/holy-shit-how-duggars-homeschooling-curriculum-allegedly-dealt-sexual-abuse <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>All I can tell you about this tweet is that the Duggars <a href="http://jezebel.com/conservative-leader-with-ties-to-duggar-family-faces-ab-1536648157" target="_blank">are/were fans of Bill Gothard</a> and that this sexual abuse "lesson" <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/micah-j-murray/growing-up-in-bill-gothar_b_5228166.html" target="_blank">does appear</a> to have been a part of his curriculum at one time.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">The Duggars use Bill Gothard's Advanced Training Institute for homeschooling. This is how sexual abuse is approached: <a href="http://t.co/hSqOKUk0uv">pic.twitter.com/hSqOKUk0uv</a></p> &mdash; Sarah Galo (@SarahEvonne) <a href="https://twitter.com/SarahEvonne/status/601838249959620608">May 22, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p><a href="http://powderroom.kinja.com/how-are-the-duggars-dealing-with-the-gothard-sex-scanda-1581883720" target="_blank">Gothard himself has been the subject of sordid allegations</a>.</p></body></html> Contributor Fri, 22 May 2015 22:11:22 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 275761 at http://www.motherjones.com For the First Time Ever, Social Conservatives No Longer Outnumber Social Liberals in America http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/first-time-ever-conservatives-no-longer-outnumber-liberals-america <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><a href="http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2015_05/no_more_social_conservative_te055694.php" target="_blank">Via Ed Kilgore,</a> here's an interesting chart <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/183386/social-ideology-left-catches-right.aspx" target="_blank">from the good folks at Gallup:</a></p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_gallup_liberal_conservative_1.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 15px 55px;"></p> <p>What's interesting about this is that the change is due almost entirely to Democrats and Democratic leaners. Since 1999, that group has gone from 35 percent socially liberal to 53 percent, and from 20 percent socially conservative to 14 percent conservative.</p> <p>Republicans and Republican leaners, by contrast, have barely budged. In the 2015 polling there's a slight dip in conservative ID and a slight spike in moderate ID, but it's probably just noise. Generally speaking, the lines are pretty flat over the past couple of decades.</p> <p>So why have Democrats changed so much? Perhaps it's the impact of Millennials. Perhaps it's the impact of gay marriage, which Democrats have been far more willing to accept than Republicans. Maybe MSNBC and liberal blogs have had a bigger impact than I would have guessed. I'm not sure. But the increase has been steady enough that it can't be blamed on any specific event, like the Bush presidency or the financial crisis.</p> <p>In any case, this really is a milestone. For a long time, one of the rocks of political analysis in America has been the simple fact that conservatives outnumber liberals. That's been true since at least the 60s, and probably for the entire postwar period&mdash;and it's been a perpetual millstone around Democratic necks. They couldn't win national elections just by getting the liberal vote and a little bit of the center-right vote. They had to get a <em>lot</em> of the center-right vote.</p> <p>But it now looks like that era is coming to an end. With social issues increasingly defining politics, a social liberal is, for all practical purposes, just a plain old liberal&mdash;and the trend of <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/180452/liberals-record-trail-conservatives.aspx" target="_blank">increasing liberal ID is already underway.</a> It's still got a ways to go, but the liberal-conservative gap is definitely closing. This probably goes a long way toward explaining why Hillary Clinton and other Democrats seem much more willing to move left than in the past. It's because they no longer think they have to capture a huge chunk of the moderate vote to win. They still need some moderates in their camp, but they no longer need to capture two-thirds or more of them. Like Republicans, they can make do with half or even a bit less.</p> <p><strong>UPDATE:</strong> The headline initially just said "liberal" and "conservative" without mentioning that it was about <em>social</em> liberals and conservatives. Too much shorthand. Sorry about that. I've changed the headline and a few words of the text to make everything clear.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 22 May 2015 16:40:29 +0000 Kevin Drum 275726 at http://www.motherjones.com Friday Cat Blogging Counterpoint: I Don't Care About Your Cute Cat http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/cats-dogs-pets-pandas-whatever <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><em>While Kevin Drum is <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/04/housekeeping-note" target="_blank">focused on getting better</a>, we've invited some remarkable writers, thinkers, and Friends of Kevin to contribute posts and keep the conversation going. Today, in the spirit of open debate, we interrupt our regularly scheduled <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/friday-cat-blogging-22-may-2015" target="_blank">cat blogging</a> for a counterpoint by <a href="http://annfriedman.com/clips" target="_blank">writer</a>, <a href="http://annfriedman.com/day-jobs" target="_blank">editor</a>, <a href="http://annfriedman.com/cyg" target="_blank">podcaster</a>, <a href="http://annfriedman.com/speaking" target="_blank">speaker</a>, <a href="http://annfriedman.com/tagged/pie+charts" target="_blank">chartisan</a>, <a href="https://tinyletter.com/annfriedman" target="_blank">newsletterer</a>, and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2006/11/mail-order-abortions" target="_blank">former </a></em><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2006/11/mail-order-abortions" target="_blank">MoJo</a><em><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2006/11/mail-order-abortions" target="_blank">er</a></em><em> <a href="http://annfriedman.com/bio" target="_blank">Ann Friedman</a>.</em></p> <p>I don't like cats. And it's even worse than you think: I don't like dogs, either. In fact, I have virtually no interest in animals at all&mdash;even eating them. I am really happy that you are comforted by the presence of your dog. I am thrilled that you and your cat "rescued each other." But, no, I do not want to cuddle with or even see photos of your pet. And please don't bother sending me that video of <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Se6flT2EWs">baby red pandas</a> cuddling each other or a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Co3N4-6B2pM">lion reuniting</a> with its long-lost human pal.</p> <p>I feel nothing.</p> <p>On this point, especially among my feminist peers on the internet, I am in the minority. In honor of the man who <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/28/technology/circuits/28cats.html">pioneered Friday cat blogging</a>, I'm going to reckon with the fact that I am just not very interested in furry creatures. The last time I wrote about this was seven years ago, in ancient internet times when I was a blogger for <em>Feministing</em> and <a href="http://feministing.com/2007/08/31/friday_anticat_blogging_1/">dared</a> to do some "Friday anti-catblogging." The commenters weren't having it. "I honestly think that there is a valuable conversation to be had about the correlation of cat-hating with misogyny," one wrote.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/kevin-drum/2015/05/cats-dogs-pets-pandas-whatever"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Kevin Drum Animals Top Stories Fri, 22 May 2015 16:34:47 +0000 Ann Friedman 275621 at http://www.motherjones.com Kansas Republicans Have Come Up with a Disgraceful New Way to Screw the Poor http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/05/heres-how-kansas-republicans-are-screwing-poor <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Starting in July, a new law in Kansas will restrict the amount of cash a welfare recipient can take out of ATM's to just $25 a day&mdash;a move that critics say introduces a whole new host of financial burdens&mdash;including high ATM fees and travel costs&mdash;when they access cash.</p> <p>Max Ehrenfreund at the <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/05/21/kansas-has-found-the-ultimate-way-to-punish-the-poor/" target="_blank"><em>Washington Post </em></a>explains:</p> <blockquote> <p>Since&nbsp;most banking machines&nbsp;are stocked only with $20 bills, the $25 limit is effectively a $20 limit.&nbsp;A family seeking to withdraw even $200 in cash would have to&nbsp;visit an&nbsp;ATM 10 times a month, a real burden for a parent&nbsp;who might not have a car and might not live in a neighborhood where ATMs are easy to find.</p> </blockquote> <p>The law, backed by a GOP-dominated Kansas legislature and Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, will benefit the pockets of large banks while taking money from poor families who rely on food stamps.</p> <blockquote> <p>In Kansas's system, every withdrawal incurs a $1 fee, and if the beneficiary doesn't have a bank account, they will have to pay the ATM fee, too. Those fees might be worth it for some families, though, because the card issued by the&nbsp;state of&nbsp;Kansas isn't like a debit card from&nbsp;an ordinary bank. Ordinary debit cards allow their holders to make purchases for free in stores.