Blogs | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en Mark Cuban Has the Dumbest Reason For Supporting Donald Trump <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Mark Cuban is a famous billionaire. He owns the Dallas Mavericks. He also appeared on a <a href=";rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CB8QtwIwAGoVChMIpPqZr8f-xgIVwZYeCh3Jogb6&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="" target="_blank">quite the fan of Donald Trump's presidential campaign</a>!</p> <p>Why, you ask? Let him <a href="" 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 Boehner Planning to Pick Up His Ball and Go Home <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <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="" 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 This American Trophy Hunter Allegedly Beheaded Zimbabwe's Most Beloved Lion <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><strong>Update, July 28, 4:40 p.m.: </strong>Walter Palmer <a href="" 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="" 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="" 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="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Palmer has been accused of paying local hunters, two of whom have since been <a href="" 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://l" 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="" target="_blank">which was closed on Tuesday</a>&mdash;has been flooded by negative <a href="" 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="">#WalterPalmer</a>, the heartless bastard that killed <a href="">#CecilTheLion</a> <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Ryan Phinny (@RyanPhinny) <a href="">July 28, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" 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="" 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 Unlike Dad, Rand Paul Is More Interested in Winning Than in His Principles <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Harry Enten tells us that Rand Paul <a href="" 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 Fox's Poll Cutoff for the Republican Debate Works Better Than Rachel Maddow Suggested Last Night <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <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 Congress Just Can't Help But Fall In Love With a Nuclear Physicist <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <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="" 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 Soon You Might Actually Be Able to Tell How Much Added Sugar Is in Your Food <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <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="" 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="" 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="" 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="" target="_blank">even heart disease</a>. But as <a href="" 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="" 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="" 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 Getting a Home Loan Is Expensive—Especially for Black Women <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><a href="" target="_blank">A recent study</a> in the <em>Journal of Real Estate and Finance Economics</em> finds that black home loan borrowers are charged higher interest rates than their white counterparts&mdash;and that black women pay the highest rates of all. &nbsp;</p> <p>The three finance professors who <a href="" target="_blank">authored</a> the study analyzed the mortgages and demographic characteristics of more than 3,500 households during the height of the housing boom&mdash;2001, 2004, and 2007&mdash;using the Federal Reserve's triennial <a href="" target="_blank">Survey of Consumer Finances.</a> They found that on average, black borrowers were charged between 0.29 and 0.31 percentage points more in interest than whites, even after controlling for their debt and credit history.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/mortgages%20race-01.png" style="max-width: 630px; float: left;"></div> <p>The racial disparity was most pronounced for subprime borrowers who couldn't qualify for low-interest mortgages (the left side of the chart above), with black borrowers paying interest rates that were at least 0.4 percentage points higher than whites in the same group.</p> <p>Within this group paying the highest interest rates, black women paid the highest rates of all, at an average rate of 7.9 percent. But a statistically significant disparity persisted even among those who paid lower interest rates (the right side of the chart), the study notes. In this group, black borrowers paid interest rates between 0.1 percent and 0.4 percentage points higher than their white counterparts.</p> <p>Over at <em>Quartz</em>,&nbsp;Melvin Backman <a href="" target="_blank">explains</a> how these disparities translate into dollars: According to Freddie Mac's <a href="" target="_blank">mortgage cost calculator</a>, a $200,000, 30-year mortgage would cost a black man about $3,000 more than a white man over the course of the loan. A black woman getting the same loan would pay nearly $9,000 more than a white woman.