Blogs | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en Mitt Romney Takes Another Crack at Explaining the 47 Percent <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>In a recent interview with Mark Leibovich, Mitt Romney offered up a new excuse for foolishly venting to a supporter during the 2012 campaign about the perfidy of the "47 percent" (i.e., the folks who take no personal responsibility for <iframe align="right" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="247" src="!" style="margin: 20px 0px 5px 30px;" width="400"></iframe>their lives and just want lots of free bennies from the government). <a href="" target="_blank">Here it is:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Romney told me that the statement came out wrong, because it was an attempt to placate a rambling supporter who was saying that Obama voters were essentially deadbeats. &ldquo;My mistake was that I was speaking in a way that reflected back to the man,&rdquo; Romney said. &ldquo;If I had been able to see the camera, I would have remembered that I was talking to the whole world, not just the man.&rdquo; I had never heard Romney say that he was prompted into the &ldquo;47 percent&rdquo; line by a ranting supporter. It was also impossible to ignore the phrase &ldquo;If I had to do this again.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="" target="_blank">David Corn calls bullshit:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>That supporter was not rambling. Here's what he asked: "For the last three years, all everybody's been told is, 'Don't worry, we'll take care of you.' How are you going to do it, in two months before the elections, to convince everybody you've got to take care of yourself?" That was a straightforward query, succinctly put, not rambling at all. It was Romney who took the point to the next level and proclaimed that a specific number of Americans were lazy freeloaders who could not and would not fend for themselves.</p> </blockquote> <p>But I don't think this is fair. "Rambling" and "ranting" are Leibovich's words, not Romney's. All Romney says is that he was "speaking in a way that reflected back to the man." And that's true. In fact, this was pretty much my guess about what really happened that night, and I suggested at the time that it revealed a lot about Romney's execrable people skills. After all, every candidate has to interact with true believers, <a href="" target="_blank">many of whom are also rich donors.</a></p> <blockquote> <p>A politician with even a tenuous grasp on how to handle this kind of pressure knows what to do: you redirect. You can't tell these folks they're crazy, of course....But you can't really agree with them either....So you soothe. <em>I get where you're coming from.</em> And then you back away. Maybe you blame it on polling data....Maybe you change the subject....Maybe you appeal to authority.</p> <p>....But you <em>handle</em> them. Except that apparently Romney can't. And that's pretty weird, isn't it? He has more experience handling the titanic egos of rich people than anyone in politics. If anyone should be able to stroke big-dollar donors without saying anything stupid, it ought to be Mitt Romney.</p> </blockquote> <p>This is basically what Romney is fessing up to. He wanted to pander to this questioner, but he didn't have the skills to do that off-the-cuff in a safe way. So, since he thought he was speaking privately, he just went ahead and gave him the full pander instead.</p> <p>Whether Romney really believed what he was saying is sort of irrelevant. I figure he probably did&mdash;sort of&mdash;though I suspect that if he'd been in a different mood he would have said something a little different. But what we really learned from this episode is that Romney had neither the guts to stand up to a rich donor nor the people skills to soothe and redirect in a safe way. In other words, he's not really the kind of guy you want to be president of the United States.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum The Right Tue, 30 Sep 2014 21:48:37 +0000 Kevin Drum 261366 at First US Case of Ebola Confirmed <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><em><strong>Update, September 30, 6:15 PM EDT: </strong></em>According to officials from the Centers for Disease Control, the patient, a male, arrived in the United States from Liberia on September 20. He planned to visit with family members in Texas. He initially sought treatment at a hospital on September 26 but was sent home, and then was readmitted on September 28. Texas public health officials believe that the patient had contact with "a handful" of people while he was infectious, including family members. The officials are currently in the process of tracing those contacts. CDC officials do not believe that anyone on the flight with him has any risk of contracting Ebola.</p> <p>During a press conference, CDC officials reiterated that Ebola is not transmitted through the air, nor is it possible to catch it from someone who has been exposed but is not yet displaying symptoms.</p> <p>"Ebola is a scary disease," said CDC's Dr. Thomas Frieden. "At the same time, we are stopping it in its tracks in this country."</p> <p>--</p> <p>The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has <a href="" target="_blank">confirmed</a> a case of Ebola in Dallas. While other patients have been flown back to the United States for treatment, this is the first time that a patient has been diagnosed stateside.</p> <div><div id="mininav" class="inline-subnav"> <!-- header content --> <div id="mininav-header-content"> <div id="mininav-header-image"> <img src="/files/images/motherjones_mininav/ebola-mini.jpg" width="220" border="0"></div> <div id="mininav-header-text"> <p class="mininav-header-text" style="margin: 0; padding: 0.75em; font-size: 11px; font-weight: bold; line-height: 1.2em; background-color: rgb(221, 221, 221);"> More <em>MoJo</em> coverage of the Ebola crisis. </p> </div> </div> <!-- linked stories --> <div id="mininav-linked-stories"> <ul><span id="linked-story-260876"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/09/ebola-crisis-liberia-way-worse-you-think"> Liberians Explain Why the Ebola Crisis Is Way Worse Than You Think</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-260861"> <li><a href="/mojo/2014/09/these-maps-show-ebolas-spread-in-around-liberias-capital"> These Maps Show How Ebola Spread In Liberia</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-260371"> <li><a href="/mojo/2014/09/even-liberias-legislature-may-have-ebola"> Even Liberia's Legislature Can't Escape the Ravages of Ebola</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-260741"> <li><a href="/mixed-media/2014/09/listen-some-liberias-top-artists-sing-about-ebola"> Listen to Some of Liberia's Top Artists Sing about Ebola</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-259686"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/09/ebola-world-health-organization-budget"> Why the World Health Organization Doesn't Have Enough Funds to Fight Ebola</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-258436"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/08/new-drugs-and-vaccines-cant-stop-ebola-outbreak"> New Drugs and Vaccines Can't Stop This Ebola Outbreak</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-255436"> <li><a href="/environment/2014/07/we-are-making-ebola-worse"> We Are Making Ebola Outbreaks Worse by Cutting Down Forests</a></li> </span> </ul></div> <!