Blogs | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/Blogs/2010 http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en Watch Activists Dangle Off a Portland Bridge to Block Shell's Arctic-Bound Ship http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/07/activists-dangle-portland-bridge-block-shell-arctic-ship <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Environmental activists have taken to <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/05/kayaktavistsv-take-over-seattles-elliott-bay-protest-shell-oil-rig" target="_blank">kayak</a>, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/06/shell-protestors-arctic-challenger-oil-drilling" target="_blank">chain</a>, and even <a href="https://twitter.com/strangerslog/status/608324008203964416" target="_blank">rocking chair</a> to slow down Royal Dutch Shell's <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/05/obama-just-gave-shell-green-light-drill-arctic" target="_blank">plans to drill for oil in the Arctic</a> this summer. For the past two days, they took their protest to a new extreme. Early Wednesday morning, around <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/29/activists-hang-from-bridge-portland-block-shells-arctic-oil-vessel" target="_blank">a dozen Greenpeace activists rappelled off a bridge</a> over the Willamette River in Portland, Ore. to stop a Shell ship stationed there for repairs from returning to the Arctic. This morning, it appears <a href="http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2015/07/greenpeace_protest_icebreaker.html#incart_gallery" target="_blank">they caused the ship to turn around</a> after it tried to rejoin Shell's fleet in the Arctic's Chukchi Sea.</p> <p>The ship, called the MSV Fennica, went all the way up to the Arctic only <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/13/us-usa-shell-arctic-idUSKCN0PN2IQ20150713" target="_blank">to find a 39-inch-long gash in its side</a>. The damage was so serious, the ship had to travel all the way back to Portland for repairs. The Fennica is an icebreaker, but also carries Shell's capping stack, needed to stop an underwater well leak; Shell can't begin its exploring until the Fennica and its equipment is back and functioning in the Arctic.</p> <p>In an effort to stop it from rejoining Shell's fleet in the Chukchi Sea, and delay the oil giant's drilling plans there, Greenpeace organized protestors to dangle from Portland's St. John's bridge and physically stop the ship from traveling down the Willamette River and back out to the Pacific. We reached out to Shell to confirm if the protestors have affected the Fennica's schedule, but have not heard back.</p> <p>Below, we collected some Twitter photos of the dramatic protest:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">The ship is headed towards us <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/shellno?src=hash">#shellno</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/youshellnotpass?src=hash">#youshellnotpass</a> <a href="http://t.co/oXs4jsQsBX">pic.twitter.com/oXs4jsQsBX</a></p> &mdash; Dan Cannon (@DanEnviroCannon) <a href="https://twitter.com/DanEnviroCannon/status/626748320958943232">July 30, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">The fennica is headed back to its dock where it belongs - not the arctic! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ShellNo?src=hash">#ShellNo</a> <a href="http://t.co/wCwByWhgHD">pic.twitter.com/wCwByWhgHD</a></p> &mdash; Dan Cannon (@DanEnviroCannon) <a href="https://twitter.com/DanEnviroCannon/status/626767619228471296">July 30, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">We have a beautiful view over the water. Supporters on the shore and in kayaks, and NO Fennica in sight. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ShellNo?src=hash">#ShellNo</a> <a href="http://t.co/JkJqD61bGh">pic.twitter.com/JkJqD61bGh</a></p> &mdash; Kristina N. Flores (@KristinaNFlores) <a href="https://twitter.com/KristinaNFlores/status/626789090738831360">July 30, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ShellNo?src=hash">#ShellNo</a> protesters cheer as the icebreaker backs down, turns around: <a href="http://t.co/YCFh5cFvxS">http://t.co/YCFh5cFvxS</a> <a href="http://t.co/h5mlh3BQb6">pic.twitter.com/h5mlh3BQb6</a></p> &mdash; The Seattle Times (@seattletimes) <a href="https://twitter.com/seattletimes/status/626774550823497728">July 30, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">These 13 folks are what stands between Shell and the Arctic. Many thanks for their courage and skill <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/shellno?src=hash">#shellno</a> <a href="http://t.co/ZzkyMQRfgO">pic.twitter.com/ZzkyMQRfgO</a></p> &mdash; Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) <a href="https://twitter.com/billmckibben/status/626495189742436352">July 29, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">.<a href="https://twitter.com/OregonGovBrown">@OregonGovBrown</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/MayorPDX">@MayorPDX</a> say <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ShellNo?src=hash">#ShellNo</a> to drilling in the Arctic and let the St Johns climbers stay! <a href="http://t.co/FHLuE7rjk4">http://t.co/FHLuE7rjk4</a></p> &mdash; Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) <a href="https://twitter.com/MarkRuffalo/status/626583774424354816">July 30, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Demonstrators hang from Portland bridge to block Shell ship <a href="http://t.co/6ha2pbJsO4">http://t.co/6ha2pbJsO4</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/KATUNews">@katunews</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ActOnClimate?src=hash">#ActOnClimate</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ShellNo?src=hash">#ShellNo</a> <a href="http://t.co/ubTXyn0xGk">pic.twitter.com/ubTXyn0xGk</a></p> &mdash; Pipe Up Network (@PipeUpNetwork) <a href="https://twitter.com/PipeUpNetwork/status/626782116596953088">July 30, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Shell's icebreaker was supposed to leave for the Arctic last night. Then <a href="https://twitter.com/greenpeaceusa">@GreenpeaceUSA</a> climbers said <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ShellNo?src=hash">#ShellNo</a>: <a href="http://t.co/Ygj6jsKXPe">pic.twitter.com/Ygj6jsKXPe</a></p> &mdash; 350 dot org (@350) <a href="https://twitter.com/350/status/626368250557919232">July 29, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></body></html> Blue Marble Climate Change Energy Thu, 30 Jul 2015 18:59:44 +0000 Luke Whelan 280966 at http://www.motherjones.com Here Are Some Photos of Rep. John Lewis Holding Some Adorable Puppies http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/07/john-lewis-puppies <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Shortly after commemorating the <a href="http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc-quick-cuts/watch/john-lewis--the-vote-is-almost-sacred-494198851513" target="_blank">50th anniversary</a> of the landmark Voting Rights Act on Thursday, Rep. John Lewis stopped by the ASPCA's Paws for Celebration event on Capitol Hill to meet some adorable puppies. Fortunately for the rest of us, cameras were present:</p> <center> <div id="fb-root">&nbsp;</div> <script>(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script><div class="fb-post" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/RepJohnLewis/posts/10153411338078405" data-width="500"> <div class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore"> <blockquote cite="https://www.facebook.com/RepJohnLewis/posts/10153411338078405"> <p>It was good to spend a little time with the wonderful puppies that the ASPCA brought to Capitol Hill.</p> Posted by <a href="https://www.facebook.com/RepJohnLewis">John Lewis</a> on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/RepJohnLewis/posts/10153411338078405">Thursday, July 30, 2015</a></blockquote> </div> </div> </center> <p>That's right. It doesn't get much better than everyone's favorite congressman and iconic civil rights leader holding puppies.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Animals Congress Thu, 30 Jul 2015 18:42:48 +0000 Inae Oh 280961 at http://www.motherjones.com Will the Tea Party Shoot Itself in the Foot Yet Again? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/will-tea-party-shoot-itself-foot-yet-again <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Paul Waldman notes today that although Jeb Bush is substantively pretty conservative, his tone on the campaign trail has remained resolutely moderate and affable. Waldman explains how this leads to <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2015/07/30/maybe-jeb-bush-doesnt-have-to-pander-to-the-right-wing-after-all/" target="_blank">Bush winning the nomination:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>If you&rsquo;re Bush, your path to victory looks like this: Trump soaks up all the attention for a while, but eventually gets bored (and hasn&rsquo;t bothered to mount an actual campaign that can deliver votes), and either fades or just packs it in. <strong>Meanwhile, the conservative vote is split. Once the voting starts, the failing candidates will begin to fall away one by one. But by the time most of them are gone and their supporters have coalesced around a single candidate like Scott Walker, it&rsquo;s too late</strong> &mdash; Jeb has built his lead and is piling up delegates, <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/images/blog_tea_party_patriots.