</p> <div class="atlas-chart" data-height="230" data-id="EJbUQEBv" data-width="640">&nbsp;</div> <p>The study adds to a body of research showing that black mortgage applicants are <a href="" target="_blank">more likely</a> to be denied credit than white applicants, and are <a href="" target="_blank">more likely</a> to be charged higher interest rates than whites. It also appears to confirm the racial disparities identified in lawsuits against several of America's top mortgage lenders, including <a href="" target="_blank">Wells Fargo</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Bank of America's Countrywide</a>, which <a href="" target="_blank">faced</a> hefty payouts in a slew of discrimination lawsuits following the housing-market crash. The <a href="" target="_blank">lawsuits</a> had even prompted the Obama administration to <a href="" target="_blank">set up</a> a new unit in the Department of Justice's civil rights division to deal with the caseload. <script src=""></script></p> <p>But the new study also suggests more granular disparities between black and white borrowers. Among black borrowers, for example, younger homeowners without a college education paid some of the highest interest rates. And among those paying higher interest rates, black women, who already <a href="" target="_blank">face</a> <a href="" target="_blank">stiff</a> obstacles to economic mobility, were likely to be charged interest <a href="" target="_blank">rate premiums</a> two to three times that of what black men were charged. While they do not speculate about the causes of these racial and gender gaps between borrowers, the authors conclude, "it is the more financially vulnerable black women who suffer the most."</p></body></html> MoJo Charts Economy Race and Ethnicity Top Stories Tue, 28 Jul 2015 10:09:31 +0000 Jaeah Lee 280001 at Donald Trump's Lawyer: Marital Rape Cannot Be Rape <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>So Donald Trump used to be married to Ivana Trump. According to an account resurfaced by <a href=";source=twitter" target="_blank">Tim Mak and&nbsp;Brandy Zadrozny at the <em>Daily Beast</em></a>, the former Mrs. Trump once used the word "rape" during legal proceedings in connection with an event between her and her ex-husband, the current GOP front-runner:</p> <blockquote> <p>Ivana Trump's assertion of "rape" came in a deposition&mdash;part of the early '90s divorce case between the Trumps, and revealed in the 1993 book <em>Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump</em>.</p> <p>The book, by former <em>Texas Monthly</em> and <em>Newsweek</em> reporter Harry Hurt III, described a harrowing scene.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em>The Daily Beast</em> has the entire "violent assault."</a> It's indeed harrowing. Trump has denied the allegations.</p> <blockquote> <p>"It's obviously false," Donald Trump said of the accusation in 1993, according to <em>Newsday</em>. "It's incorrect and done by a guy without much talent&hellip; He is a guy that is an unattractive guy who is a vindictive and jealous person."</p> </blockquote> <p>It&rsquo;s important to note that this never went to court, Trump never faced any charges, and Ivana Trump herself walked back the allegations before the book in question was published:</p> <blockquote> <p>"As a woman, I felt violated, as the love and tenderness, which he normally exhibited towards me, was absent. I referred to this as a 'rape,' but I do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense."</p> </blockquote> <p>This brings us now to Donald Trump's lawyer who <em>The Daily Beast </em>reached out to for comment. He went on a tirade that would make Trump blush:</p> <blockquote> <p>Michael Cohen, special counsel at The Trump Organization, defended his boss, saying, "You're talking about the front-runner for the GOP, presidential candidate, as well as private individual who never raped anybody. And, of course, understand that by the very definition, you can't rape your spouse."</p> <p>"It is true," Cohen added. "You cannot rape your spouse. And there's very clear case law."</p> </blockquote> <p>Realizing perhaps that denying the undeniable criminality of spousal rape was not the best way to kill the story, Cohen switches gears, making things worse:</p> <blockquote> <p>"You write a story that has Mr. Trump's name in it, with the word 'rape,' and I'm going to mess your life up&hellip;for as long as you're on this frickin' planet&hellip;you're going to have judgments against you, so much money, you'll never know how to get out from underneath it," he added.</p> </blockquote> <p>Trump's lawyer continued to threaten the reporter by saying, "Tread very fucking lightly, because what I&rsquo;m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting."</p> <p>One thing is clear: Trump's lawyer <a href="" target="_blank">has the same rhetorical style as Trump</a>.</p> <p>Shout out to my friend Nina Strochlic and former deputy Asawin Suebsaeng for helping report the story.