&nbsp;In Kansas, beneficiaries get two free purchases a month. After that, they pay 40 cents&nbsp;every time they&nbsp;use the card&nbsp;to buy something.</p> </blockquote> <p>The ostensible rationale for this redistribution of wealth is to minimize waste and prevent low income residents from spending their money on non-essentials like alcohol and the much-feared <a href="https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play;_ylt=A2KLqID3R19Voj8AGCQsnIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTByZWc0dGJtBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDBGdwb3MDMQ--?p=Jon+Stewart+Welfare+Lobster&amp;vid=18b18abf873d9a1be0d926b9b75785fa&amp;l=4%3A46&amp;turl=http%3A%2F%2Fts3.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DWN.%252fdXqe5QFyMSifoOUVN2FVQ%26pid%3D15.1&amp;rurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DHxBDhoIpl5g&amp;tit=Jon+Stewart+slams+Kansas+for+welfare+hypocrisy+and+gun+insanity+%5BFULL+HD%5D&amp;c=0&amp;sigr=11bm6l0bl&amp;sigt=129lccqen&amp;sigi=12141uhgf&amp;age=1428684620&amp;fr2=p%3As%2Cv%3Av&amp;fr=yhs-mozilla-001&amp;hsimp=yhs-001&amp;hspart=mozilla&amp;tt=b" target="_blank">lobster feast</a>. This is the demonizing-the-poor trope that Republican lawmakers frequently deploy to justify punitive control over how low income people spend their money. In addition to the limit on withdrawals, the state's new law carries restrictions to ludicrous levels by prohibiting spending on items such as <a href="http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2015_16/measures/documents/hb2258_02_0000.pdf" target="_blank">swimming pools and fortune telling sessions.</a></p> <p>As <em>Mother Jones </em>has written in the past, such <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/03/10-poverty-myths-busted" target="_blank">concerns</a> are wildly misplaced and seriously hurt the poor. President Obama recently addressed this conservative characterization, calling out Fox News for portraying the poor as <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/05/fox-news-probably-never-even-read-the-grapes-of-wrath" target="_blank">lazy "leeches"</a> eager to waste government funds.</p> <p>Fortunately, Kansas' controversial new provision may actually turn out to be <a href="http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/05/17/266888/kansas-could-lose-millions-for.html" target="_blank">illegal,</a> violating federal law that mandates welfare recipients "have adequate access to their cash assistance" without enduring high fees.<br> &nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Economy Income Inequality Fri, 22 May 2015 16:19:19 +0000 Inae Oh 275716 at http://www.motherjones.com Friday Cat Blogging - 22 May 2015 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/friday-cat-blogging-22-may-2015 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>One of the reasons we got a pair of sibling cats last year is because I've always wanted a couple of cats who would sleep together in an adorable little kitty pile. And that's worked out pretty well. Is there anything cuter than Hilbert and Hopper snoozing together in the picture below? I don't think so. I really don't.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hilbert_hopper_2015_05_21.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 40px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 22 May 2015 16:00:12 +0000 Kevin Drum 275711 at http://www.motherjones.com Don't Panic: Health Insurance Rates Aren't About to Rise by 50 Percent http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/dont-panic-health-insurance-rates-arent-about-rise-50-percent <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Here's the latest Fox News bait <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/health-insurers-seek-hefty-rate-boosts-1432244042?mod=trending_now_1" target="_blank">from the <em>Wall Street Journal</em>:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Major insurers in some states are proposing hefty rate boosts for plans sold under the federal health law, setting the stage for an intense debate this summer over the law&rsquo;s impact.</p> <p>In New Mexico, market leader Health Care Service Corp. is asking for an average jump of 51.6% in premiums for 2016. The biggest insurer in Tennessee, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, has requested an average 36.3% increase. In Maryland, market leader CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield wants to raise rates 30.4% across its products. Moda Health, the largest insurer on the Oregon health exchange, seeks an average boost of around 25%.</p> <p><strong>All of them cite high medical costs incurred by people newly enrolled under the Affordable Care Act.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Well, of course they do. It's a handy excuse, so why not use it?</p> <p>In any case, we've all seen this movie before. Republicans will latch onto it as evidence of how Obamacare is destroying American health care and it will enjoy a nice little run for them. Then, a few months from now, the real rate increases&mdash;the ones approved by state and federal authorities&mdash;will begin to trickle out. They'll mostly be in single digits, with a few in the low teens. The average for the entire country will end up being something like 4-8 percent.</p> <p>So don't panic. Sure, it's possible that the Obamacare shit has finally hit the fan, but probably not. Check back in October before you worry too much about stories like this.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Health Care Fri, 22 May 2015 14:53:32 +0000 Kevin Drum 275721 at http://www.motherjones.com Josh Duggar Resigns From Family Research Council Amid Molestation Allegations http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/05/josh-duggar-resigns-family-research-council-amid-molestation-allegations <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Thursday, Josh Duggar <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/05/21/josh-duggar-apologizes-resigns-from-family-research-council-amid-molestation-allegations/" target="_blank">resigned</a> as head of the Family Research Council's lobbying arm amid allegations from a sealed police report <a href="http://www.intouchweekly.com/posts/bombshell-duggar-police-report-jim-bob-duggar-didn-t-report-son-josh-s-alleged-sex-offenses-for-more-than-a-year-58906" target="_blank">obtained by <em>In Touch Weekly</em></a> that he sexually molested multiple underage girls when he was a teenager.</p> <p>Duggar, the eldest son of the reality TV family on TLC's <em>19 and Counting</em>, expressed regret for his actions <a href="https://www.facebook.com/duggarfamilyofficial/posts/653931128073873" target="_blank">in a statement on the Duggar family's Facebook page</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends. I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life.</p> </blockquote> <p>Josh's parents Jim Bob and and Michelle Duggar <a href="http://defamer.gawker.com/josh-duggar-accused-of-molesting-several-sisters-as-a-t-1706096839" target="_blank">reportedly knew</a> about the alleged sexual misconduct, which began in 2002, for more than a year before reporting it to the authorities. After the Springdale Police Department received an anonymous tip in 2006, they investigated, but Duggar was never charged with anything. You can read the partially redacted police report <a href="http://imgur.com/a/zqPMi#0" target="_blank">here</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Duggars <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/03/duggars-huckabee-santorum-2016" target="_blank">emerged</a> as political players for the social conservative right in 2007, when Jim Bob, a one-time state representative, endorsed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee for president. After the 2012 election, when the family backed Rick Santorum, Josh Duggar <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/05/21/josh-duggar-apologizes-resigns-from-family-research-council-amid-molestation-allegations/" target="_blank">catapulted</a> into conservative circles in Washington as the executive director of FRC Action.</p> <p>The family <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/01/rick-santorums-secret-weapon-duggars" target="_blank">remains</a> an influential force among social conservatives due to its <a href="http://www.newsweek.com/inside-duggar-familys-conservative-ideology-76547" target="_blank">pro-life views and strong Christian faith</a>. In December, Michelle Duggar <a href="http://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/archives/2014/08/18/michelle-duggar-and-the-family-council-try-to-torpedo-fayetteville-non-discrimination-ordinance-with-lies" target="_blank">pushed</a> for the repeal of a measure in Arkansas that would have prevented housing and employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.</p> <p>In May, Jim Bob and Michelle endorsed Huckabee, <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/duggar-family-deserts-rick-santorum-for-mike-huckabee-2015-5" target="_blank">calling him "a man of faith."</a> As of Thursday night, Jim Bob's endorsement is still on Huckabee's presidential campaign site. <em>Mother Jones</em> has reached out to the Huckabee camp for comment.