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">has all the money in the world, and can vanquish that last opponent on his way to the convention in Cleveland.</p> </blockquote> <p>In other words, a repeat of 2012, when all the hard-core conservatives split the tea party vote ten ways while Mitt Romney quietly vacuumed up the entire moderate vote. By the time Rick Santorum was the last tea partier standing, it was too late. Romney coasted to victory.</p> <p>This is the great conundrum of the tea-party wing of the Republican Party. What they <em>should</em> do is coalesce immediately around Scott Walker. He's the most plausible winner among the tea partiers, and if the race was basically between him and Bush from the start, there's a pretty good chance he could win. On the other hand, if he has to fight off a dozen challengers for months on end, it'll just be rerun of 2012. He'll get a share of the tea party vote, but it won't be nearly enough to fend off Bush, who will have his own share of the tea partiers plus the vast majority of the wing of the GOP that's disgusted that their party has been taken over by loons. And there are still quite a few of those folks around.</p> <p>I guess this is where a smoke-filled room would come in handy. This is a classic collective action problem, but without party bosses who can step in and take charge, there's really no answer to it. The tea-party candidates keep thinking that they can run and win because there are so many tea partiers among the Republican primary electorate. Unfortunately, there are too many of them who think so. The end result is that they tear each other to shreds and end up with John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Jeb Bush. And then they whine and complain about how "the party" has betrayed the conservative cause yet again.</p> <p>This isn't inevitable, of course. It's possible that Walker or one of the other mean-boy candidates will break out and become the de facto tea party standard bearer. It's just not as likely as it should be. It's a shame the tea partiers can't get their act together, isn't it?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 30 Jul 2015 17:21:45 +0000 Kevin Drum 280951 at http://www.motherjones.com ISIS Is Losing the War, But That Doesn't Mean We're Winning It http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/isis-losing-war-doesnt-mean-were-winning-it <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Zack Beauchamp says that ISIS is losing the war. His evidence is the map on the right. ISIS may have taken over Ramadi in Iraq and Palmyra <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_isis_losses_2015.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 27px 0px 15px 30px;">in Syria, but overall they've lost about 9 percent of the territory <a href="http://www.vox.com/2015/7/30/9069705/isis-map-10-percent" target="_blank">they controlled at the beginning of the year:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>This points to one of ISIS's most fundamental problems: It has too many enemies....ISIS's fighters might be skilled, but they can't fight everyone at once.</p> </blockquote> <p>True enough. What may be more interesting, though, is <em>who</em> they lost that territory to. Here are the numbers for territorial gains:</p> <ul><li>+11% &mdash; Syrian rebels</li> <li>+10% &mdash; Kurdish forces</li> <li>+4.5% &mdash; Iraqi government</li> </ul><p>In other words, Iraqi forces were responsible for less than a fifth of the total gains from ISIS. Add to that their humiliating loss in Ramadi, about an hour's drive from Baghdad, and there's still not much evidence that the Iraqi government has a clue about how to fight ISIS. It remains unclear how and when that will change.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 30 Jul 2015 16:05:29 +0000 Kevin Drum 280946 at http://www.motherjones.com Today's Trivia Quiz http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/todays-trivia-quiz <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Quick trivia question: When was the last time one of the two major parties nominated a candidate for president who was neither a politician nor a former general?</p> <p>The prize for the winner is that they get to relax about the possibility of Donald Trump becoming the 45th president of the United States.</p> <p><strong>UPDATE:</strong> Such smart commenters! The answer is Wendell Wilkie, 75 years ago. He lost, of course.</p> <p>So who was the last person to <em>win</em> the presidency with no previous political or military experience? Answer: no one. The closest call is probably Herbert Hoover, whose only political experience before 1928 was eight years as the appointed Secretary of Commerce. And look what happened to him.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:18:17 +0000 Kevin Drum 280941 at http://www.motherjones.com Chart of the Day: The Economy Continues to Plod Along http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/chart-day-economy-continues-plod-along <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>GDP was up in the second quarter, but our economy is still not exactly a house afire. Preliminary results indicate an increase of 2.3 percent:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_gdp_q2_2015.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 15px 8px;"></p> <p>The BEA explains where <a href="http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/gdpnewsrelease.htm" target="_blank">last quarter's growth came from:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The acceleration in real GDP growth in the second quarter reflected an upturn in exports, an acceleration in PCE, a deceleration in imports, and an upturn in state and local government spending that were partly offset by downturns in private inventory investment, in nonresidential fixed investment, and in federal government spending and a deceleration in residential fixed investment....<strong>Real personal consumption expenditures increased 2.9 percent in the second quarter, compared with an increase of 1.8 percent in the first.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Really, the chart tells the whole story. As you can see, 2.3 percent growth is about....average since the recession ended. Not great, not horrible. Every time we manage to get into third gear for a little while, we hit a bump and end up back in second. It's now been eight years since the economy imploded, and we're still just muddling along. It's not clear what it will take to improve things.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 30 Jul 2015 14:51:47 +0000 Kevin Drum 280936 at http://www.motherjones.com This Map Shows What San Francisco Will Look Like After Sea Levels Rise http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/07/map-shows-what-san-francisco-bay-will-look-after-sea-level-rise <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Developers in the booming San Francisco Bay Area are busy planning everything from much-needed <a href="http://ww2.kqed.org/arts/2015/07/21/city-plans-to-transform-treasure-island-with-50-million-for-public-art/" target="_blank">new housing</a> to <a href="http://www.nba.com/warriors/sf" target="_blank">sports stadiums</a> and <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2015/02/27/googleplex_google_plans_new_headquarters_in_mountain_view_s_north_bayshore.html" target="_blank">gleaming tech campuses</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://sfpublicpress.org/searise" target="_blank">But according to a new report</a> just published by the<em> San Francisco Public Press</em>, many of these construction projects sit on land susceptible to rising waters due to climate change. And regulators and local governments are not doing much to prepare.&nbsp;</p> <p>The<em> Public Press</em> found 27 major commercial and residential developments that will be vulnerable to flooding if San Francisco Bay sea levels rise as much as climate researchers like the National Research Council project in the next century. These developments include a new stadium for the Golden State Warriors, campuses being built by Google and Facebook, and revamped public spaces like San Francisco's iconic ferry terminal and Jack London Square in Oakland.</p> <p>To make its maps, the <em>Public Press</em> partnered with the University of California-Berkeley Cartography and Geographic Information System Education Lab and used flooding and sea level projections from the US Geological Survey and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission predicts that in the next hundred years, water levels in the Bay could rise as much as 8 feet over high tide at current levels, including storm surge:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="900" mozallowfullscreen="" msallowfullscreen="" oallowfullscreen="" src="https://amandabee.cartodb.com/viz/00d63d00-3598-11e5-adac-0e018d66dc29/embed_map" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>Despite the fact that more than $21 billion of new development is at stake, the report found that very little is being done to prepare for potential waterfront flooding risk. While most cities and counties around the Bay Area have begun studying the effects of sea level rise, none have actually enacted climate adaptation plans, like updating flood plain ordinances and buildings codes. Only one county (Santa Clara) has revised its local flooding maps.