-- footer content --> </div> </div> <p>The patient is being kept in "<a href="" target="_blank">strict isolation</a>" at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. While hospital officials are not currently discussing which countries the patient has visited, no doubt US officials will be looking very closely at where he's traveled in the recent past, especially within the United States. The CDC will be holding a press conference on this at 5:30 p.m. Eastern. You can see it live <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>Ebola has already infected more than 6,000 people&mdash;and killed more than 3,000&mdash;in West Africa. Quick action prevented the disease from spreading in <a href="" target="_blank">Senegal and Nigeria</a>, but the disease continues to wreak havoc in <a href="" target="_blank">Liberia</a>, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.</p></body></html> MoJo Health Top Stories Tue, 30 Sep 2014 21:24:24 +0000 Alex Park 261351 at Half the World's Wildlife Has Disappeared in Just 40 Years <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Global wildlife populations have declined by a stunning 52 percent over the past four decades, and humans are largely to blame.</p> <p>That's according to a newly released study conducted by the <a href="" target="_blank">World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London</a>, which analyzed an index of 10,000 different animal populations (referred to in the study as the Global Living Planet Index) comprised of more than 3,000 species of vertebrates, a group of animals that includes mammals, reptiles, fish, amphibians, and birds.</p> <p class="rteleft">The report attributes this insane drop almost entirely to human activity, including overfishing, unsustainable agriculture, a dramatic loss in natural habitats, and&mdash;of course&mdash;climate change.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" height="270" src="/files/newwildlife_0.jpg" width="580"><div class="caption"><a href="">WWF</a></div> </div> </div> <p class="rteleft">The most severe decline was experienced by freshwater species, whose populations fell a shocking 76 percent&mdash;nearly twice the rate experienced by marine and terrestrial species (both of which dropped by 39 percent). The most significant reductions in wildlife occurred largely in the tropics, especially in South America.</p> <p>"This damage is not inevitable but a consequence of the way we choose to live," <a href="" target="_blank">said the Zoological Society's Ken Norris</a>, according to the AP. "There is still hope. Protecting nature needs focused conservation action, political will and support from industry."</p> <p>While Norris' message leaves room for a bit of encouragement, it remains to be seen if the WWF's latest data will spur significant political action, particularly in light of the upcoming <a href="" target="_blank">United Nations climate change and sustainability</a> meeting in 2015.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Animals Climate Change Climate Desk Tue, 30 Sep 2014 20:54:45 +0000 Inae Oh 261296 at More Than 80 Percent of Teens Are Using the Wrong Birth Control <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>For the first time, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended long-acting reversible contraception, like IUDs and contraceptive implants, as "first-line contraceptive choices for adolescents." The <a href="" target="_blank">guidelines</a>, published in the journal <em>Pediatrics</em> on Monday, encourage pediatricians to discuss these long-acting options, known as LARC methods, before other contraceptive choices for adolescents because of the products' "efficacy, safety, and ease of use."</p> <p>It's no secret that a lot of teens have sex; according to the report, nearly half of US high school students report having had sexual intercourse. Each year, 750,000 teenagers become pregnant, with over 80 percent of the pregnancies unplanned.</p> <p>But the recommended AAP guidelines are a huge step away from the current practices of the 3.2 million teenage women using contraceptives; in fact, it seems that the frequencies with which teens use contraceptives are inversely related to their efficacy. Here's a breakdown of contraceptive use among today's teenagers:</p> <ul><li><strong>Male condoms</strong> are by far the most frequent choice of contraception, with over half of teenage women reporting condom use the last time they had sex. According to the <a href="" target="_blank">Centers for Disease Control</a>, condoms have an 18 percent failure rate.</li> <li><strong>The pill</strong>, used by 53 percent of teenage girls using contraceptives, has a 9 percent failure rate.</li> <li><strong>Contraceptive implants</strong> are small rods that, when inserted under the skin of the upper arm, release steroid hormones, preventing pregnancy for up to three years with a .05 percent failure rate. According to the <a href="" target="_blank">Guttmacher Institute</a>, implants and other hormonal methods, like hormonal patches or rings, are used by 16 percent of teens using contraceptives.</li> <li><strong>Intrauterine devices, or IUDs</strong>, are small, T-shaped devices that, once implanted in the uterus, can prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years with a failure rate of less than 1 percent. IUDs are one of the <a href="" target="_blank">most popular</a> contraceptive methods in other developed countries, but, largely due to misconceptions that developed in the 70s, they're used far less frequently in the US. Only 3 percent of teens using contraceptives rely on IUDs.</li> </ul><p>Following similar guidelines published in 2012 by the&nbsp;<a href="">American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists</a>, the AAP report makes clear that teenagers using LARC methods should still use condoms to prevent STIs, and doctors should still talk to their patients about all contraceptive methods, tailoring "counseling and recommendations to each patient."&nbsp;The Affordable Care Act requires insurance plans to cover LARCs, including progestin implants and IUDs.