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Jim%20Bob%20Duggar%20Endorsement%20Huckabee.png"><div class="caption">mikehuckabee.com</div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections The Right mike huckabee Fri, 22 May 2015 02:56:49 +0000 Edwin Rios 275706 at http://www.motherjones.com Could LA's $15 Minimum Wage Sweep the Nation? http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/05/how-15-minimum-wage-could-sweep-nation <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Tuesday, Los Angeles became the third major West Coast city to pass a $15 minimum wage ordinance. Though the law won't fully go into effect until 2020, it's a huge deal. LA is larger than San Francisco and Seattle, the two other $15-an-hour cities, combined. It also has a much larger contingent of low-wage workers. The ordinance will give a raise to an estimated 750,000 Angelenos, or about 46 percent of the city's workforce.</p> <p>LA's wage hike points to the potential for a major minimum wage boost to sweep the country. Although experts <a href="http://www.vox.com/2015/5/20/8631639/los-angeles-minimum-wage" target="_blank">disagree</a> <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/21/opinion/a-15-minimum-wage-bombshell-in-los-angeles.html" target="_blank">about</a> the LA measure's impact on growth and employment, the City Council passed it by a 14-to-1 margin. The $15 wage polls well in LA <a href="https://www.nelp.org/content/uploads/2015/03/Minimum-Wage-Poll-Memo-Jan-2015.pdf" target="_blank">and nationally</a>, despite a dearth of national politicians pushing for such a large increase. If organizers play their cards right, this suggests a $15 wage could gain traction in other cities.</p> <p>So how did it happen? The original proposal, after all, was a more modest one. The measure's backers attribute their success to a combination of grassroots and national organizing. The umbrella group leading the push, the Raise the Wage Coalition, includes more than 260 local organizations from labor, business, entertainment, and the civil rights movement. It marshaled <a href="http://economicrt.org/publication/los-angeles-rising/" target="_blank">economic studies</a> to justify a $15 wage and delivered more than 100,000 petition signatures in favor. But it also benefited from what organizers call "air support"&mdash;the national campaign to pressure Walmart and McDonald's into implementing a $15-an-hour base wage.</p> <p>"It created a narrative that made it really hard for council members to simply look past the realities of what hard-working people are experiencing," says Rusty Hicks, executive secretary treasurer of the LA County Federation of Labor. "The facts and campaign brought to bear in LA were in many ways only a next step in the move to address income inequality."</p> <p>The organizers are already eyeing other SoCal cities. "It is not our intention to just stop in LA," says Laphonza Butler, president of the Service Employees International Union in California and co-organizer, with Hicks, of Raise the Wage Coalition. "We need to raise the wage all across the region."</p> <p>The group's next most likely contenders are Pasadena and West Hollywood.</p></body></html> MoJo Corporations Labor Top Stories minimum wage Thu, 21 May 2015 20:46:40 +0000 Josh Harkinson 275681 at http://www.motherjones.com New York City Is Not the Bohemia You May Think It Is http://www.motherjones.com/contributor/2015/05/hey-nyu-graduates-we-found-a-place-for-you-to-apply-for-jobs-from-so-you-can-pay-off-your-student-debt <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=thWVcHVixF4C&amp;pg=RA1-PA262&amp;lpg=RA1-PA262&amp;dq=On+a+cold+winter%27s+night+in+January+1917,&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=f1WfYYFGdR&amp;sig=QeslCdMtGH9-8ycRTLKKgP8m4rc&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=uiFeVafSHfD8sASEtYMQ&amp;ved=0CB8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&amp;q=On%20a%20cold%20winter%27s%20night%20in%20January%201917%2C&amp;f=false" target="_blank">Greenwich Village, 1917</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>On a cold winter's night in January 1917, [socialist artists] mounted to the top of Washington Arch and strung up some balloons. [Gertrude Drick] then read aloud the document she and <a href="http://www.askart.com/artist/Charles_Frederick_Ellis/10016234/Charles_Frederick_Ellis.aspx" target="_blank">Ellis</a> had prepared, declaring the secession of Greenwich Village from the America of big business and small minds. They called on President Wilson to extend protection to their domain as one of the small nations, the "Free and Independent Republic of Washington Square."</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/copy-of-doi-greenwich-republic.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>"Declaration of Independence of the Greenwich Republic" </strong> John Sloan Manuscript Collection, Delaware Art Museum.</div> </div> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://ny.eater.com/2015/5/20/8631441/capital-one-opening-coffee-shop-meets-bank-concept-on-union-square" target="_blank">Greenwich Village, 2015:</a></p> <blockquote> <p><a href="http://ny.eater.com/2015/5/20/8631441/capital-one-opening-coffee-shop-meets-bank-concept-on-union-square" target="_blank">Capital One Opening Coffee-Shop-Meets-Bank Concept on Union Square</a></p> </blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Our savvy NYC &amp; SF Caf&eacute; Associates demo&rsquo;d mbl check deposits to on-the-go Savers. No paper cuts, no writer&rsquo;s cramp. <a href="http://t.co/NWhCb2hkCQ">pic.twitter.com/NWhCb2hkCQ</a></p> &mdash; Capital One 360 (@CapitalOne360) <a href="https://twitter.com/CapitalOne360/status/339516438861713409">May 28, 2013</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></blockquote> </blockquote> </blockquote></body></html> Contributor Ben's Thoughts Thu, 21 May 2015 18:50:08 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 275676 at http://www.motherjones.com The President of the Boy Scouts of America Just Endorsed Dropping the Ban on Gay Leaders http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/05/boys-scouts <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The president of Boy Scouts of America is <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/boy-scouts-leader-ban-gay-adults-sustainable-31208269#.VV4Qzqyn5P0.twitter" target="_blank">calling for an end</a> to the organization's ban on gay leaders, saying the "status quo in our movement's membership standards cannot be sustained." Robert Gates, who was speaking at the group's annual summit on Thursday, said the changes would not be made at the meeting, but indicated officials should look into revisions in the future.</p> <p>In Gates's remarks, the former defense secretary&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/22/us/boy-scouts-president-calls-for-end-to-ban-on-gay-leaders.html?smid=tw-bna&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">urged the organization</a> to "deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it be." His address, sure to <a href="https://twitter.com/DrewStoddard/status/601440765290512385" target="_blank">ruffle a few feathers</a>, stopped short of supporting gay rights outright. Instead, Gates said that the policy shift was necessary to keep the organization nationally relevant.</p> <p>"While our work won't be done until we see a full end to their ban on gay adults once and for all, today's announcement is a significant step in that direction," Zach Wahls, director for Equality, said in response to Thursday's announcement. "I'm proud to see Dr. Gates charting a course towards full equality in the BSA."</p> <p>In 2013, the Boy Scouts of America voted to allow openly <a href="http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a23825/boy-scouts-1014/?click=welcome-ad" target="_blank">gay scout</a>s&mdash;gay leaders however were not included in the changes. Just yesterday, the Girls Scouts of America double downed on the group's welcoming of <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/20/living/girl-scouts-welcomes-transgender-girls-feat/index.html" target="_blank">transgender girls.</a></p></body></html> Mixed Media Gay Rights Thu, 21 May 2015 18:14:35 +0000 Inae Oh 275671 at http://www.motherjones.com Republicans Hate Obamacare Even If They Like Their Own Obamacare Plans http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/republicans-hate-obamacare-even-if-they-their-own-obamacare-plans <!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://kff.org/health-reform/poll-finding/survey-of-non-group-health-insurance-enrollees-wave-2/" target="_blank">A new Kaiser poll</a> gives us an in-depth look at what people think about health insurance plans purchased through an Obamacare exchange. Some of the results are unsurprising: people like plans with low deductibles; most say it was easy to shop for a plan; and most were pretty satisfied with the plans they purchased. But unless I'm badly misreading something, there's one result that's pretty gobsmacking. First off, here's a chart showing basic satisfaction levels with Obamacare plans:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_kaiser_obamacare_satisfaction_q1_2015.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 15px 15px;"></p> <p>That's pretty good. Positive responses increased a bit from 72 percent to 74 percent. That compares very favorably with satisfaction levels toward employer plans. But now take a look at this chart that breaks down Obamacare favorability attitudes by party:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_kaiser_obamacare_party_breakdown_q1_2015.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 15px 15px;"></p> <p>This is crazy. This isn't a general survey of all Americans. It's a survey specifically of people who don't have group coverage. Most of them (probably more than two-thirds) have actually purchased Obamacare plans and therefore have personal experience with them, but favorability is nonetheless still driven mostly by party ID. You can buy an ACA plan on the marketplace, get a subsidy, and be happy with your plan&mdash;but if you're a Republican you <em>still</em> overwhelmingly hate Obamacare by 74-25 percent.