</p> <p>We've <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/07/hurricane-sandy-global-warming-flooding" target="_blank">seen before</a> in other major urban areas that such short-sightedness can lead to staggering costs. Many scientists and environmental advocates believe the Bay Area could experience similar devastation if more is not done to adapt to climate change.</p> <p>Brian Beveridge, co-director of the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, told the <em>Public Press</em>, "It's going to fall down along lines of class and political power&mdash;who will be protected and who will be thrown to the dogs."</p></body></html> Blue Marble Maps Climate Change Wed, 29 Jul 2015 23:24:31 +0000 Luke Whelan 280811 at http://www.motherjones.com Opposition to Iran Nuclear Deal Just Keeps Getting Weirder and Weirder http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/opposition-iran-nuclear-deal-just-keeps-getting-weirder-and-weirder <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The congressional hearings into the Iran nuclear deal continue apace. <a href="http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/who-wins-the-war-between-us-and-iran" target="_blank">Steve Benen</a> points us today to this lovely exchange between Sen. Lindsey Graham and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter:</p> <blockquote> <p><iframe align="right" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="258" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/nrc0vxejqas" style="margin: -5px 0px 15px 30px;" width="400"></iframe><strong>Graham:</strong> Does the Supreme Leader's religious views compel him over time to destroy Israel and attack America?</p> <p><strong>Carter:</strong> I don't know. I don't know the man. I only &mdash;</p> <p><strong>Graham:</strong> Well let me tell you, I do. I know the man. I know what he wants. And if you don't know that, this is not a good deal.</p> <p><strong>Graham:</strong> Could we win a war with Iran? Who wins the war between us and Iran? Who wins? Do you have any doubt who wins?</p> <p><strong>Carter:</strong> No. The United States.</p> <p><strong>Graham:</strong> We. Win.</p> </blockquote> <p>So there you have it: (a) the Ayatollah unquestionably wants to destroy Israel and attack America, and (b) there is no doubt America would win this war. This sounds like mighty poor strategic thinking on the Ayatollah's part to me, since presumably he knows as much as Lindsey Graham about the relative military strength of Iran and the United States. But I guess his pesky religious views compel him to commit national suicide anyway.</p> <p>Now, you might be skeptical that Graham knows the Ayatollah as well as he thinks he does, or knows his religious views in any depth either. But even if we give him the benefit of the doubt on that score, his apparent view of things still doesn't make sense. If the Ayatollah is as committed to war as Graham thinks, why would he bother with this deal in the first place? According to conservatives (I'm not sure what the CIA thinks these days), Iran is currently less than a year from being able to build a nuclear bomb. So why not just build a few and start the war? It can't be because the sanctions matter. If war is inevitable thanks to the Ayatollah's religious views, but America is going to win the war by reducing Iran to a glassy plain, who cares about a few more years of sanctions? Most Iranians are going to be dead a few hours after the war starts anyway.</p> <p>So....it's all still mysterious. Conservatives don't like the deal Obama negotiated. Fine. But we can't go back to the status quo. If we pull out of the deal, economic sanctions will decay pretty quickly and Iran will have lots of additional money <em>and</em> be a year away from building a bomb. The only other alternative is war. Graham is more open about this than most conservatives, but even he realizes he has to be cagey about it. He can't quite come out and just say that we should go to war with Iran before they build a bomb. So instead he tosses in an oddly pointless question about who would win a war between Iran and America. Why? Some kind of dog whistle, I guess. Those with ears to hear understand what it means: Graham wants to see cruise missiles flying. The rest of us are left scratching our chins.</p> <p>It all just gets weirder and weirder. The deal on the table, imperfect as it might be, doesn't restrict American freedom of action at all. Plus it has a pretty stringent inspection regime and would prevent Iran from building a bomb for at least ten years&mdash;probably longer. That's better than what we have now, so why not go ahead and sign the deal and then use the next ten years to figure out what to do next? What's the downside?</p> <p>I can't really think of one except that it makes a shooting war less likely over the next decade. I call that a feature. I guess Graham and his crowd call it a bug.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 29 Jul 2015 21:25:18 +0000 Kevin Drum 280911 at http://www.motherjones.com Here's Your Reminder That Donald Trump's 2 Sons Are Also Big-Game Hunters http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/07/donald-trumps-kids-are-also-big-game-hunters <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Tuesday, an American dentist admitted to paying $50,000 to <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/07/walter-palmer-cecil-lion-hunt" target="_blank">hunt and kill Cecil the lion</a>, a beloved animal and popular tourist attraction in Zimbabwe. News of the killing sparked swift condemnation on social media, with many calling for Walter Palmer to be extradited to Zimbabwe to stand trial.</p> <p>Amid the outrage, photos quickly resurfaced of Donald Trump's sons,&nbsp;Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, posing with the dead bodies of several exotic animals, including an African elephant and leopard, they had previously hunted for sport.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/osgAJOApXt0" width="630"></iframe></p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Donaldtrump?src=hash">#Donaldtrump</a> son kills African elephant,cuts off tail to show off <a href="http://t.co/74l9YouWv3">http://t.co/74l9YouWv3</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WalterPalmer?src=hash">#WalterPalmer</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CecilTheLion?src=hash">#CecilTheLion</a> <a href="http://t.co/P7ppYkm5Va">pic.twitter.com/P7ppYkm5Va</a></p> &mdash; Zimbabwe Today (@ZimToday) <a href="https://twitter.com/ZimToday/status/626073016032751616">July 28, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>When the photos initially emerged online back in 2012, the Trump brothers staunchly defended themselves, taking to Twitter to "make no apologies."</p> <p>"In some parts its over populated. Bottom line with out hunters $ there wouldn't be much left of africa. Eco is nice but no $," one tweet from <a href="https://twitter.com/DonaldJTrumpJr/status/179507733672902657" target="_blank">Trump Jr. read. </a></p> <p>The public reminder is just the latest relic in Trump's past to stir controversy. This week alone, the <em>New York Times </em>dug up a series of depositions in which the GOP frontrunner for president once told a female lawyer she was <a href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CB8QqQIwAGoVChMIyqzXlI-BxwIVwWk-Ch0ybQxf&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2015%2F07%2F29%2Fus%2Fpolitics%2Fdepositions-show-donald-trump-as-quick-to-exaggerate-and-insult.html&amp;ei=Vi-5VcqpL8HT-QGy2rH4BQ&amp;usg=AFQjCNHdwo1AP8_88uKMErbZXVv6XDAbFw&amp;bvm=bv.99028883,d.cWw" target="_blank">"disgusting" for pumping milk</a> for her then three-month-old daughter. The day prior, the <em>Daily Beast</em> published a story resurfacing an old assertion from his former wife claiming he had once <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/07/27/ex-wife-donald-trump-made-feel-violated-during-sex.html" target="_blank">raped her. </a></p></body></html> Mixed Media 2016 Elections Animals Wed, 29 Jul 2015 20:28:33 +0000 Inae Oh 280896 at http://www.motherjones.com Marco Rubio Uses Cecil the Lion to Shame Planned Parenthood Supporters http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/07/marco-rubio-cecil-lion-planned-parenthood <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Today, Marco Rubio couldn't resist attempting to conflate two recent controversies&mdash;an <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/07/walter-palmer-cecil-lion-hunt" target="_blank">American dentist's admission</a> he killed Cecil the lion and a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/planned-parenthood-sting-videos-explained" target="_blank">sting operation</a> currently targeting Planned Parenthood&mdash;for the following take:</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Look at all this outrage over a dead lion, but where is all the outrage over the planned parenthood dead babies.