</p></body></html> MoJo Health Reproductive Rights Sex and Gender Tue, 30 Sep 2014 20:32:37 +0000 Julia Lurie 261321 at Peak Oil Is All About Cheap Oil <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Russell Gold writes in the <em>Wall Street Journal</em> that perhaps the idea of peak oil is a myth. After all, technology keeps getting better and better, allowing us to extract more oil from old fields. Of course, <a href="" target="_blank">it's expensive to do business this way:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>When the oil industry overcomes an obstacle and boosts oil production, costs typically increase. That opens the door for a better and cheaper energy source that will eventually displace crude oil.</p> <p>So at some point, the cost of getting more and more oil likely will get so high that buyers can't&mdash;or won't&mdash;pay....Already, economics is bringing about some changes. Despite the abundance of oil that fracking has delivered, global oil prices remain high. This has kept the door wide open for alternative sources of energy and spending on energy efficiency.</p> <p>...."There will be peak oil, but it will be [because of] peak consumption," says Michael Shellenberger, president of the Breakthrough Institute, an energy and climate think tank in Oakland, Calif. "What we all want is to move to better, cheaper and cleaner sources of energy."</p> </blockquote> <p>This is a good example of a common misconception about peak oil. The theory has never really been about the absolute limit of oil in the ground&mdash;though, of course, there <em>is</em> an eventual limit&mdash;it's been about the amount of oil that can be profitably extracted. Older fields, where you literally just have to drill a hole in the ground and wait for the oil to gusher up, are cheap fields. As the older fields play out, we have to use new technology to extend their lives. And we also have to look for oil in other, more expensive places: polar oil, deep-sea oil, tar sands, and so forth. As we do this, oil gets more and more expensive.</p> <p>There's nothing new about this. The peak oil debate has never really been about how much oil is in the ground. It's <em>always</em> been about (a) how much oil we can pump on a daily basis and (b) how much it costs to get it above ground. And as Gold points out, even with all the hoopla about fracking, the price of oil is still very high. That's because new technologies are barely keeping up with the exhaustion of older fields.</p> <p>But there's more to this. It's true, of course, that as oil gets more expensive it naturally motivates a switch to other energy sources. In that sense, peak oil takes care of itself. We'll switch to gas, and then to solar, and maybe <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/images/blog_oil_capacity_goldman_sachs.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">someday to fusion. And we'll do it naturally as those sources of energy become cheaper than oil.</p> <p>In the meantime, however, there's a big problem: declining spare capacity. The real medium-term danger of peak oil lies in the fact that the world is currently pumping oil at close to full capacity. Nor is this likely to change soon, since the developing world has a huge appetite for oil even at current prices. So what happens when there's a supply disruption somewhere? The answer, unfortunately, is that any blip in supply, whether from political unrest, terrorism, or merely unforeseen natural events, can cause prices to carom wildly. A world with $100 per barrel oil is bad enough, but a world in which a single pipeline meltdown could cause prices to skyrocket to $300 per barrel for a few months and then back down is far worse.</p> <p>Will this happen? No one knows. Iraq has more pumping capacity if they can solve their political problems. Iran has more pumping capacity if they can make a nuclear deal with the West and re-enter the global market. Fracking is still on the rise, and probably will be for the rest of the decade. But oil prices spiked even during the Libya war, and that was a pretty modest supply disruption.</p> <p>In other words, no one knows for sure. I certainly don't. But the fact that demand is bumping up against supply&mdash;and will continue doing so even if supply increases&mdash;represents the real danger, economically speaking. With no spare capacity, a modest disruption in supply can cause oil prices to spike, and there's a lot of evidence to suggest that oil price spikes are at least partially responsible for every global recession of the past 40 years. That's peak oil for you.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Energy Tue, 30 Sep 2014 17:37:21 +0000 Kevin Drum 261301 at New Mexico AG Opens Criminal Investigation Into Missing Susana Martinez Emails <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The New Mexico Attorney General's office is <a href="">opening a criminal&nbsp;investigation</a> into missing and/or destroyed emails covering part of <a href="" style="line-height: 24px;" target="_blank">Republican&nbsp;Gov. Susana Martinez's</a>&nbsp;tenure as a district attorney&nbsp;and also the tenure of Martinez's successor, Amy Orlando, a close friend of&nbsp;the governor. Complicating the investigation is the fact that New Mexico's&nbsp;AG,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Democrat Gary King</a>,&nbsp;is Martinez's opponent in this year's gubernatorial race.&nbsp;</p> <p>The investigation was triggered by <a href="">an internal report</a> released last week by the district attorney in New Mexico's Third Judicial District. As <a href="">I reported</a>, it found that many emails sent and received by staff members inside the Third Judicial District office were apparently <a href="">"deleted and/or removed"</a> during the period when Martinez and later Orlando headed the office. Those missing emails&mdash;which are state property&mdash;likely include messages to and from Martinez herself, who served as DA until she became governor in 2011.</p> <p>Martinez handpicked&nbsp;Orlando as her successor, but her term was shortlived. In 2012, Orlando lost her DA election to a former FBI agent and federal prosecutor named <a href="" target="_blank">Mark D'Antonio</a>, who is a Democrat. It was D'Antonio&nbsp;who forwarded his office's findings to the AG&nbsp;for further investigation.</p> <p>At a Monday afternoon press conference, King, the state AG,&nbsp;made a brief appearance in which he <a href="">said</a> that the disappearance of the emails in question "appears not to be the result of an inadvertent clerical error or policy but rather the planned intentional destruction of vital government records." Dave Pederson, the general counsel in the AG's office, downplayed the potential conflict of interest posed by King's gubernatorial run and&nbsp;said this case "goes way beyond simply pressing the delete button on certain emails or electronic files."