</p> <p>Folks, that is hardcore.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Health Care Thu, 21 May 2015 17:17:00 +0000 Kevin Drum 275666 at http://www.motherjones.com This Story Maggie Gyllenhaal Just Told Perfectly Explains the Hollywood Sexism Complex http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/05/maggie-gyllenhaal-hollywood-ageism <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Maggie Gyllenhaal recently lost a film role because she was apparently "too old" to play the love interest of a 55-year-old man, the 37-year-old actress revealed in a new interview with <a href="http://www.thewrap.com/maggie-gyllenhaal-on-hollywood-ageism-i-was-told-37-is-too-old-for-a-55-year-old-love-interest/" target="_blank"><em>The Wrap.</em></a></p> <p>"There are things that are really disappointing about being an actress in Hollywood that surprise me all the time,&rdquo; Gyllenhall said. "I'm 37 and I was told recently I was too old to play the lover of a man who was 55. It was astonishing to me."</p> <p>While she declined to identify the project's name&mdash;because Gyllenhall is all class&mdash;she said she was eventually able to laugh off the rejection.&nbsp;</p> <p>"It made me feel bad, and then it made me feel angry, and then it made me laugh."</p> <p>Back in January, Gyllenhaal picked up a Golden Globe award for her performance in the BBC miniseries <em>The Honourable Woman</em>. During her acceptance speech, she stressed the importance of Hollywood <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/01/watch-maggie-gyllenhaal-just-gave-perfect-golden-globes-speech" target="_blank">embracing the roles of real women.</a></p> <p>"When I look around the room at the women who are here and I think about the performances that I've watched this year what I see actually are women who are sometimes powerful and sometimes not, sometimes sexy, sometimes not, sometimes honorable, sometimes not," she said onstage. "What I think is new is the wealth of roles for actual women in television and in film. That's what I think is revolutionary and evolutionary and it's what's turning me on."</p> <p>Despite Gyllenhaal's optimism, it sure looks like Hollywood is hell bent on keeping ageism securely intact.&nbsp;</p></body></html> Mixed Media Film and TV Media Sex and Gender Thu, 21 May 2015 16:46:14 +0000 Inae Oh 275651 at http://www.motherjones.com CNN Plans to Feature Peanut Gallery Debate as Warmup for Main Event http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/cnn-plans-feature-peanut-gallery-debate-warmup-main-event <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>CNN will be hosting the second Republican debate, and they've come up with a....unique way of dealing with the fact that there are just too damn many candidates. To handle the crowd, <a href="http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2015/05/cnn-sets-criteria-for-second-gop-debate-207470.html?hp=rc2_4" target="_blank">they're going to have two separate debates:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>"The first 10 candidates&nbsp;&mdash; ranked from highest to lowest in polling order from an average of all qualifying polls released between July 16 and September 10 who satisfy the criteria requirements ... will be invited to participate in 'Segment B' of the September 16, 2015 Republican Presidential Primary Debate," the network states in its candidate criteria. "Candidates who satisfy the criteria and achieve an average of at least 1 percent in three national polls, but are not ranked in the top 10 of polling order will <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_cnn_debate_stage.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">be invited to participate in 'Segment A' of the September 16, 2015 Republican Presidential Primary Debate."</p> </blockquote> <p>Did you get that? All the yokels&mdash;Carly Fiorina, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, etc.&mdash;will go on first. They'll be sort of the warm-up act. Then they'll get shuffled off the stage and the big guns will have prime time all to themselves. This is pretty humiliating for the also-rans, but presumably if they play by the rules they'll have a chance to move up, just like in English Premier League soccer. Perhaps Rick Perry will stumble and get relegated to the minor leagues for the next debate, while Jindal will knock everyone's socks off and get promoted to the show. I don't know if I'd quite call this "fun," but it would certainly make for some interesting office pools.</p> <p>The first debate, which is hosted by Fox, will feature none of this nonsense. The top ten candidates will be invited to the debate, and that's that. If you're outside the top ten, you can watch the debate on your big-screen TV at home. Or, if Fox is feeling generous, perhaps the sad sacks polling at the 1% level will be allowed to while away their time in the spin room, where they can try to buttonhole reporters and explain why they really should have been up on the stage. Maybe the saddest story will win a prize.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 21 May 2015 15:29:12 +0000 Kevin Drum 275656 at http://www.motherjones.com Job-Seeker Hillary Clinton Posts Resume on LinkedIn http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/05/area-woman-looking-employment <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Have you heard the news? Hillary Clinton is on the hunt for a new gig.</p> <p>And in an effort to attract prospective employers, the former secretary of state just joined <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/hillaryclinton" target="_blank">LinkedIn with her very own profile</a>. She even dressed up her page with an article on how to "jump-start small business."&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/clintonlinkedin.png"></div> <p>Enjoy the imminent deluge of spammy messages, Hillary!&nbsp;Everyone deserves a distraction from <a href="http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/05/22/us/politics/first-batch-of-hillary-clinton-emails-captures-concerns-over-libya.html?_r=2&amp;referrer=" target="_blank">"sensitive but unclassified"</a> emails.</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Hillary Clinton Tech Thu, 21 May 2015 14:38:28 +0000 Inae Oh 275641 at http://www.motherjones.com By About 2020, We'll Probably Finally Know Whether a $15 Minimum Wage Is a Good Idea http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/2020-or-so-well-probably-finally-know-whether-15-minimum-wage-good-idea <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>So my near neighbor of Los Angeles is poised to raise the minimum wage to $15. How should we think of that?</p> <p>Personally, I'm thrilled. Not because I think it's a slam-dunk good idea, but because along with Seattle and San Francisco it will give us a great set of natural experiments to figure out what happens when you raise the minimum wage a lot. We can argue all we want; we can extrapolate from other countries; and we can create complex Greek-letter models to predict the effects&mdash;but we can't <em>know</em> until someone actually does it.</p> <p>So what do I think will happen? Several things:</p> <p>In the tradeable sector, such as clothing piece work and agriculture, the results are very likely to be devastating. Luckily, LA doesn't have much agriculture left, but it <em>does</em> have a lot of apparel manufacture. That could evaporate completely (worst case) or <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_los_angeles_15_minimum_wage.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">perhaps migrate just across the borders into Ventura, San Bernardino, and other nearby counties. Heavier manufacturing will likely be unaffected since most workers already make more than $15.</p> <p>In the food sector, people still need to eat, and they need to eat in Los Angeles. So there will probably be little damage there from outside competition. However, the higher minimum wage will almost certainly increase the incentive for fast food places to try to automate further and cut back on jobs. How many jobs this will affect is entirely speculative at this point.</p> <p>Other service industries, including everything from nail salons to education to health care will probably not be affected much. They pretty much have to stay in place in order to serve their local clientele, so they'll just raise wages and pass the higher prices on to customers.</p> <p>Likewise, retail, real estate, the arts, and professional services probably won't be affected too much. Retail has no place to go (though they might be able to automate some jobs away) while the others mostly pay more than $15 already. The hotel industry, by contrast, could easily become less competitive for convention business and end up shedding jobs.</p> <p>On the bright side, of course, a large number of low-income workers will see their wages rise. On the less bright side, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/05/19/the-best-indication-of-what-a-federal-12-minimum-wage-could-mean-for-poor-places-comes-from-puerto-rico/" target="_blank">the experience of Puerto Rico</a> suggests that (a) employment losses could be as high as 9 percent, and (b) lots of low-wage workers will flee to other places.