</p> &mdash; Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) <a href="https://twitter.com/marcorubio/status/626454765275361281">July 29, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>The tweet, aside from demonstrating a clear lack of grammar skills, mirrors similar statements from the likes of <a href="http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2015/07/29/we_cry_over_the_death_of_cecil_the_lion_but_shrug_off_planned_parenthood" target="_blank">Rush Limbaugh</a> asserting the same blend of crazy. Rubio should probably lay off of Twitter and get back to actually <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2015/07/marco-rubio-2016-job-senator-absentee-120643.html" target="_blank">doing his job. </a></p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Animals Reproductive Rights Wed, 29 Jul 2015 19:16:31 +0000 Inae Oh 280891 at http://www.motherjones.com Millennials Living In Their Parents' Home Is Finally Starting to Taper Off http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/millennials-living-their-parents-home-finally-starting-taper <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Pew has a new report out showing that even five years after the recession ended, more young adults are living with their parents than before the recession. This is despite the fact that unemployment among 20-somethings has dropped dramatically. <a href="http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/07/29/more-millennials-living-with-family-despite-improved-job-market/" target="_blank">What's more, this trend is pretty widespread:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The decline in independent living since the recovery began is apparent among both better-educated young adults and their less-educated counterparts....This suggests that trends in young adult living arrangements are not being driven by labor market fortunes, as college-educated young adults have experienced a stronger labor market recovery than less-educated young adults.</p> <p>Trends in living arrangements also show no significant gender differences during the recovery. However, in 2015, 63% of Millennial men lived independently of family, compared with 72% of Millennial women. But a similar gender difference <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_pew_young_adults_living_parents.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">existed during the Great Recession, and both young men and young women are less likely to live independently today than they were five years ago.</p> </blockquote> <p>But the news might not be quite as bleak as Pew suggests. Take a look at the arrows in the chart on the right. The upward trend in living at home continued to rise through 2013, but it finally began to drop a couple of years ago. That's not surprising since it's pretty likely that there's a certain amount of hysteresis in this phenomenon; that is, a lag between the economy improving and kids moving into their own places. This might be because wages remained low for several years after the technical end of the recession. It might be because higher debt levels took a while to pay down. It might be that it simply took a few years for recession-induced fear to end. Why move out if you're not sure the economy is really on a long-term roll?</p> <p>There's not much question that 20-somethings of this generation have it worse than my generation, which in turn had it worse than the previous generation. That means the recession hit them especially hard. But if these trends are right, it looks like optimism about work and income is finally starting to slowly improve. It's not great news, but it's good news.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:47:40 +0000 Kevin Drum 280881 at http://www.motherjones.com Watch What It's Like to Live Amidst Industrial Hog Farms http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2015/07/video-were-hog-producer-world-yay-usa <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Q5MxvjYS2-E" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>As I <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2015/07/bacon-jbs-cargill-pork" target="_blank">showed recently</a>, the United States is emerging as the world's hog farm&mdash;the country where massive foreign meat companies like Brazil's JBS and China's WH Group (formerly Shuanghui) alight when they want to take advantage of rising global demand for pork. (If JBS's recent deal to buy Cargill's US hog operations goes through, JBS and WH Group together will slaughter 45 percent of hogs grown in the United States.)</p> <p>A recent <a href="http://qz.com/433750/the-world-eats-cheap-bacon-at-the-expense-of-north-carolinas-rural-poor/" target="_blank">piece</a> by Lily Kuo in <em>Quartz</em> (companion video above) documents what our status as the world's source of cheap pork means for the people who live in industrial-hog country. It focuses on Duplin County in eastern North Carolina, which houses "about&nbsp;<a href="http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/wq/animal-facility-map">530 hog operations</a>&nbsp;with capacity for over 2 million pigs &hellip;.one of the highest concentrations of large, tightly-controlled indoor hog operations, also known as CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) in the world." In Duplin, "hogs outnumber humans almost 32 to 1," Kuo reports. And that means living amid lots and lots of pig shit&mdash;the county's hog facilities generate twice the annual waste of the entire population of New York City.</p> <p>As I've <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2012/11/industrial-scale-hog-farming-screws-small-towns" target="_blank">shown before</a>, the hog industry doesn't build wealth in the communities where it operates&mdash;the opposite, in fact. "Almost a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line, making Duplin County one of the poorest counties in North Carolina," Kuo writes. "It is also disproportionately black and Hispanic compared to the rest of the state."</p></body></html> Tom Philpott Food and Ag Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:33:43 +0000 Tom Philpott 280866 at http://www.motherjones.com There's a New Planned Parenthood Video, But There's Just Nothing There http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/theres-new-planned-parenthood-video-theres-just-nothing-there <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Another day, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xw2xi9mhmuo" target="_blank">another video hit job on Planned Parenthood.</a> Apparently the strategy here is to release new videos every three or four days and hope that mere repetition is enough to convince people that something&mdash;<em>something</em>&mdash;must <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hand_drawing_hand.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">be wrong here. Over at <em>National Review</em>, <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/planned-parenthood-video-baby-hands-ian-tuttle" target="_blank">Ian Tuttle is disturbed:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>At the 10:22 mark of the Center for Medical Progress&rsquo;s latest video, released today, there is a picture of a hand. By the curve of the thumb and the articulation of the fingers, one can see that it is a right hand. It was formerly the right hand of an 11.6-week-old fetus; it is now part of the various organic odds and ends being sifted through on a plate in the pathology lab of a Planned Parenthood clinic.</p> <p>....I keep calling it a hand. Maybe I shouldn&rsquo;t....But I see a hand &mdash; five fingers and lines across the joints, like you learn to sketch in art class. I see a hand in form no different from my own. Or no different from Horowitz&rsquo;s hands, or Edison&rsquo;s, or Michelangelo&rsquo;s.</p> <p>The most famous image Michelangelo painted was of hands: God&rsquo;s hand extended to Adam&rsquo;s....The sculptor Auguste Rodin spent much of his life fashioning hands....Rodin prefigured Heidegger&rsquo;s observation: &ldquo;My hand . . . is not a piece of me. I myself am entirely in each gesture of the hand, every single time.&rdquo;....Galen of Pergamon, the great Greek physician, in his treatise <em>On the Use of the Various Parts of the Body</em>, noted that to man alone had the Creator chosen to give the hand, the only instrument &ldquo;applicable to every art and occasion&rdquo;:</p> <p>....The gods, the arts, survival, history &mdash; all that we are has required, literally, many hands. In the hand, the whole man, and in the man, the whole cosmos.</p> <p>Now, in a pie dish, for sale.</p> </blockquote> <p>That's very poetic, but like the video itself, tells us nothing. Yes, Planned Parenthood donates fetal tissue to medical research facilities. They charge enough to cover their costs, nothing more. Among the tissue they donate are hands. And this is not a sinister "black market," as the video claims: It's done in the open with the permission of the mother, and the tissue is transferred only to qualified researchers.</p> <p>The idea behind the video, of course, is that it's supposed to automatically trigger disgust in us. And it does. After all, most of us felt a little disgusted when we dissected frogs in 9th grade biology. It's just part of human nature, and the Planned Parenthood haters are smart to take advantage of it.</p> <p>But you know what? I'm an organ donor. I'm not sure my organs are actually safe for harvesting anymore, but if they are, then my body will be chopped up and used for its best and highest purpose when I'm dead. Some organs will be used for transplants, I hope. Some will be given to research laboratories. Some may end up as the raw materials for other stuff. If I were alive and watching, I'd probably feel pretty queasy. And yet, no one really blinks an eye at the routine job of harvesting organs and tissue from dead people who have given their permission.</p> <p>This is no different. It's every bit as altruistic and admirable as harvesting useful tissue from adults. Period.