&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">According to</a> the <em>Santa Fe Reporter</em>,&nbsp;Pederson declined to tell reporters which statutes may have been violated to avoid alerting potential targets.</p> <p>Orlando is currently the general counsel at the state's&nbsp;Department of Public Safety (DPS). Her boss, DPS Secretary Greg Fouratt, <a href="">dismissed</a> the AG's investigation as "nothing more than a clumsy and amateur political stunt coordinated between a DA with what appears to be a personal vendetta and a gubernatorial candidate who's just a few weeks away from an election." Orlando herself slammed&nbsp;last week's report on the missing emails as an&nbsp;"amateurish political stunt on the eve of an election" that was filled&nbsp;with "baseless innuendos."</p></body></html> MoJo Crime and Justice Elections The Right Tue, 30 Sep 2014 16:57:35 +0000 Andy Kroll 261271 at We Are In Love With War <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>I'm going to make this short because I simply don't have a thousand-word essay in me about war fever. But the more I think about our campaign against ISIS, the more dismayed I become. I always figured that if the time ever came when <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/images/Blog_Uncle_Sam_0.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">a president wanted to bomb Iran, it would be pretty easy to whip up the usual war frenzy over it. That's been baked into the cake for a long time. But Iraq? And without even a very big push from President Obama? I mean, for all that I'm not happy over his decision to go back to war in Iraq, he's been relatively sober about the whole thing.</p> <p>But it barely matters. The mere concrete prospect of a new war was all it took. According to polls, nearly two-thirds of Americans are on board with the fight against ISIS and nearly half think we ought to be sending in ground troops. That's <em>despite</em> the fact that practically every opinion leader in the country says in public that they oppose ground troops. At this point it would take only a tiny shove&mdash;a bomb scare, an atrocity of some kind, pretty much anything&mdash;and 70 percent of the country would be in full-bore war frenzy mode.</p> <p>It's like we've learned nothing from the past decade. Our politicians are in love with war. The public is in love with war. And the press is <em>really</em> in love with war. It just never ends.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Iraq Military Tue, 30 Sep 2014 16:29:24 +0000 Kevin Drum 261291 at This Stunning Drone Footage Reveals Just How Massive Hong Kong's Protests Really Are <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Protests in Hong Kong show no sign of stopping, as hundreds of thousands of demonstrators continue to demand greater autonomy from the government in Beijing. This video, featured on <a href="" target="_blank">Storyful, by Nero Chan</a>, (uploaded to his Facebook account on&nbsp;September 29), offers a glimpse into the magnitude of the movement. Tomorrow is National Day, a public holiday across China. Activists say there's a chance the protests could&nbsp;swell even beyond what you can see in this video.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Video China International Top Stories Tue, 30 Sep 2014 16:26:21 +0000 James West 261286 at Intel Community Dusts Itself Off and Casually Shows Obama Who's Boss <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>A friend brings to my attention <a href=";_r=2" target="_blank">this <em>New York Times</em> piece:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>By late last year, classified American intelligence reports painted an increasingly ominous picture of a growing threat from Sunni extremists in Syria, according to senior intelligence and military officials. Just as worrisome, they said, were reports of deteriorating readiness and morale among troops next door in Iraq.</p> <p>But the reports, they said, generated little attention in a White House consumed with multiple brush fires and reluctant to be drawn back into Iraq. <strong>&ldquo;Some of us were pushing the reporting, but the White House just didn&rsquo;t pay attention to it,&rdquo;</strong> said a senior American intelligence official. &ldquo;They were preoccupied with other crises,&rdquo; the official added. <strong>&ldquo;This just wasn&rsquo;t a big priority.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>He comments:</p> <blockquote> <p>Look, if you publicly throw the intel community under the bus, they're going to come back at you. They have better access to the press. They have careerists with longstanding media relationships that they know how to work and how to shape their stories....Plus, you're giving Republicans wonderful fuel for their absolute strongest subject&nbsp;&mdash; bar none&nbsp;&mdash; national security: Obama is fighting (insert intelligence community / generals / Secret Service / other military service), more than ISIS.</p> <p>The idiocy of picking this fight in public is pretty unnerving frankly.</p> </blockquote> <p>There's not much point in dwelling on this forever, but Obama's comment blaming the intel community for misjudging ISIS absolutely blanketed every news outlet in the country last night. It really does make you wonder what's going on over in the West Wing. Was Obama's comment on Sunday just a dumb mistake? Does he really have contempt for the intelligence community? Did he somehow think he could get away with blaming them and not getting any blowback? Or what?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Iraq Obama Tue, 30 Sep 2014 14:49:40 +0000 Kevin Drum 261266 at Chart: Half of All Income Goes to the Top 10 Percent <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/survival630x120.jpg"></div> <p>We'll be posting a new chart on the current state of income inequality every day for the next couple of weeks. <a href="" target="_blank">Our last installment</a> looked at stagnating middle-class incomes.</p> <p>Today, we look at both sides of the income split and how they've traded places. For the first time in a century, the top 10 percent of Americans control more than half of all income. If this trend persists, predicts economist <a href="" target="_blank">Thomas Piketty</a>, their share will rise to 60 percent by 2030.