</p> <p>So if I had to guess, I'd say that Los Angeles will see (a) less poverty for low-wage workers who keep their jobs, and (b) higher prices for middle-class consumers, who will end up paying for the minimum wage hike. Since the poor spend more than the middle-class, this could be a net stimulus for the LA economy. On the downside, we're also pretty likely to see significant job losses. In other words, I agree with Adam Ozimek that we should not treat this as terra incognita <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/modeledbehavior/2015/05/20/uncertainty-about-15-minimum-wages-is-not-a-good-thing/" target="_blank">just because it's never been done before:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>It&rsquo;s true that the farther we go out of the historical sample, the more uncertain we are about the magnitude of the impact. But I think minimum wage advocates are taking the wrong message from this. After all, a $100 minimum wage would also be out of sample and subject to the same &ldquo;we have no clue&rdquo; and &ldquo;can&rsquo;t be on solid ground&rdquo; statements from Dube and Neumark. But this uncertainty is all in the direction of more job losses. <strong>When you enter unprecedented minimum wage hike territory your uncertainty goes up, but so undeniably does your risk of job losses.</strong> The idea that a minimum wage hike being of an unprecedented magnitude creates neutral uncertainty is like someone drinking more beer than they ever have just being uncertain about what it will do to their driving ability.</p> </blockquote> <p>So we'll see. My own guess is that $15 is too high. I would have supported something in the $10-12 range for a city as large and basically prosperous as Los Angeles. But $15? There's just too much uncertainty in a number that big, and the uncertainty almost all points in the direction of significant job losses.</p> <p>But I could be wrong! We now have three cities that are jumping into the deep end of the minimum wage debate, and that will eventually tell us more than all the speculation in the world combined. Fasten your seat belts.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 21 May 2015 14:23:46 +0000 Kevin Drum 275646 at http://www.motherjones.com School Lunches Just Got Way Better in These 6 Cities (and It's Not the Food) http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/05/school-lunches-just-got-way-better-these-major-school-districts <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>School lunches may <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/07/pity-poor-school-food-professional" target="_blank">be healthier</a> than when you were a kid, but the wasteful and polluting materials that cafeterias serve them on have actually gotten worse. In an effort to save on labor and equipment costs, many schools <a href="http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/baltsun/offers.html?url=%2Fbaltsun%2Fdoc%2F406806979.html%3FFMT%3DFT%26FMTS%3DABS%3AFT%26type%3Dcurrent%26date%3DAug%2B26%252C%2B1993%26author%3DNguyen%252C%2BLan%26pub%3DThe%2BSun%26edition%3D%26startpage%3D%26desc%3DSchool%2Bboard%2Burged%2Bto%2Bbuy%2Bdisposable%2Blunch%2Btrays%2BWashables%2Bare%2Btoo%2Bcostly%252C%2Breport%2Bsays" target="_blank">switched</a> from washable trays to disposable foam ones over the past couple of decades. But this trend is now beginning to change.</p> <p>The school districts of six major cities&mdash;New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, and Orlando&mdash; <a href="http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/mizeman/big_cities_once_again_step_up.html" target="_blank">announced today</a> that they will stop using polystyrene foam trays, and begin serving lunch on compostable plates.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.urbanschoolfoodalliance.org/" target="_blank">Urban School Food Alliance</a>, which counts the country's largest school districts among its members, coordinated the change after developing an affordable compostable plate made from recycled newspaper that costs just a penny more than its foam counterpart.</p> <p>"Shifting from polystyrene trays to compostable plates will allow these cities to dramatically slash waste sent to landfills, reduce plastics pollution in our communities and oceans, and create valuable compost that can be re-used on our farms," said Mark Izeman, a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, which partners with the Alliance.</p> <p>This shift to compostable plates by more than <a href="http://www.urbanschoolfoodalliance.org/#section-the-numbers" target="_blank">4,000</a> schools will <a href="http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/mbrown/serving_up_a_better_school_pla.html" target="_blank">save</a> an estimated 225 million petroleum-based plastic trays from going into landfill each year.</p> <p>What's next? The Alliance hopes to introduce compostable cutlery by next school year.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/FINAL.CompostablePlateGraphic.NRDC_.Alliance.5.20.15.jpg" style="height: 473px; width: 630px;"></div> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> Blue Marble Education Food and Ag Thu, 21 May 2015 10:00:12 +0000 Luke Whelan 275606 at http://www.motherjones.com This New Study Shows Sexual Assault on College Campuses Has Reached "Epidemic" Levels http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/05/campus-sexual-assault-study <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A new study published online by the <a href="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2015/images/05/20/carey_jah_proof.pdf" target="_blank"><em>Journal of Adolescent Health</em></a> suggests college sexual assault may be far more prevalent than previously believed. The study, titled "Incapacitated and Forcible Rape of College Women: Prevalence Across the First Year," which focused on first-year female students at one New York college, attempted to measure how frequently rape or attempted rape occurred by having female students fill out surveys throughout their freshman year.</p> <p>Of the 483 women who completed the questionnaires,&nbsp;18.6 percent reported instances of attempted rape. Incidences of rape were significantly higher when alcohol or drugs were involved.</p> <p>"Sexual violence on campus has reached epidemic levels," the study's authors wrote. "During their first year in college, one in seven women will have experienced incapacitated assault or rape and nearly one in 10 will have experienced forcible assault or rape. Interventions to reduce sexual violence on campus are urgently needed."</p> <p>Past studies have posted similar rates. One study reported <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/12/campus-sexual-assault-rape-stats-charts" target="_blank">one in five women suffering from some form of sexual violence during their college careers.&nbsp;</a> What is striking about these new findings is that they indicate high levels of such sexual assault in just a single year and early on in a woman's college experience.</p> <p>As Jesse Singal at the <a href="http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2015/05/what-new-survey-can-tell-about-rape.html" target="_blank"><em>Science of Us</em></a> blog notes, scientifically measuring the frequency of sexual violence is a complex and difficult task: What one person considers to be sexual assault someone else might not.&nbsp; In addition, this latest study only focused on one campus&mdash;making it impossible to generalize on a national scale.</p> <p>But as recent events have shown, sexual violence on college campuses is a persistent problem. For decades, conservatives have resisted calls for campuses to better protect women by dismissing the issue. With the fallout over <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/media/2014/12/what-rolling-stone-owes-readers-jackie-and-victims-everywhere" target="_blank"><em>Rolling Stone</em>'s botched campus rape</a> investigation only fueling detractors, it's especially important for studies like the one published by the <em>Journal of Adolescent Health</em> to provide solid data to legitimize the problem so that potential assaults might be avoided.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Crime and Justice Education Sex and Gender Wed, 20 May 2015 20:19:37 +0000 Inae Oh 275591 at http://www.motherjones.com Rand Paul's Latest Fundraiser Now Underway http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/rand-pauls-latest-fundraiser-now-underway <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I see from the intertubes that Sen. Rand Paul has <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/live/2015/may/20/rand-paul-senate-filibuster-nsa-spying-patriot-act-live" target="_blank">begun another talking filibuster.</a> This time it's to protest <em>any</em> legislation that extends the NSA's ability to access metadata from phone calls, even if the data is held by <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_rand_paul_filibuster_0.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">the phone companies and available only by court order. Paul's filibuster will annoy a lot of people, but in the end I think I agree, for once, <a href="http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-rand-paul-filibuster-20150520-story.html#page=1" target="_blank">with John McCain:</a> "He'll get his headline and then we'll move on."</p> <p>That's pretty much the lay of the land. Paul will chew up some floor time, which might end up eating into Memorial Day weekend for the Senate, but since virtually no one agrees with his position, it's simply not going to accomplish anything. I'm even a little skeptical about the headlines. Frankly, once you've done the Jimmy Stewart bit once, its entertainment value starts to plummet.</p> <p>On the other hand, Paul seems to be mostly treating this as another great fundraising opportunity, and it might very well be. But that's probably all it will be.