</p> <p>So far, the worst anyone has come up with from these videos is that some of the Planned Parenthood folks caught on tape used a "tone" that was unfortunate. Give me a break. This is the way any doctor talks among other health care professionals. They're experienced enough to talk plainly about their work in private, and they make jokes about it like any normal person. It's simply wrong to pretend that this is anything ominous.</p> <p>And that hand on the pie dish? Who knows? It might save someone's life someday.</p> <p><strong>POSTSCRIPT:</strong> And I'll repeat what I said before. If you think abortion is murder, then of course you object to the use of organs and tissue from aborted fetuses. If you don't, then you think it's fine. There's nothing new going on here. It's just a slightly different twist on the same fight between pro-lifers and pro-choicers that's been going on for decades</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:57:56 +0000 Kevin Drum 280856 at http://www.motherjones.com Health Care Spending Growth Will Rise a Bit Over the Next Decade, But Only a Bit http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/health-care-spending-growth-will-rise-bit-over-next-decade-only-bit <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_health_spending_growth.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">By coincidence, a new article in <em>Health Affairs</em> confirms an offhand guess I made a few days ago. <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/medicare-cost-projections-are-down-stunningly-2015-report" target="_blank">I wrote,</a> "I happen to think the slowdown in medical costs is real, and will continue for some time (though not at the extremely low rates of the past few years)." <a href="http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/early/2015/07/15/hlthaff.2015.0600" target="_blank">The <em>Health Affair</em>s researchers write:</a> "Recent historically low growth rates in the use of medical goods and services, as well as medical prices, are expected to gradually increase. However, in part because of the impact of continued cost-sharing increases that are anticipated among health plans, the acceleration of these growth rates is expected to be modest."</p> <p>As the <em>Wall Street Journal</em> notes, this is is similar to what <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-health-spending-growth-jumped-to-5-5-in-2014-1438114020" target="_blank">Medicare actuaries have been saying for a while:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The actuaries again Tuesday pointed to the stronger economy and aging population as the main factors in shaping Medicare&rsquo;s future spending.</p> <p>Prescription-drug spending, long a target of warnings from the insurance industry, drew particular attention from the actuaries, who pointed to a big rise in spending growth there as costly new specialty drugs such as Sovaldi, for hepatitis C, came on the market in 2014. Spending growth on pharmaceutical products jumped by 12.6% in 2014, up from 2.5% in 2013....In all, health care will comprise about a fifth of the U.S. economy by 2024, <strong>and the growth rate will exceed the expected average growth in gross domestic product by 1.1 percentage points.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>So: good news or bad news? The bad news is that health care spending keeps increasing steadily. It's currently about 17 percent of GDP and will increase to about 20 percent of GDP over the next decade. The good news is that this is slow growth: only about 1.1 percent higher than overall economic growth. Any other time in the past 30 years we would have killed for a growth rate that low.</p> <p>There's probably no way to avoid health care costs growing at least a little faster than the rest of the economy. We keep making advances, and our revealed preferences are pretty clear on at least one point: we value health care highly and are willing to pay more for it even at the expense of other items. That probably won't be true forever, but it's true for now.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:02:42 +0000 Kevin Drum 280846 at http://www.motherjones.com Michael Bay Made a Movie About Benghazi and It Looks Insane http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/07/guy-armageddon-made-movie-about-benghazi-and-it-looks-insane <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Anthropomorphic stick of dynamite Michael Bay, the director of <em>The Rock</em>, <em>Armageddon</em>, <em>Bad Boys</em>, <em>Bad Boys II</em>, and four <em>Transformers</em> movies (also <em>Pain and Gain</em>&mdash;don't forget <em>Pain and Gain</em>!), has made a movie about the September 11, 2012, attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead.</p> <p>The movie's release date is January 15, 2016&mdash;just in time for the Iowa caucuses.</p> <p>The film, <em>13 Hours</em>, based on a book by the same name, is sure to prompt lots of discussion&mdash;intelligent and otherwise&mdash;on the presidential candidacy of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was in charge of the State Department at the time of the attack. Here's the trailer:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/SqM9eF3vbWM?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Foreign Policy Media Military Wed, 29 Jul 2015 14:58:15 +0000 Tim Murphy 280836 at http://www.motherjones.com Jimmy Kimmel Slams the American Dentist Who Killed Cecil the Lion http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/07/jimmy-kimmel-cecil-lion <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_LzXpE1mjqA" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Following news an American dentist admitted to paying $50,000 to hunt and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/07/walter-palmer-cecil-lion-hunt" target="_blank">kill Cecil the lion</a>, Zimbabwe's most beloved animal, comedian Jimmy Kimmel took to his show on Tuesday night to deliver an emotional response.</p> <p>"The big question is: Why are you shooting a lion in the first place?," Kimmel said. "I mean, I'm honestly curious to know why a human being would feel compelled to do that. How is that fun? Is it that difficult for you to get an erection that you need to kill things that are stronger than you? If that's the case, they have a pill for that. It works great. Just stay home and swallow it, and you save yourself a lifetime of being the most hated man in America who never advertised JELL-O Pudding on television."</p> <p>The segment included photos of previous animals baited and hunted by the Minnesota dentist, identified as Walter Palmer.</p> <p>Kimmel's monologue mirrored outrage seen on social media after Zimbabwean authorities revealed on Tuesday that Palmer was behind the brutal hunt. The 13-year-old lion was seen as a national treasure in the country.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Animals Film and TV International Media Wed, 29 Jul 2015 14:31:12 +0000 Inae Oh 280831 at http://www.motherjones.com These National Parks Got an "F" in Air Pollution http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/07/these-national-parks-have-worst-air-pollution <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>It's late summer, and Americans are flocking to the country's national parks for some recreation and fresh air.</p> <p>But a <a href="http://www.npca.org/assets/pdf/NPCA-Polluted-Parks-July-2015.pdf" target="_blank">study</a> released this week by the National Parks Conservation Association found that air in some of the country's most popular parks is not so fresh&mdash;and it's potentially hazardous. The report rated the country's 48 parks in three categories: levels of ozone (a pollutant that can irritate or damage lungs), haziness, and the impacts of climate change on the park. Here are the 12 worst contenders (full list available <a href="http://www.npca.org/assets/pdf/NPCA-Polluted-Parks-July-2015.pdf" target="_blank">here</a>):</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/polluted-parks-list.png"><div class="caption">National Parks Conservation Association</div> </div> <p>Ozone is a pollutant common in smog, and it's particularly prevalent on hot summer days. Seventy-five percent of the parks had ozone levels between 2008 and 2012 that were "moderate" or worse, according to the federal government's <a href="http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=pubs.aqiguideozone" target="_blank">Air Quality Index</a>. Four national parks&mdash;Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Joshua Tree, and Yosemite&mdash;regularly have "unhealthy" ozone levels, meaning that the average hiker should reduce strenuous activity and those with asthma should avoid it altogether. (You can see the air quality in your area <a href="http://airnow.gov" target="_blank">here</a>.)</p> <p>Jobs at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, including those indoors, come with pollution warnings saying that at times the air quality "may pose human health problems due to air pollution," according to the report.</p> <p>Pollution doesn't just make visitors and employees sick; it also ruins one of the parks' main attractions: the views. Smog affects vistas in all of the parks; on average, air pollution obstructs fifty miles from view. Here are some examples of how far visitors can see in miles today compared to "natural" levels, when air isn't affected by human activity.