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/xmarksthespot.jpg"></div> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="198" scrolling="no" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><em>Source:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Emmanuel Saez</a> and Thomas Piketty (<a href="" target="_blank">Excel</a>)&nbsp; </em></p> <p><em>Illustrations and infographic design by </em>Mattias Mackler&acirc;&#128;&#139;</p></body></html> MoJo Charts Income Inequality Labor Top Stories Tue, 30 Sep 2014 10:15:08 +0000 Dave Gilson 261246 at Here's Why Obama Fumbled on the Economy Last Night <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_democrat_republican.jpg" style="margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Paul Waldman asks us to imagine what's going to happen the next time there's some kind of <a href="" target="_blank">Islam-inspired terror attack on American soil:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The news media would amp up the fear to levels we haven't seen in the last decade, encouraging everyone to look for sleeper cells lurking down at the Piggly Wiggly. Republicans would of course unite behind President Obama in our time of mourning&mdash;kidding! <strong>They'd go on TV to denounce him for being so weak that the evildoers struck us in our very heart, and proclaim not only that the blood of the victims is on the hands of every Democrat,</strong> but that more attacks are coming and we're more vulnerable than we've ever been. Dick Cheney would emerge snarling from his subterranean lair to warn us that this is only the beginning and we really need to start bombing at least five or six more countries. Senator Lindsey Graham, who has already said about ISIL that "this president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home," might just tear off his shirt and scream, "We're all gonna die! We're all gonna die!" right on Fox News Sunday.</p> </blockquote> <p>Now bear with me a for a moment. Here's a seemingly unrelated story about Sam Brownback's effort to spur economic growth in Kansas by <a href="" target="_blank">lowering taxes on the rich and cutting back on welfare:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>As he runs for reelection, Brownback is finding that what he once called a &ldquo;real live experiment&rdquo; in red-state governance is struggling to produce the benefits he had promised....In an interview on his way to Dodge City &mdash; where he would sign legislation creating a &ldquo;National Day of the Cowboy&rdquo; &mdash; Brownback said he regretted referring to his plans as an experiment. But he defended his tenure, <strong>saying it represented a Ronald Reagan-style approach to governance that eventually would rebuild Kansas&rsquo;s economy after a long slide.</strong></p> <p>&ldquo;I wish I could take that back, because I don&rsquo;t consider this an experiment,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;So many people on the left really want this to fail. . . . <strong>This is a long-term strategy to make us more competitive.</strong>&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Democrats and Republicans are both good at some things and bad at others. One of the things that Republicans are good at is making&mdash;and repeating over and over and over&mdash;firm predictions about the outcomes of their policy preferences. If you fail to wage eternal war in the Middle East, there will be a terrorist attack in the United States. If you lower taxes, the economy will improve. Etc.</p> <p>These are easy things to understand for voters. And guess what? Eventually there <em>will</em> be a terrorist attack. Eventually the economy <em>will</em> improve. So when those things happen, Republicans have a nice, simple story already planted in the public mind that allows them to take credit or place blame for it.</p> <p>Democrats are not so good at this. President Obama fumbled last night on <em>60 Minutes</em> when he tried to take credit for the improved state of the economy compared to when he took office. Partly, of course, this is because the economy is only in so-so shape. But it's also because Democrats have no simple, pre-digested narrative. They never said&mdash;over and over and over&mdash;that if we passed a stimulus bill, the economy would improve. Or that if we rescued GM, the economy would improve. Or that if we raised taxes on the wealthy, the economy would improve. Instead, Democrats had sort of a dog's breakfast of policy choices that they endorsed, but never made into a centerpiece of a claim about economic recovery. So now, when the economy is recovering, nobody really gives them any credit.</p> <p>Now, this may be a more honest way of conducting our affairs. Most government policies really do have only a modest effect on economic growth. Likewise, most government policies have only a modest effect on the chances of someone eventually pulling off a terrorist attack. But honest or not, it means voters don't associate Democrats with much of anything. They don't give them credit for improving the economy, for example, or for preventing terrorist attacks. And honest or not, it's political malpractice.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Elections Mon, 29 Sep 2014 23:17:59 +0000 Kevin Drum 261256 at George Zimmerman's Family Describes Living in a Paranoid World of Color-Coded Threats <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>In an incredibly absorbing article in <em>GQ</em>, the family of George Zimmerman, the Florida man who was acquitted after <a href="" target="_blank">fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager,</a> discusses its attempts to "<a href="" target="_blank">rebrand"</a> while living in paralyzing fear.</p> <p>The Zimmermans' stories, which are both simultaneously tragic and bizarre, show a family eager to move on from the April 2012 "incident" in which George killed Trayvon Martin. They're also struggling with debt and paranoia:</p> <blockquote> <p class="rteindent1">They watched the movie <i>Argo</i> to learn how to live like CIA. Code names for everyone. No mail delivered to the house. No visitors. No talking to the few neighbors they had. No long phone conversations&mdash;keep it short and vague to outwit surveillance. Never discuss your whereabouts via phone or text. Keep a weapon close by at all times. Robert slept with his gun. Still does.</p> <p class="rteindent1">And in case someone&mdash;or multiple someones&mdash;decided to mount an attack on the house, the Zimmermans pre-packed their own "go-bags" filled with everything they would need to flee in a rush, as well as what they called "footballs"&mdash;like the one President Obama has with the nuclear codes&mdash;that contained laptops, cell phones, and other essential electronics.</p> <p class="rteindent1">They also memorized a color-coded threat-ID system. Code blue: Law enforcement at the door. Code brown: Draw your weapons. Code black: Come out guns blazing.</p> </blockquote> <p>The Zimmermans wonder if a reality show starring George or a sit-down with Fox's Sean Hannity will restore their name. In an upsetting and absurd twist, George's brother Robert, the family's <a href="" target="_blank">most vocal member</a>, describes hoping to cash-in on their newfound infamy with a show inspired by the Kardashians. He rationalizes: "Like, use the shit you've got."