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 20 May 2015 19:17:37 +0000 Kevin Drum 275601 at http://www.motherjones.com The Science of Why New York's Bagels Taste So Damn Good http://www.motherjones.com/contributor/2015/05/nyc-bagels-best <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>MANHATTAN&mdash;New York City has the best bagels in America. This is a truth handed down from generation to generation. Why are the bagels here better than the bagels in Boston, Boise, Birmingham, or even cities that begin with letters other than B? Legend has it that it has something to do with the water that's piped down here from upstate. That's never really felt right. I'm not a water scientist but it just seems like some nonsense that sounds like it could be true so what the hell, sure, it's true! Doctor Oz probably credits NY bagels to the water.</p> <p>So, anyway, some cats from the A<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/ACSReactions" target="_blank">merican Chemical Society</a> got together and ran some tests and spoke to some chefs and concluded that indeed it's not the magical properties of the Empire State's water supply that makes NYC bagels unique, but rather the unique competence of NYC bakers. Yes, the softness of the water plays a role but not an integral one. The baking method used in New York is just better than the baking method bakers in other cities use&mdash;but there is no reason why those bakers couldn't start using the NYC method (with some slight modifications), or so <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrjLz207SzY" target="_blank">sayeth the video</a>.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MrjLz207SzY" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Is this video accurate? I have no idea. I am not a professor of baked goods. I<a href="http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/chemistry-secret-to-nyc-bagels-water/" target="_blank">t sounds maybe reasonable to me. </a>It sort of makes sense, right? Because, yeah, New York has the best bagels but I've certainly had good bagels other places. But those bagels are normally the exception to the bagel culture of the area. I've definitely had one or two okay bagels in LA. Maybe those bakers are using the NY method? I don't know. What do you think?</p></body></html> Contributor Ben's Thoughts Wed, 20 May 2015 19:11:11 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 275596 at http://www.motherjones.com Eight Good Lessons About Health Care — Plus a Ninth http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/eight-good-lessons-about-health-care-%E2%80%94-plus-ninth <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Over at Vox today, Sarah Kliff and Julia Belluz have a list of <a href="http://www.vox.com/2015/5/20/8621527/health-tips-reporter" target="_blank">eight things they now do differently</a> after reporting on health care for a combined decade between them. It's a great list, and unless I missed something I think I agree with every word on it. Even item #3, which has been, um, a bit of a challenge for me over the past six months.</p> <p>Of course, as with all collections of advice, even good ones, this one has an underlying ninth item: <em>don't be an idiot</em>. Sometimes guidelines need to be broken. But they're still good to keep in mind.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 20 May 2015 17:20:02 +0000 Kevin Drum 275581 at http://www.motherjones.com This Is What Osama bin Laden Liked to Read http://www.motherjones.com/contributor/2015/05/you-know-who-else-liked-to-read <!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.odni.gov/index.php/newsroom/press-releases/210-press-releases-2015/1199-usama-bin-ladin-document-release" target="_blank">Today, the Director of National Intelligence released a bunch of the documents</a> US forces recovered from Osama bin Laden's compound during the&nbsp; raid in Abbottabad. The inventory of the declassified materials provides a glimpse into what were OBL's reading habits. Were there novels of Nick Hornby and Ian McEwan? Maybe a dog-eared copy of Donna Tartt's <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Secret_History" target="_blank"><em>The Secret History</em></a>? Or a marked up first edition of Julia Phillip's infamous Hollywood tell-all <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You%27ll_Never_Eat_Lunch_in_This_Town_Again" target="_blank"><em>You'll Never Eat Lunch In This Town Again</em></a>?</p> <p>No, you will be unsurprised to learn, there were not.</p> <p>SPOILER ALERT: Bin Laden liked to read things about al-Qaeda. Things with such sexy sundry titles as &ldquo;Prospects for al-Qaeda&rdquo; and "Al-Qaeda and the Internet: The Dangers of &lsquo;Cyberplanning&rsquo;."</p> <p>Two fun ones though: <em>Popular Science</em>'s "Best Innovations of the Year" and an article in <em>TIME</em> about AOL's troubles, both of which sort of seem like the reading materials one might find in the waiting room to hell.</p> <p>In the section titled "Documents probably used by other compound residents" we find some of the bin Laden children's periodicals: art stuff, Guinness Book of World Records, video game instruction manuals, a sports nutrition guide, and a suicide prevention manual entitled "Is It the Heart You Are Asking? by Dr. Islam Sobhi al-Mazeny.</p> <p>Pretty bleak!</p> <p>Here's the full list of "media articles" from Bin Laden's bookshelf, courtesy of the <a href="http://www.odni.gov/index.php/resources/bin-laden-bookshelf?start=11" target="_blank">Office of the Director of National Intelligence</a>. You should probably commit the names of some of them to memory so you'll have something interesting to talk about at parties.</p> <blockquote> <p>Business Week (19 Feb 2007 issue)</p> <p>Doctrine: Journal of General Military Review, Issue 3</p> <p>Foreign Policy in Focus, &ldquo;Prospects for al-Qaeda&rdquo; (24 Jan 2003)</p> <p>Foreign Policy (Jan-Feb 2008)</p> <p>Foreign Policy (March-Apr 2008)</p> <p>Foreign Policy (May-June 2008)</p> <p>Foreign Policy (Nov-Dec 2008)</p> <p>Foreign Policy (Sept-Oct 2008)</p> <p>Heft, &ldquo;The Taliban, al-Qaeda, and the Determination of Illegal Combatants,&rdquo; Issue 4 (2002)</p> <p>&ldquo;The Impact of the War in Iraq on Islamist Groups and the Culture of Global Jihad,&rdquo; by Reuven Paz, Project for the Research of Islamist Movements (2004)</p> <p>International News, &ldquo;Governments&rsquo; Successful Measures against Terrorism&rdquo; (21 Aug 2009)</p> <p>Journal of International Security Affairs, &ldquo;Future Terrorism, Mutant Jihads&rdquo; by Walid Phares</p> <p>Los Angeles Times, &ldquo;Is al-Qaeda Just Bush&rsquo;s Boogeyman? (11 Jan 2005)</p> <p>Middle East Policy, &ldquo;Terrorist Recruitment and Radicalization in Saudi Arabia&rdquo; (Winter 2006)</p> <p>Military Review, &ldquo;Changing the Army for Counterinsurgency Operations&rdquo; (Nov-Dec 2005)</p> <p>Newsweek, part of an article on an attack within Israel</p> <p>Newsweek, part of an article on President Bush&rsquo;s business practices prior to his terms as President</p> <p>Newsweek, part of an article on hawks and doves on Iraq within the Bush Administration</p> <p>Newsweek, quotes column (unknown issue, but apparently from the years of the Bush Administration)</p> <p>Osprey corporate advertisement featuring U.S. military troops rappelling from a helicopter</p> <p>Parameters, &ldquo;Al-Qaeda and the Internet: The Dangers of &lsquo;Cyberplanning&rsquo;,&rdquo; Timothy L. Thomas (Spring 2003)</p> <p>Parameters, &ldquo;The Origins of al-Qaeda&rsquo;s Ideology and Implications for U.S. Strategy,&rdquo; by Christopher Henzel (Spring 2005)</p> <p>Popular Science, &ldquo;Best Innovations of the Year Issue&rdquo; (Dec 2010)</p> <p>&ldquo;Pushing the Prize Up , A Few Notes on Al-Qaeda&rsquo;s Reward Structure and the Choice of Casualties,&rdquo; by Raul Caruso and Andrea Locatelli</p> <p>&ldquo;Studi Politico-Strategici: An Introduction to Unconventional Warfare,&rdquo; by Joseph Gagliano</p> <p>Time, part of an article on a dive of America Online&rsquo;s stock</p> <p>Tulsa World article on criminal charges against David Coleman Headley</p> <p>U.S. News and World Report (fragment, issue unknown)</p> <p>Washington Quarterly, &ldquo;Counterterrorism after al-Qaeda&rdquo; by Paul Pillar (Summer 2004)</p> <p>Washington Quarterly, &ldquo;The Post-Madrid Face of al-Qaeda,&rdquo; by Rohan Gunaratna (Summer 2004)</p> <p>Washingtonian Magazine profile of John Esposito (Jan 2005)</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.odni.gov/index.php/resources/bin-laden-bookshelf?start=11" target="_blank">"Documents probably used by other compound residents":</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Art Education: The Journal of National Art Education Association, &ldquo;Islamic Art as an Educational Tool about the Teaching of Islam&rdquo; by Fayeq S. Oweiss (March 2002)</p> <p>Arabic Calligraphy Workshop by Fayeq S. Oweiss</p> <p>Published Work Sample from Fayeq S. Oweiss (2004)</p> <p>Resume for Fayeq S. Oweiss, Ph.D. (2006)</p> <p>Delta Force Extreme 2 Videogame Guide</p> <p>Game Spot Videogame Guide</p> <p>Grappler&rsquo;s Guide to Sports Nutrition by John Berardi and Michael Fry</p> <p>Guinness Book of World Records Children&rsquo;s Edition 2008 (scans of several pages from)</p> <p>Is It the Heart You Are Asking? by Dr. Islam Sobhi al-Mazeny (suicide prevention guide)</p> <p>Silkscreening Instructions</p> </blockquote></body></html> Contributor Wed, 20 May 2015 17:00:50 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 275561 at http://www.motherjones.com Here's What Osama bin Laden Wrote About Climate Change http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/05/read-bin-ladens-thoughts-climate-change <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Wednesday morning, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a trove of newly declassified documents discovered during the 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden's compound. Among the many letters, videos, and audio recordings <a href="http://www.odni.gov/files/documents/ubl/english/Letter%20Implications%20of%20Climate%20Change.pdf" target="_blank">is</a> an undated document apparently written by bin Laden discussing the "massive consequences" of climate change, a phenomenon he describes as having more victims than wars.