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/visibility-in-miles.png"><div class="caption">National Parks Conservation Association</div> </div> <p>The NPCA didn't look into specific causes of air pollution in each location, but generally, the the report attributes it to the the usual suspects: coal-fired power plants, cars, and industrial and agricultural emissions. Under the <a href="http://www.epa.gov/visibility/program.html" target="_blank">Regional Haze Program</a>, developed by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1999, states are required to implement air quality protection plans that reduce human-caused pollution in national parks, the NPCA contends that loopholes prevent power plants and other big polluters from being affected by the rules.</p> <p>Ulla Reeves, the manager of the NPCA's clean air campaign, maintains that if enforcement for the Regional Haze Program isn't improved, only 10 percent of the national parks will have clean air in 50 years. "It's surprising and disappointing that parks don't have the clean air that we assume them to have and that they must have under the law."</p></body></html> Blue Marble Charts Climate Change Econundrums Top Stories Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:05:11 +0000 Julia Lurie 280806 at http://www.motherjones.com Scientists Say Supposedly Miraculous Ingredients in Weed Killers Don't Actually Work http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2015/07/are-farmers-using-nanotech-fight-superweeds <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Before pesticides go from the laboratory to the farm field, they have to first be vetted by the Environmental Protection Agency. But they're commonly mixed&mdash;sometimes by the pesticide manufacturers, sometimes by the farmers themselves&mdash;with substances called adjuvants that boost their effectiveness (to spread more evenly on a plant's leaf in the case of insecticides, or to penetrate a plant's outer layer, allowing herbicides to effectively kill weeds). Despite their ubiquity, adjuvants aren't vetted by the EPA at all; they're considered "inert" ingredients.</p> <p>I first wrote about them last year, when <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/04/california-almond-farms-blamed-honeybee-die" target="_blank">adjuvants mixed with fungicides came under suspicion</a> of triggering a large bee&nbsp;die-off during California's almond bloom. Recently, an <a href="http://www.agprofessional.com/news/adjuvants-alone-won%E2%80%99t-solve-glyphosate-resistance">eye-popping article</a> by Purdue weed scientists in the trade journal <em>Ag Professional</em> brought them to my attention again. The piece illustrates the unregulated, Wild West nature of these additives.</p> <p>In the article, the authors note that two companies are hotly promoting adjuvant products as a kind of miracle cure for the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.country-guide.ca/2015/07/17/herbicide-resistance-selection-pressure-reducing-options-for-weed-control/46999/">ever-increasing scourge </a>of herbicide-resistant weeds. That's a bold claim, given that resistant weeds <a href="http://stratusresearch.com/blog/glyphosate-resistant-weeds-intensifying" target="_blank">now plague more than 60 million acres of farmland</a>.</p> <p>Odder still, both companies attribute their products' effectiveness to nanotechnology, a controversial, lightly regulated engineering tool that leverages the fact that when you break common substances into tiny particles, they behave in radically different ways than they do at normal sizes. Nanoparticles are so tiny, their size is measured in nanometers&mdash;a billionth of a meter. (A human hair is about 80,000 nanometers thick; nanoparticles typically measure in at less than 100 nanometers.)</p> <p>An adjuvant called <a href="http://extension.entm.purdue.edu/pestcrop/2015/Issue16/ChemXcel.pdf">ChemXcel</a>, from a Minnesota-based company called C&amp;R Enterprises, claims to "kill herbicide-resistant weeds" when mixed with common herbicides like glyphosate. It works its magic through "patented, proprietary nano-drivers" that "alter the glyphosate chemistry" by "coating the individual DNA gene-sequencing molecules internally," the company claims.</p> <p>Then there's <a href="http://maxsystemsag.com/products/ag-products/nanorevolution-20%E2%84%A2">NanoRevolution 2.0</a>, marketed by a company called Max Systems. When goosed with a bit of NanoRevolution 2.0, the company <a href="http://extension.entm.purdue.edu/pestcrop/2015/Issue16/NanoTechSheet.pdf">states</a>, "the herbicide 'piggybacks' onto the nano particles as they penetrate the leaf structure, carrying the herbicide directly to the root system for a faster enhanced plant absorption of herbicides even on hard-to-control weeds."</p> <p>Taken aback by the claims and the use of nanotech, I contacted the EPA to see what, if anything, the agency had to say. "While we are not familiar with those particular products, EPA has jurisdiction over substances that meet the definition of pesticides, that is, claims are made for them that they kill, repel, prevent, or otherwise control pests," an Environmental Protection Agency spokesperson wrote in an email. "As long as pesticide adjuvant products don&rsquo;t make pesticidal claims, they are not pesticides and the components of adjuvants are therefore not pesticide ingredients (either active or inert)"&mdash;and thus not subject to EPA vetting. Manufacturers aren't even required to list ingredients in adjuvants.</p> <p>Here, for example, is Max Systems describes the ingredients of NanoRevolution 2.0:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20Shot%202015-07-28%20at%204.25.52%20PM%20copy.jpg"></div> <p>Purdue weed scientist Bill Johnson, who co-authored the <em>Ag Professional</em> piece, says he and his team found that neither of these "nano" products work as advertised. "I began getting calls about&nbsp;reports that these things were being pushed in northern Indiana, and I thought, we need to prove or disprove the claims."</p> <p>So he and colleagues tested the products on a weed patch known to be glyphosate resistant, mixing them with glyphosate at levels recommended by the manufactures. The results, published in the trade journal <em>Ag Professional</em>, were underwhelming. On its own, Roundup (Monsanto's version of the glyphosate herbicide) killed just 13.8 percent of weeds. Mixed with ChemXcel, it killed 15 percent of weeds, while the called NanoRevolution 2.0/Roundup mix killed 18 percent of weeds.</p> <p>Johnson explained that herbicides are always mixed with adjuvants&mdash;they're typically needed to help the herbicide penetrate a weed's outer layer. But these particular ones perform no better or worse than conventional adjuvants on the market. But they don't come anywhere near to solving the herbicide-resistance problem, as the companies claim to do.</p> <p>C.J. Mannenga, co owner of C&amp;R Enterprises, pushed back strongly on Johnson's assessment and challenged his results. "We know our product works," he said. "We've shown it in Georgia, we've shown in Ohio, we've shown it in Missouri, we've shown it&nbsp;in Iowa," he said. When we spoke Tuesday afternoon, Mannenga told me that he was in Osborne, Kansas, about to "meet with a major [agrichemical] distributor" who is "extremely interested in the product ...&nbsp;I'm going to do a demonstration to show them indeed it does work."</p> <p>While the product's information sheet doesn't list its active ingredients, he readily revealed it to me: "it's just carbon nanotubes."</p> <p>Carbon nanotubes&nbsp; are one of the most controversial nanoparticles&mdash;often <a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/carbon-nanotube-danger/">compared to asbestos</a> for their ability to lodge into the lungs and cause trouble when they're breathed in. This <a href="http://www.sustainableproduction.org/downloads/ECN_casestudy_0325.pdf">2014 assessment</a> by researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell is hardly comforting:</p> <blockquote> <p>Though ecosystem impacts remain understudied across the CNT [carbon nanotube] lifecycle, evidence suggests that some aquatic organisms may&nbsp;be at risk. While there have been significant advances in the regulation of CNTs in recent years, the lack of attention to the potential carcinogenic effects of these nanomaterials means that current&nbsp;efforts may provide a false sense of security.</p> </blockquote> <p>Meanwhile, no one employed by NanoRevolution 2.0 maker Max Systems returned my request for comment.</p></body></html> Tom Philpott Food and Ag Top Stories Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:00:08 +0000 Tom Philpott 280821 at http://www.motherjones.com Mark Cuban Has the Dumbest Reason For Supporting Donald Trump http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/07/the-lakers-are-the-best-team-in-the-nba <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Mark Cuban is a famous billionaire. He owns the Dallas Mavericks. He also appeared on a <a href="https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CB8QtwIwAGoVChMIpPqZr8f-xgIVwZYeCh3Jogb6&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DIAp1Jb_p8G4&amp;ei=n9e3VeSuIsGtesnFmtAP&amp;usg=AFQjCNHI5YjDyTbGa2Y6RNFcASmW3bGdcQ&amp;bvm=bv.98717601,d.dmo" target="_blank">few episodes</a> of the terrible TV show <em>Entourage</em>. He apparently is <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/07/28/mark-cuban-summarized-donald-trumps-appeal-in-just-43-words/?postshare=6231438110823464" target="_blank">quite the fan of Donald Trump's presidential campaign</a>!