</p> <p>Read the full feature <a href="" target="_blank">here. </a></p></body></html> Mixed Media Guns Mon, 29 Sep 2014 21:05:09 +0000 Inae Oh 261211 at Report: Secret Service Lied About White House Fence Jumper <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Omar Gonzalez, the White House fence-jumper from earlier this month, apparently surprised the guard at the front door because <a href="" target="_blank">a nearby alarm box had been muted:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>After barrelling past the guard immediately inside the door, Gonzalez, who was carrying a knife, dashed past the stairway leading a half-flight up to the first family&rsquo;s living quarters. He then ran into the 80-foot-long East Room, an ornate space often used for receptions or presidential addresses.</p> <p>Gonzalez was tackled by a counter-assault agent at the far southern end of the East Room. The intruder reached the doorway to the Green Room, a parlor overlooking the South Lawn with artwork and antique furniture, according to three people familiar with the incident.</p> <p><strong>Secret Service officials had earlier said he was quickly detained at the main entry.</strong> Agency spokesman Edwin Donovan said the office is not commenting due to an ongoing investigation of the incident.</p> </blockquote> <p>So....they just lied?</p> <p>On a related note, I wonder who the whistleblowers are that have been feeding all this stuff to WaPo's Carol Leonnig? Not that it matters, I suppose, but I'm curious about whether it's folks who are appalled by the security lapses or folks who have some other kind of axe to grind.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Crime and Justice Obama Mon, 29 Sep 2014 20:41:51 +0000 Kevin Drum 261221 at Here's Yet Another Rage-Inducing Scam in the American Health Care System <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Here is your <a href="" target="_blank">statistic of the day:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The average salary of an emergency room physician was $311,000 in 2014, rising from $247,000 since 2010 &mdash; a period when many other types of doctors experienced declines in salaries, <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/images/Blog_Emergency.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">according to Merritt Hawkins, a physician staffing firm.</p> </blockquote> <p>Why is this? A shortage of ER physicians? More emergencies? Higher standards for ER work?</p> <p>Nope. Elisabeth Rosenthal's latest rage-inducing piece about America's health care system<sup>1</sup> suggests the reason is far more corrupt. Apparently one of the great trends in American health care<sup>2</sup> is to outsource ER staffing. This means that even if you're careful&mdash;possibly while in great pain or barely even coherent&mdash;to show up at an in-network ER covered by your insurance plan, there's a pretty good chance that the actual doctors who attend you <em>aren't</em> in your network. Naturally, this being American health care,<sup>3</sup> you have no choice in this matter even if you're savvy enough to know about the whole in-network and out-of-network distinction. And as we all know, out-of-network docs in the American health care system<sup>4</sup> are basically allowed to charge any prices they want. And they do.</p> <p>This is a great scam for everyone. Presumably hospitals save money because freelance ER docs cost them less. And the ER docs cost less because they know they'll be able to run the ol' out-of-network scam on lots of patients, thus raking in the bucks. It's a win-win.</p> <p>As a result, during a period of economic stagnation that produced zero wage growth for everyone else, ER docs are now making $64,000 more than they did four years ago. And they're doing this by preying on the most vulnerable, most easily scammable members of society: folks who are flat on their backs and almost by definition unable to understand what's going on around them. Not that it would matter if they did, of course. The law provides no recourse even if you don't like this system. That's the way things roll in the American health care system.<sup>5</sup></p> <p>If this kind of stuff doesn't make you pop a vein, I'm not sure what would. It's right on a par with the telemarketing ghouls who prey on senior citizens with dementia. Except that these guys wear white coats and are welcomed into all the best country clubs.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>Best in the World, Baby.&trade;</p> <p><sup>2</sup>Best in the World, Baby.&trade;</p> <p><sup>3</sup>Best in the World, Baby.&trade;</p> <p><sup>4</sup>Best in the World, Baby.&trade;</p> <p><sup>5</sup>Best in the World, Baby.&trade;</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Health Care Mon, 29 Sep 2014 17:03:17 +0000 Kevin Drum 261186 at Watch John Oliver Call Out America for Blindly Supporting Obama's Drone War <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>On the latest <a href="" target="_blank">"Last Week Tonight,"<strong> </strong></a>John Oliver looked into how Americans have come to widely accept President Obama's growing reliance on drone strikes, while knowing little to nothing about the administration's rules for using them.</p> <p>"Because our rules for drone strikes are a little like Harvey Keitel's balls: We've all seen them in 'The Piano,' 'Bad Lieutenant, or on SnapChat. And from, from a distance you think, 'Well, I understand the contours of those.' But if you were to really examine them, you'd discover that they're actually lost in a haze of fuzziness and grey areas. Much like the rules for our drone strikes."</p> <p>The comparison, which Oliver says has contributed to defining Obama's presidency as much as Obamacare and "receiving racist emails from distant relatives," perfectly illustrates just how little both the public and the administration knows exactly who and how many we're going about killing with such strikes ---&nbsp; strikes that have waged on despite the <a href="" target="_blank">continued lack of answers Obama </a>seems quite intent on never sufficiently explaining to us.</p> <p>"That is a little disturbing. Because the question 'how many people have you've killed in drone strikes' is not one of those questions where it's okay to say you don't know. It's not like asking someone 'who was the voice of Disney's Aladdin' or 'what are Skittles are made from.' It's different&hellip;And the crazy thing is it's literally always been like this."