</p> <p>The newly released document is <a href="http://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCATRE69028P20101001?sp=true" target="_blank">very similar </a>in content and language to a recording released in 2010, in which the Al Qaeda leader expounded on climate change and criticized the international community's lackluster relief efforts in response to flooding in Pakistan. The speech, about 11 minutes in length, was accompanied by a video compilation that included images of natural disasters and Bin Laden.</p> <p>In the document, Bin Laden calls attention to the fate of Pakistani children, who, he says, had been "left in the open, without a suitable living environment, including good drinking water, which has exposed them to dehydration, dangerous diseases and higher death rates." He also laments that "countries are annually spending 100 thousand million euros on their armies" while failing to address the humanitarian crisis in Pakistan.</p> <p>This was not the only time Bin Laden spoke about climate change. In a <a href="https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2015-03-25/bureaucracy-terror" target="_blank">different letter</a> between Bin Laden and senior Al Qaeda leaders&mdash;also seized during the 2011 raid and written about by <em>Foreign Affairs</em> in March&mdash;Bin Laden remarked on a study about climate change and asked his associates to send it <em>Al Jazeera. </em>In 2010, <em>Al Jazeera</em> <a href="http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2010/01/20101277383676587.html" target="_blank">obtained</a> an audio recording of Bin Laden criticizing the "industrial states," the United States among them, for contributing to climate change.</p> <p>Read the full text of the undated letter below:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div id="DV-viewer-2084350-letter-implications-of-climate-change" class="DV-container"></div> <script src="//s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/viewer/loader.js"></script><script> DV.load("//www.documentcloud.org/documents/2084350-letter-implications-of-climate-change.js", { width: 630, height: 354, sidebar: false, container: "#DV-viewer-2084350-letter-implications-of-climate-change" }); </script><noscript> <a href="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/2084350/letter-implications-of-climate-change.pdf">Letter Implications of Climate Change (PDF)</a> <br><a href="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/2084350/letter-implications-of-climate-change.txt">Letter Implications of Climate Change (Text)</a> </noscript></body></html> MoJo Climate Change Climate Desk Foreign Policy International Iraq Osama Bin Laden Wed, 20 May 2015 16:59:14 +0000 Jenna McLaughlin 275571 at http://www.motherjones.com Big Banks Plead Guilty to Collusion, But Fines are Pocket Change http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/big-banks-plead-guilty-collusion-fines-are-pocket-change <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Five of the planet's biggest banks have finally been forced to plead guilty to <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/21/business/dealbook/5-big-banks-to-pay-billions-and-plead-guilty-in-currency-and-interest-rate-cases.html?hp&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;module=first-column-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news" target="_blank">collusion charges in the foreign exchange market:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The Justice Department forced four of the banks &mdash; Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland &mdash; to plead guilty to antitrust violations in the foreign exchange market as part of a scheme that padded the banks&rsquo; profits and enriched the traders who carried out the plot....Underscoring the collusive nature of their contact, which often occurred in online chat rooms, <strong>one group of traders called themselves &ldquo;the cartel,&rdquo;</strong> an invitation-only club where stakes were so high that a newcomer was warned, &ldquo;Mess this up and sleep with one eye open.&rdquo; To carry out the scheme, one trader would typically build a huge position in a currency and then unload it at a <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_banks_foreign_exchange_collusion_0.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">crucial moment, hoping to move prices. Traders at the other banks agreed to, as New York State&rsquo;s financial regulator put it, <strong>&ldquo;stay out of each other&rsquo;s way.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>....The guilty pleas, which the banks are expected to enter in federal court later on Wednesday, represent a first in a financial industry that has been dogged by numerous scandals and investigations since the 2008 financial crisis. Until now, banks have either had their biggest banking units or small subsidiaries plead guilty.</p> <p>....As part of the criminal deal with the Justice Department, a fifth bank, UBS, will plead guilty to manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor, a benchmark rate that underpins the cost of trillions of dollars in credit cards and other loans.</p> </blockquote> <p>The total fine is about $5 billion, and it's about damn time this happened. Unfortunately, I assume that a billion dollars each is basically pocket change that's already been fully reserved on their balance sheets. Needless to say, not a single dime of this will hit the actual people running the banks, who couldn't possibly be expected to know that any of this stuff was going on. They were too busy drinking their lunches and remodeling their corner offices to know what a few rogue traders on the 23rd floor were doing. The <em>Times</em> confirms that life will go on as usual:</p> <blockquote> <p>For the banks, though, <strong>life as a felon is likely to carry more symbolic shame than practical problems.</strong> Although they could be technically barred by American regulators from managing mutual funds or corporate pension plans or perform certain other securities activities, the banks have obtained waivers from the Securities and Exchange Commission that will allow them to conduct business as usual. In fact, the cases were not announced until after the S.E.C. had time to act.</p> </blockquote> <p>It's good to be king.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 20 May 2015 15:43:47 +0000 Kevin Drum 275566 at http://www.motherjones.com Michelle Obama Can Kick Your Ass http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/05/michelle-obama-can-kick-your-ass <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Feeling pleased with your morning run or cardio&nbsp;stroll? Well here's a reminder that Michelle Obama, who was already likely to be crushing you in most&nbsp;parts of your life, rules&nbsp;when it comes to the&nbsp;exercise game. &nbsp;</p> <p>In a new video posted to her <a href="https://twitter.com/FLOTUS/status/600837307919302656" target="_blank">@FLOTUS account</a>, the first lady responded to the president's <a href="https://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/598921453338136576" target="_blank">#GimmeFive challenge</a> by showing off her fierce workout skills&mdash;boxing, lifting, and&nbsp;jumping rope.&nbsp;</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Hey, <a href="https://twitter.com/POTUS">@POTUS</a>! This is how you <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GimmeFive?src=hash">#GimmeFive</a>, FLOTUS-style&hellip; <a href="https://t.co/YF8nEtjUIA">https://t.co/YF8nEtjUIA</a></p> &mdash; The First Lady (@FLOTUS) <a href="https://twitter.com/FLOTUS/status/600837307919302656">May 20, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>So thanks for<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/01/21/michelle-obama-dunks-on-lebron-james-video/" target="_blank"> the assist Lebron</a>, but this glimpse into Obama's workout proves once again the first lady can hold court all on her own.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Wed, 20 May 2015 15:32:19 +0000 Inae Oh 275551 at http://www.motherjones.com The Truth About How Obama Has Handled the Pacific Trade Deal http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/obama-leadership-trans-pacific-partnership-tpp <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><em>While Kevin Drum is <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/04/housekeeping-note" target="_blank">focused on getting better</a>, we've invited some of the remarkable writers and thinkers who have traded links and ideas with him from Blogosphere 1.0 to this day to contribute posts and keep the conversation going. Today we're honored to present a post from <a href="https://twitter.com/dandrezner" target="_blank">Daniel Drezner</a>.</em></p> <p>One of the enduring memes of the Obama administration has been the notion that the president is a lousy politician. One of the things that Bill Clinton and George W. Bush had in common is that they knew how to schmooze. Obama, on the other hand, <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/obama-and-world-leaders-2015-3" target="_blank">does not have any close friendships on the international stage</a>, nor is he particularly tight with <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/11/obama-congressional-gridlock_n_6451466.html" target="_blank">Republican</a> or <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/19/us/aloof-obama-is-frustrating-his-own-party.html?