</p> <p>Why, you ask? Let him <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/mark-cuban-donald-trump-best-thing-2015-7#ixzz3hDFRnNlv" target="_blank">explain</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>I don't care what his actual positions are. I don't care if he says the wrong thing. He says what's on his mind. He gives honest answers rather than prepared answers. This is more important than anything any candidate has done in years.</p> </blockquote> <p>He doesn't care what his actual positions are? You can never know what is in a politician's heart. Literally all you can go on are their actions and deeds.</p> <p>This is bad reasoning and Mark Cuban should feel bad.</p></body></html> MoJo Tue, 28 Jul 2015 19:36:08 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 280801 at http://www.motherjones.com Boehner Planning to Pick Up His Ball and Go Home http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/boehner-planning-pick-his-ball-and-go-home <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/images/Blog_US_Capitol_0.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Is it just me, or is this trick <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/house-gop-lawmakers-look-for-way-around-highway-funding-impasse-1438091252" target="_blank">getting a little old?</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Mr. Boehner said the three-month [highway] bill could come up for a House vote on Wednesday. <strong>If the bill passes, the House would adjourn for an August recess Wednesday,</strong> a day earlier than previously planned, a House GOP aide said. That would leave the Senate to accept one of the two House highway bills or to immediately cut off federal reimbursements to states for transportation projects. The Senate will have a hard time completing its highway bill before Thursday.</p> </blockquote> <p>I need some scholarly help here. Has it been common in the past for one house to pass a bill and then immediately adjourn, leaving the other house with the option of either passing their bill or shutting down a chunk of government? Or is this something new that modern Republicans have discovered? Historians of Congress, please chime in.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 28 Jul 2015 18:55:05 +0000 Kevin Drum 280791 at http://www.motherjones.com This American Trophy Hunter Allegedly Beheaded Zimbabwe's Most Beloved Lion http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/07/walter-palmer-cecil-lion-hunt <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><strong>Update, July 28, 4:40 p.m.: </strong>Walter Palmer <a href="http://www.startribune.com/read-the-full-statement-from-walter-palmer/318947551/" target="_blank">released a statement</a> Tuesday afternoon saying he "deeply regrets" killing Cecil the Lion and implied he may have been misled by local guides.</p> <p>A Minnesota dentist has been identified as the big game hunter who allegedly paid $50,000 to <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/zimbabwe/11767119/Cecil-the-lions-killer-revealed-as-American-dentist.html" target="_blank">kill Cecil the Lion</a>, one of Zimbabwe's most beloved animals, and a main tourist attraction for the Hwange National Park. Zimbabwean police said Walter Palmer is now being investigated for baiting the 13-year-old lion and then killing the animal with a crossbow.</p> <p>"They went hunting at night with a spotlight and they spotted Cecil," Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force's <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/28/killer-of-cecil-the-lion-was-american-zimbabwe-officials-claim" target="_blank">Johnny Rodrigues said</a>, according to <em>The Guardian</em>. "They tied a dead animal to their vehicle to lure Cecil out of the park and they scented an area about half a kilometer from the park."</p> <p>"He never bothered anybody. He was one of the most beautiful animals to look at," he added.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/H4a2htZ2wIQ" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Palmer has been accused of paying local hunters, two of whom have since been <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/53d983a8f9d5423883a462feb773c18d/zimbabwe-2-appear-court-killing-cecil-lion" target="_blank">arrested</a>, to aid the hunt. According to Zimbabwean officials, Cecil was also skinned and beheaded.</p> <p>According to Minnesota's Star Tribune, Palmer is preparing to dispute some of the allegations. "Obviously, some things are being misreported," he said, <a href="http://lhttp://www.startribune.com/zimbabwe-2-to-appear-in-court-for-killing-cecil-the-lion/318828251/" target="_blank">according to the report</a>. Palmer's spokesman told <em>The Guardian</em> that "Walter believes that he might have shot that lion that has been referred to as Cecil," but added that Palmer believed "he had the proper legal permits and he had hired several professional guides."</p> <p>News of Cecil's killing was swiftly met with outrage on social media. Since being identified as Cecil's alleged killer, Palmer's dental business in Minnesota&mdash;<a href="https://twitter.com/PaulBlume_FOX9/status/626049305380540417" target="_blank">which was closed on Tuesday</a>&mdash;has been flooded by negative <a href="http://www.yelp.com/biz/river-bluff-dental-bloomington?osq=walter+palmer" target="_blank">Yelp reviews </a>condemning the allegations.</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">I hope justice is served to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WalterPalmer?src=hash">#WalterPalmer</a>, the heartless bastard that killed <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CecilTheLion?src=hash">#CecilTheLion</a> <a href="http://t.co/ajHVLOUIti">http://t.co/ajHVLOUIti</a> <a href="http://t.co/LwsmRkrK0R">pic.twitter.com/LwsmRkrK0R</a></p> &mdash; Ryan Phinny (@RyanPhinny) <a href="https://twitter.com/RyanPhinny/status/626064963442839556">July 28, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" height="238" src="/files/yelp.png" width="536"><div class="caption">Yelp</div> </div> <p>In 2009, Palmer was profiled by the <em>New York Times </em>for a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/sports/13elk.html" target="_blank">feature</a> on the controversial sport of trophy hunting in which he described his ambition for setting new hunting records. He told the paper he learned to shoot at the age of five. In 2008, Palmer pled guilty to lying to federal officials about where a black bear had been killed.</p> <p>"We are extremely saddened by the news of Cecil the Lion being illegally killed for sport&mdash;not only from an animal welfare perspective, but also for conservation reasons," Jeff Flocken, North American Regional Director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare said in a statement. "African lion populations have declined sharply, dropping nearly 60 percent in the last three decades."</p></body></html> Mixed Media Animals Crime and Justice Tue, 28 Jul 2015 17:46:36 +0000 Inae Oh 280786 at http://www.motherjones.com Unlike Dad, Rand Paul Is More Interested in Winning Than in His Principles http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/unlike-dad-rand-paul-more-interested-winning-his-principles <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Harry Enten tells us that Rand Paul <a href="http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/whats-wrong-with-rand-pauls-campaign/" target="_blank">isn't doing too well:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Something is awry at the Rand Paul campaign. The main super PAC supporting his presidential bid raised just $3.1 million in the first half of 2015....On Sunday, a new NBC News/Marist poll showed support for the Kentucky Republican declining to just 4 percent in New Hampshire (compared with 14 percent in February).</p> <p>....The more worrying problem for Paul is his favorability numbers: They&rsquo;re also dropping....Over the first five weeks of 2015, Paul&rsquo;s favorable rating averaged 62 percent among Republicans. Just 14 percent had an unfavorable view of him. Over the five most recent weeks, though, Paul&rsquo;s favorable rating has averaged 52 percent, with an unfavorable rating of 27 percent. His net favorability rating (favorable <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_rand_paul_stare.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">minus unfavorable) has dropped by nearly half, from +48 percentage points to +25 percentage points.</p> </blockquote> <p>Enten's question: "What&rsquo;s Wrong With Rand Paul&rsquo;s Campaign?" I think we all know the answer.</p> <p>Rand's father, Ron Paul, always attracted a fair amount of money and a fair amount of steady support. Not huge amounts, but respectable. The reason was that he was never seriously running for president. He just liked having a stage for his ideas, and since he wasn't trying to win, he could stay as true to his libertarian beliefs as he wanted. He had no need to waffle.</p> <p>But son Rand has bigger plans. He <em>is</em> seriously running for president, and that means he has to pay attention to the aspects of his political views that just aren't going to play well with important blocs of Republican voters. From the start he was never quite as pure a libertarian as dad, but now he's discovering that he can't even be as pure a libertarian as <em>he's</em> been in the past. So he waffles. He changes his views. He spends time looking at polls. He worries about saying things that will piss off the white evangelicals, or the elderly, or the pragmatic business set. The result is that the folks who admired him for his principled libertarianism are dropping him, while the rest of the Republican Party has yet to warm up to him. After all, he is the guy who said the ongoing chaos in Iraq was the fault of the Republican president who started the Iraq War, not Barack Obama. He's also the guy who wanted to eliminate aid to Israel. And he's the guy who wanted to gut Medicare for everyone&mdash;even the folks currently receiving it.