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> Mixed Media Foreign Policy Military Obama Mon, 29 Sep 2014 16:22:34 +0000 Inae Oh 261171 at Republicans Once Again Favored to Take Control of the Senate <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Remember my post a couple of weeks ago saying that Republicans were no longer favored to take control of the Senate? Well, recent polls have not been kind to the Ds, and now everyone&mdash;<a href="" target="_blank">including Sam Wang</a>&mdash;agrees that Republicans are once again favored. Here's the <a href="" target="_blank">Vox aggregation of aggregators:</a></p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_vox_senate_average_2014_09_29.jpg" style="margin: 15px 0px 5px 24px;"></p> <p>You may now either celebrate or else sharpen up your seppuku knives, depending on your partisan leanings. But keep one thing in mind: two weeks ago, only one pollster out of six thought Republicans were favored. Today six out of six think Republicans are favored. Things can change mighty fast, and there's still more than a month to go before Election Day. Your guess is as good as mine whether Joni Ernst can go five consecutive weeks without letting the crazy show.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Elections Mon, 29 Sep 2014 16:00:17 +0000 Kevin Drum 261181 at Obama Needs to Learn How to Admit Error on National TV <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>So President Obama was on <em>60 Minutes</em> last night. Steve Kroft asked about the <a href="" target="_blank">meteoric rise of ISIS in northern Iraq:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Steve Kroft: How did they end up where they are in control of so much territory? Was that a complete surprise to you?</p> <p>President Obama: Well I think, our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.</p> </blockquote> <p>I can't find a full transcript to verify that this was the complete context surrounding Obama's remark, but I wonder what possesses him to do stuff like this? It's Management 101 that you don't throw folks under the bus (on national TV!) unless you have pretty convincing reasons for doing so. I mean, all he had to do was say that "<em>we</em> underestimated" what was happening in Syria.</p> <p>This is really tone deaf. Even if the whole debacle really was Clapper's fault, it would still sound terrible to say so. Was this just a real-time flub? Or, after six years, does Obama still not understand how petty it sounds to try to deflect blame this way?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Iraq Obama Mon, 29 Sep 2014 15:10:05 +0000 Kevin Drum 261176 at Bluesman Gary Clark Jr. Is the Guitar Hero for Our Time <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Gary Clark Jr.<br><em>Live</em><br> Warner Bros.</strong></p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="Gary Clark Jr Live" class="image" src="/files/GCJlive.jpg" style="height: 250px; width: 250px;"></div> <p>A guitar hero for the modern era, Gary Clark Jr. plays bluesy rock with a blistering urgency that makes the hoariest conventions feel brand new. For all his flashy expertise, the muscular solos and buzzing riffs never feel gratuitous, while Clark's terse, tough singing nicely complements his fretwork. This 15-track, 97-minute feast is the perfect showcase for his brilliance, mixing versions of standards like "Three O&rsquo;Clock Blues" (popularized by B.B. King) and "Catfish Blues" (also covered by Jimi Hendrix) with pungent originals, from sleek boogie ("Travis County") to tender soul ("Please Come Home"), with lots of fireworks in between. While it's tempting to view him as the next coming of Hendrix, especially in light of his take on Jimi's "Third Stone from the Sun," Clark is closer in spirit to Stevie Ray Vaughan: less an exotic, godlike genius than a gifted guardian of tradition who never fails to thrill.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Music Mon, 29 Sep 2014 10:00:07 +0000 Jon Young 260986 at Here Is A Video Of Sarah Palin Petting An Alligator <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Sarah Palin went down to Louisiana Saturday to help raise money for Republican US Senate candidate Rob Maness. Maness&mdash;who is challenging incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu&mdash;and Palin served alligator dishes to around 100 attendees, according to local CBS affiliate <a href="" target="_blank">WWL</a>.</p> <p>Here is a video of Palin petting an alligator.</p> <object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase=",0,47,0" height="354" id="flashObj" width="630"><param name="movie" value=";isUI=1"><param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF"><param name="flashVars" value="videoId=3810532667001&amp;playerID=3657417263001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAADUxzzJlE~,lB8QKvDWhcINePp71o_hIbh0XL-3yypK&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true"><param name="base" value=""><param name="seamlesstabbing" value="false"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"><param name="swLiveConnect" value="true"><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"><embed allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" base="" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" flashvars="videoId=3810532667001&amp;playerID=3657417263001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAADUxzzJlE~,lB8QKvDWhcINePp71o_hIbh0XL-3yypK&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true" height="354" name="flashObj" pluginspage="" seamlesstabbing="false" src=";isUI=1" swliveconnect="true" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="630"></embed></object> <p>At press time it was not clear if the alligator she was petting was also the alligator she later served as a meal. We're guessing it wasn't.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> Mixed Media Animals Elections Sun, 28 Sep 2014 17:52:00 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 261161 at Obama Threatened Far More Often Than Any Previous President <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Carol Leonnig has a piece in the <em>Washington Post</em> today about a botched Secret Service response to a <a href="" target="_blank">2011 shooting at the White House:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The suspect was able to park his car on a public street, take several shots and then speed off without being detected. It was sheer luck that the shooter was identified, the result of Ortega, a troubled and jobless 21-year-old, wrecking his car seven blocks away and leaving his gun inside.</p> <p>The response infuriated the president and the first lady, according to people with direct knowledge of their reaction. Michelle Obama has spoken publicly about fearing for her family&rsquo;s safety since her husband became the nation&rsquo;s first black president.</p> <p>Her concerns are well founded &mdash; <strong>President Obama has faced three times as many threats as his predecessors,</strong> according to people briefed on the Secret Service&rsquo;s threat assessment.</p> </blockquote> <p>Gee, I wonder why?