_r=0" target="_blank">Democrat</a> members of Congress. Indeed, this has been a sufficiently common lament for someone to write "<a href="http://www.thewire.com/politics/2014/08/a-brief-history-of-president-obama-not-having-any-friends/378761/" target="_blank">A Brief History of President Obama Not Having Any Friends</a>" last year.</p> <p>So let's stipulate that the president is a cold fish. What remains contested is whether this matters in terms of getting things done. There are DC insiders who argue that personal relationships and one-on-one politicking really do matter. These are the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/01/opinion/dowd-bottoms-up-lame-duck.html?ref=maureendowd" target="_blank">pundits</a> who tend to <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-on-ferguson-obama-is-mostly-thoughts-and-little-action/2014/12/01/f3decf9e-79aa-11e4-b821-503cc7efed9e_story.html" target="_blank">bemoan presidential passivity</a> and write "<a href="http://www.realclearpolitics.com/2013/03/10/why_won039t_obama_lead_303613.html" target="_blank">Why won't Obama lead</a>?" ledes and ask why Barack Obama doesn't drink more whiskey with Mitch McConnell or play more golf with John Boehner. And then there are <a href="http://themonkeycage.org/2012/11/26/dinner-wont-do-it/" target="_blank">structuralists</a> who argue that what really matters are the separation of powers written into the Constitution and the <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/05/obama-leadership-and-magical-thinking.html" target="_blank">incentive of opposition parties</a> to, you know, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/05/03/politics-is-not-here-to-please-you/" target="_blank">oppose the president's policies</a>.</p> <p>Last week's machinations over trade promotion authority (TPA) regarding the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) will not definitively settle this debate, but they did offer a few data points that suggest the relative merits of each side of this debate.</p> <p>First, Senate Majority Leader <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/14/us/politics/mcconnell-siding-with-obama-on-trade-deal-describes-unlikely-alliance.html?_r=0" target="_blank">Mitch McConnell gave a delightfully blunt interview</a> to the <em>New York Times</em>' John Harwood. On TPA/TPP, McConnell and most of the Senate Republicans are working with Obama, which puts him in strange territory. To explain this to Harwood, McConnell flatly debunked the notion that Obama would have accomplished more in the GOP-controlled Congress if only he'd been more sociable with Republican members of Congress:</p> <blockquote> <p>In the caricature of how Washington works, Mr. McConnell and other congressional Republicans were supposed to bond with Mr. Obama at a so-called bourbon summit meeting, as though a soothing, generous pour would bring them together.</p> <p>It has never happened&mdash;which, as far as Mr. McConnell is concerned, counts for exactly zero.</p> <p>"It's all good stuff for you all to write, but it has no effect on policy," Mr. McConnell said. He dismissed "press talk" that social outreach could bridge the deep ideological and partisan divisions of 21st-century American politics.</p> <p><strong>"It wouldn't make any difference," </strong>he concluded. <strong>"Look, it's a business." </strong>(emphasis added)</p> </blockquote> <p>And that sound you just heard was the combined egos of the "why can't Obama lead" crowd visibly deflating.</p> <p>McConnell's <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=au0zM3I_p3w" target="_blank">Hyman Roth-like</a> answer would seem to validate the structuralist position of the president's ability to get legislation passed&mdash;at least when it comes to dealing with the opposition party.</p> <p>When it comes to dealing with his own party, however, I'm not sure that the structuralists can claim victory. One could argue that Democrats are just as constrained on trade as Republicans because of their base's public opinion, but <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2015/05/13/how-trade-affects-u-s-elections/" target="_blank">I don't think it's really that simple</a>.</p> <p>There were a lot of things going on in last Tuesday's initial failure of TPA to pass the Senate, including genuine policy differences between Obama and elements of the progressive movement. But <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/12/us-usa-congress-trade-vote-idUSKBN0NX2R620150512?mod=related&amp;channelName=politicsNews" target="_blank">as Reuters noted</a>, at least part of it was Obama's alienation of Senate Democrats:</p> <blockquote> <p>As for Obama, he may have hurt his chances with Democrats by minimizing concerns about trade's impact on labor, the environment and regulations, and his explicit criticism of the anti-trade stance of leading liberal Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren.</p> <p>"The president was disrespectful to her," Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown told reporters. "When he said that a number of us, not just Senator Warren, don't know what we're talking about...he shouldn't have." Brown opposes the fast-track bill.</p> </blockquote> <p>Indeed, there has been <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-warren-feud-breaks-open-as-trade-legislation-blocked-by-democrats/2015/05/12/9902f880-f8bb-11e4-9030-b4732caefe81_story.html" target="_blank">a lot of Democrat grumbling</a> about <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/09/business/nike-to-create-jobs-if-trans-pacific-partnership-is-approved.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&amp;smprod=nytcore-ipad&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">Obama's</a> <a href="https://www.yahoo.com/politics/why-obama-is-happy-to-fight-elizabeth-warren-on-118537612596.html?soc_src=unv-sh&amp;soc_trk=tw" target="_blank">rhetorical</a> jabs at Warren and other anti-TPP Democrats, to the point where <a href="https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=5&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CDoQFjAE&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fthehill.com%2Fblogs%2Fblog-briefing-room%2Fnews%2F241820-democratic-senator-sees-sexism-in-obama-remarks-on-warren&amp;ei=i2JZVfTYCpLkgwT_9YGYDQ&amp;usg=AFQjCNGHJIzoNuYA3oLVmYoZ7tMpKjZLDA&amp;sig2=NIXZkks69q34kJJOQZsVcg&amp;bvm=bv.93564037,d.eXY" target="_blank">Sherrod Brown accused Obama of sexism</a>.</p> <p>Of course, twenty-four hours later, a deal had been struck for a vote on TPA in the Senate. <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2015/05/obama-trans-pacific-partnership-trade-deal-117921.html#ixzz3a47nef6f" target="_blank">If Edward Isaac-Dovere and Burgess Everett's <em>Politico</em> recap</a> is accurate, then Presidential Leadership (TM) played a pivotal role in the process:</p> <blockquote> <p>The White House named names. And not 24 hours later, President Barack Obama and his aides had a deal to get fast-track back on track...</p> <p>Obama aides strategically put out word to reporters of the meeting, even before senators had arrived at the White House. Shortly after the meeting ended, they released the list: the seven Democrats who'd voted for fast-track in committee, plus Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.). A few hours before, every Senate Democrat except Tom Carper of Delaware had publicly rebuked his trade effort. Now the White House put on the spot the other nine who had either publicly or privately indicated they would support the underlying fast-track and Trade Adjustment Assistance package, but who voted against opening debate.</p> <p>In other words, the president had more than enough votes just in the room to get the trade bill moving. According to senators who were there, the president took his time, spending 90 minutes to explain why they needed to get their act together.</p> </blockquote> <p>Now this <em>does </em>sound like some Old Time-y Presidential leadership, and so maybe, when it comes to managing his own party, there is something to the "Why can't Obama lead?" meme.</p> <p>But not a lot. My colleague <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2015/05/13/fast-track-may-not-be-dead-after-all/" target="_blank">Greg Sargent's take</a> suggests that last Tuesday's vote was more about Reid/McConnell dynamics than anything to do with Obama. And even the close of <em>Politico</em>'s story:</p> <blockquote> <p>Then again, some Senate Democrats said this all would have been resolved even without Obama&mdash;though maybe not in time for the House to take up the bill in June, keeping it on track to help Obama seal the Trans-Pacific Partnership with 12 Pacific Rim countries.</p> <p>"This was going to end up there anyway," Nelson said. "But I would say the meeting with the president accelerated the discussion."</p> </blockquote> <p>So, to sum up: Most of the time, the structuralists are mostly right when it comes to presidents exercising leadership in pushing legislation through Congress. But they're not completely right. On the margins, when dealing with one's own party, maybe presidential leadership matters just a wee bit.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Congress Corporations Foreign Policy International Labor Top Stories Wed, 20 May 2015 13:00:08 +0000 Daniel Drezner 275526 at http://www.motherjones.com