</p> <p>He's kinda sorta changed his mind on all these things, but that makes him look like a sellout to the libertarian crowd and a opportunistic panderer to the tea party crowd. Is it any wonder his poll numbers have tanked?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 28 Jul 2015 16:26:05 +0000 Kevin Drum 280781 at http://www.motherjones.com Fox's Poll Cutoff for the Republican Debate Works Better Than Rachel Maddow Suggested Last Night http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/foxs-poll-cutoff-republican-debate-works-better-rachel-maddow-suggested-last-nigh <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Last night Rachel Maddow invited Lee Miringoff, polling director for the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, to discuss the way Fox News is using polls to cut the Republican debate field down to ten candidates. Basically, both Maddow and Miringoff agreed that the whole thing was ridiculous because so many of the candidates on the right-hand tail were so close to each other. Is it really fair for a guy who polls at 3.2 percent to be on stage while a guy with 2.7 percent is kicked to the corner? After all, the margin of error is 3 percentage points. There might not really be any difference between the two.</p> <p>For some reason, Miringoff didn't push back on this. But he should have. There are two key bits of arithmetic they left out:</p> <ul><li>A typical poll has a 3 percent margin of error. But Fox News is averaging five polls. I don't know precisely what the margin of error is in this case, but it's probably somewhere around 1.5 percent.</li> <li>The margin of error goes down as you go farther out on the tails. If you have two candidates polling 51-49, you can use the standard margin of error. But for candidates polling at 2 or 3 percent? It's roughly half the midpoint margin of error.</li> </ul><p>Put these two together, and the true margin of error for all the also-rans is something like 0.7 percentage points. This doesn't entirely negate Maddow's point, since the difference between 10th and 11th place might still be less than that. But it does mean the results are a lot less random than she suggested. Assuming Fox does its poll averaging correctly, there's actually a pretty good chance that the top ten really are the top ten.</p> <p>That said, I wouldn't do the debate this way either. I'd rank all the candidates using the polling average, and then have one debate with all the even-numbered candidates and a second debate with all the odd-numbered candidates. Make it a 3-hour show with 90 minutes given to each group. What's so hard about that?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 28 Jul 2015 15:14:54 +0000 Kevin Drum 280776 at http://www.motherjones.com Congress Just Can't Help But Fall In Love With a Nuclear Physicist http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/congress-just-cant-help-fall-love-nuclear-physicist <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_ernest_moniz.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Maybe you could call this the <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2015/07/28/ernest-moniz-is-blinding-lawmakers-with-science-on-iran/" target="_blank">revenge of the nerds?</a></p> <blockquote> <p>He&rsquo;s blinding them with science.</p> <p>Or intellectually charming them anyway. That&rsquo;s how Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz seems to be winning fans in the difficult fight to sell the Iran deal on Capitol Hill....Moniz, a nuclear physicist with mad-scientist hair, has already been credited as the administration&rsquo;s secret weapon in the lengthy negotiations to secure an Iran deal that will prevent the rogue country from securing a nuclear weapon.</p> <p>....Moniz can certainly lapse into the technical talk with aplomb &mdash; and when he gets to talking about the half-lives of isotopes and the detection technologies that will be deployed to survey Iran&rsquo;s suspected nuclear activities, he can leave his audience in the dust.</p> <p>But in the two years since Moniz became Energy Secretary, lawmakers have far more often noted and applauded the former professor&rsquo;s natural ability to translate complex scientific concepts into digestible terms.</p> </blockquote> <p>It's funny, in a way. Plenty of highly-qualified scientists have testified before Congress, and mostly they get treated as if they were balky university freshmen. But nuclear physics! That still has cachet. Start talking about the half-lives of isotopes and legislators swoon with admiration.</p> <p>Except for dumbest among them, of course, who can't tell the difference between an MIT-trained physics PhD and Dr. Phil. That, of course, would be Wisconsin's favorite son, Ron Johnson. He just wanted to talk about the danger of electromagnetic pulses. Nice work, Senator.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 28 Jul 2015 14:23:23 +0000 Kevin Drum 280771 at http://www.motherjones.com Soon You Might Actually Be Able to Tell How Much Added Sugar Is in Your Food http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/07/hopefully-you-will-soon-be-able-tell-how-much-added-sugar-your-food <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>When the popular news quiz show <em>Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! </em>hosted the country's Surgeon General, Vicek Murthy, <a href="http://www.npr.org/programs/wait-wait-dont-tell-me/" target="_blank">last weekend</a>, he was confronted with the question: What's your one weakness? "Sweets," he answered, "I like bread pudding and cheesecake, in particular."</p> <p>Many of us can identify with the hankering for the occasional piece of cheesecake after dinner. But lots of the added sugar you inhale probably doesn't come in the form of dessert. Rather, Americans get much of their sweetening in the form of beverages&mdash;especially soda&mdash;and packaged foods that at first glance seem snacky or savory (yep, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/03/how-much-food-is-6-teaspoons-of-sugar" target="_blank">one serving of hoisin sauce</a> has two whole teaspoons; barbecue sauce one and a half). While the World Health Organization <a href="http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/notes/2014/consultation-sugar-guideline/en/" target="_blank">has suggested</a> that adults should get no more than 5 percent of their daily calories from added sweeteners&mdash;that's about 6 teaspoons&mdash;the average American ingests roughly five times that amount every day.</p> <p>For decades, researchers and doctors have been sounding the alarm about the negative health risks associated with a diet too rich in added sugars&mdash;from obesity, poor nutrition, diabetes, and <a href="http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Added-Sugars_UCM_305858_Article.jsp" target="_blank">even heart disease</a>. But as <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/03/how-much-food-is-6-teaspoons-of-sugar" target="_blank">I've written about in the past</a>, even if you're concerned about your levels of added sugar intake, it's nearly impossible to tell how much you might be eating: Current food labels don't require added sugar to be listed. There's even indication that food companies have gone to great lengths to keep that information hidden from the public's eyes. The US Department of Agriculture used to list added sugars for popular products in online, but the database <a href="http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=12107" target="_blank">was removed in 2012</a> after companies claimed that added sugar amounts should be considered trade secrets.</p> <p>So in March, the Food and Drug Administration proposed revising nutrition labels to include added sugars on packaged foods. And on Friday, the agency went even further by <a href="http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm455837.htm" target="_blank">proposing to require</a> that packaged food companies must also include a percent daily value of added sugar on the nutrition label. (The daily value would be based on the recommendation that added sugar not exceed 10 percent of total calories, or roughly 12 teaspoons of sugar a day).</p> <p>The FDA has already received pushback from industry groups about the attempt to make added sugar quantities more transparent; the Corn Refiner's Association <a href="http://file:///Users/moatman/Downloads/Corn_Refiners_Association_CRA_Comments_re_FDA_Docket_No_FDA-2012-N-1210_NFP_Proposed_Changes.pdf" target="_blank">questioned</a> the agency's "statutory authority to do so" and complained of a lack of "credible scientific evidence." Meanwhile, <a href="http://file:///Users/moatman/Downloads/FDA_2012_N_1210_Kellogg_Comments.pdf" target="_blank">Kellogg argued</a> that the proposal "to distinguish added sugars...may confuse consumers." Of course, Kellogg happens to be the world's "second largest producer of cookies, crackers, and savory snacks."</p></body></html> Blue Marble Food and Ag Health Regulatory Affairs Tue, 28 Jul 2015 10:09:33 +0000 Maddie Oatman 280751 at http://www.motherjones.com