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Obama Sun, 28 Sep 2014 00:35:40 +0000 Kevin Drum 261156 at How To Throw Shade <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Last night, <a href="" target="_blank">PBS aired "America After Ferguson</a>," a town hall about race in America. A lot of really interesting and intelligent things were said! You should watch the whole thing. In addition to the really interesting and intelligent things that were said, there were also very stupid and offensive things said. Dearly oppressed white conservative dumb dumb columnist for the <em>American Spectator</em> Ross Kaminsky's<em> c</em>ontributions to the evening could probably best be classified more the latter than the former.</p> <p>Look, I am not going to address this dude's points in any serious way. (You can watch them for yourself if you're into that sort of thing beginning around minute 14 above.) It was all very much "blah blah reverse racism blah blah white people are the real victims blah blah."&nbsp; And here's the thing: This is America. You can believe whatever stupid nonsense you want. It is quite literally the reason the pilgrims crossed the ocean. So, you do you, Ross Kaminsky. But know that whenever you spout off this insidious white man's burden bullshit, the rest of us are going to be throwing you the type of shade this amazing kid threw your way all night long.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"> <p>This child's reaction to this guy claiming reverse racism at <a href="">#AfterFerguson</a> is everything. <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Bendito (@SoBendito) <a href="">September 27, 2014</a></blockquote> <p>Have a nice weekend.</p> <p><em>(h/t to my friend <a href="" target="_blank">@sobendito</a>)</em></p></body></html> Contributor Sat, 27 Sep 2014 14:59:43 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 261151 at This Is the Cutest Video I've Ever Seen In My Entire Life <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Via <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Gawker</em></a>, this video of some kids arguing about the weather is so adorable.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Look, I know this isn't hard-hitting journalism or anything but it's been a bit of a week so feel free to give this a watch and have a nice little Saturday morning cry.</p></body></html> Contributor Sat, 27 Sep 2014 13:17:30 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 261146 at Butterball Goes "Humane" for Thanksgiving. Really? <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>It's becoming a Thanksgiving tradition as hoary as NFL football or the bloviations of your drunken uncle: days before the national feast, an animal-welfare group releases an undercover video documenting vile conditions within industrial-scale turkey facilities (see <a href="">2013</a>, <a href="">2012</a>, <a href="">2008</a>).</p> <p>This year, the largest turkey producer of all, Butterball&mdash;which churns out a <a href="">billion pounds of turkey meat</a> annually, a <a href="">fifth of US production</a>&mdash;has made a bold move to get ahead of these appetite-snuffing PR debacles. By fall 2014, presumably in time for Thanksgiving, all of its products will bear the American Humane Certified label, the company <a href="">announced</a> Tuesday.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/tom-philpott/2014/09/butterball-goes-humane-thanksgiving-really"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Tom Philpott Film and TV Sat, 27 Sep 2014 10:00:10 +0000 Tom Philpott 261131 at A Very Special Friday Cat Blogging - 26 September 2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>So. Marian and I paid a visit to our local shelter on Monday. We figured on adopting an adult cat. Maybe a calico, if one was available. So naturally we walked out with two kittens, one gray and white and the other black and white. They're brother and sister, 10 months old. For the moment, their code names are Miss Flopsy (on the left) and Mr. Mopsy (on the right). Soon they'll get permanent names, but we haven't decided yet what they'll be. Vickie and Bertie? Luke and Leia? Frankie and Ellie?</p> <p>In any case, life is more exciting around here these days. There is much chasing and pouncing. So far they've both fallen off just about everything that's possible to fall off. My bookcases are a shambles. And eight hours of sleep at night is not really on the agenda.</p> <p>But I know you all want to reward me for this act of catblogging heroism, don't you? And you can! If you haven't done it already, how about contributing a few bucks to the MoJo investigative fund? Please think of the kittens, won't you?</p> <p>It only takes a minute to make your tax-deductible contribution, and you can give using your smartphone, tablet, or computer.</p> <ul><li>To donate via credit card, <a href=";list_source=7Z94DRU&amp;extra_don=1" target="_blank">click here.</a></li> <li>To donate via PayPal, <a href=";hosted_button_id=LDTEDETCLTJSY" target="_blank">click here.</a></li> </ul><p>Flopsy and Mopsy thank you!</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_flopsy_mopsy_2014_09_26.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 0px 0px;"></p> <p><img align="left" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_flopsy_2014_09_26.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 5px 4px 5px 0px;"><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_mopsy_2014_09_26.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 5px 0px 5px 4px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 26 Sep 2014 18:35:05 +0000 Kevin Drum 261106 at Chart of the Day: The Death of Print <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Here's a <a href="" target="_blank">BLS chart</a> that shows how much we spend on reading-related materials. But what does it mean? It's true that young folks spend less on reading material than anyone else, but that's mostly because of their complete non-interest in dead-tree magazines and newspapers. Also, presumably, because young folks spend less on <em>everything</em> than prosperous older folks.</p> <p>But if you add up the books + e-readers category, young folks are spending nearly as much as anyone else. It's just not clear <em>what</em> they're reading. E-books? Longform articles? Blogs? TMZ? Hard to say. Then again, it's not clear what the older folks are reading either. It may be on paper, but it's probably not Shakespeare for the most part.</p> <p>In any case, this shows fairly dramatically that print is dying. As we all know by now, young folks mostly prefer digital. And so do plenty of non-young folks like me. I occasionally have to read a print book, but I'm annoyed whenever it happens.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_expenditures_books.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 50px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Media Tech Fri, 26 Sep 2014 17:29:05 +0000 Kevin Drum 261126 at