</p></body></html> MoJo Elections Tue, 28 Jul 2015 02:12:07 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 280766 at Obamacare Rates In California Will Rise Only 4% in 2016 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Obamacare's moment of truth is coming. By now we've heard all the scare stories about a few health insurers in a few states requesting gigantic rate hikes for next year. But over the next few weeks, states are going to start publishing the <em>actual</em> average rate increases that consumers will see in 2016. <a href="" target="_blank">California released its report today.</a> It's still marked preliminary, but you can expect that the final numbers will be very close to these:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_california_obamacare_rate_increase_2015.jpg" style="margin: 15px 0px 15px 15px;"></p> <p>I've highlighted two numbers. First, the overall average rate increase is 4.0 percent. That's way lower than you've seen in the scary headlines. And this is for a state that makes up more than a tenth of the country all by itself.</p> <p>Second, the price of the second-lowest-price silver plan has gone up 1.8 percent. This is the figure used to calculate subsidy levels, so it's an important one. In fact, here's an interesting consequence of that number: because subsidies will be going up roughly 1.8 percent, and the cost of the <em>lowest</em>-price silver plan is going up only 1.5 percent, the net cost (including subsidies) of buying the cheapest silver plan is actually going down. As you can see in the bottom row, if you shop for the lowest-priced plan, your premiums are likely to <em>decrease</em> about 4.5 percent.</p> <p>I have a feeling this number is not going to be widely reported on Fox News.</p> <p>Now, California isn't necessarily a bellwether for all the other states. Because it's the biggest state in the union, it has lots of competition that helps drive down prices. A big population also means less variability from year to year. Also: California's program is pretty well run, and the California insurance market is fairly tightly regulated. All this adds up to a good deal for consumers.</p> <p>In any case, the headline number here is a very reasonable 4 percent increase in overall premiums, and a 4.5 percent <em>decrease</em> for consumers shopping for the cheapest plans. These are real statewide numbers, not cherry-picked bits and pieces designed to encourage hysteria. Once again, it looks like Obamacare is working pretty well.</p> <p>This all comes via Andrew Sprung, who has much more detail <a href="" target="_blank">here.</a></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 28 Jul 2015 00:28:23 +0000 Kevin Drum 280761 at Boy Scouts End Age-Old Ban on Gay Leadership <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The Boy Scouts of America voted today to scrap a blanket ban on gay leaders, marking the end of a policy as old as the group itself. The change will also bar discrimination based on sexual orientation in all Boy Scouts of America official facilities and paying jobs.</p> <p>Robert Gates, president of the Boy Scouts of America (and former US defense secretary), <a href="" target="_blank">called</a> for an end to the ban in May, saying the organization should "deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be."</p> <p>The end of the ban does not, however, mark complete acceptance of gay leaders: Some scout groups, particularly those with close religious affiliations, will be able to limit leadership positions to heterosexuals.</p> <p>Here are some stories that demarcate turning points in the controversy:</p> <ul><li>An <a href="" target="_blank">alternative group called the Navigators</a> gained traction with families fed up with BSA policies against gay scouts, atheists, and families who wanted their daughters and sons to be in the same scouting troop. Navigators USA publicized itself as an organization that "welcomes all matter what gender, race, lifestyle, ability, religious or lack of religious belief."</li> <li>This timeline shows <a href="" target="_blank">just how long</a> anti-gay discrimination has been going on in the BSA.&nbsp;</li> <li>In 2013, the BSA <a href="" target="_blank">ended its ban on kids</a> in the program who identify as gay, but kept its ban on adults&mdash;meaning, in effect, that once a scout turned 18, he could be kicked out.</li> <li>The Boy Scouts council <a href="" target="_blank">threatened to kick out</a> a Maryland pack for posting an inclusive statement on its website promising not to discriminate against gay scouts.</li> <li>BSA funders such as UPS, United Way, the Merck Company Foundation, and the Intel Foundation fled for the hills as <a href="" target="_blank">a direct result </a>of the Boy Scouts' anti-gay policies.</li> </ul><p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Gay Rights Top Stories boy scouts Mon, 27 Jul 2015 23:31:09 +0000 Becca Andrews 280696 at Sorry Donald, Most Republicans Don't Actually Care That Much About Illegal Immigration <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><a href="" target="_blank">Greg Sargent</a> has an item today noting that by a 63-34 percent margin in a <a href="" target="_blank">new CNN poll,</a> Republicans believe the main focus of immigration policy should be stopping the flow of illegal immigration and deporting the illegal immigrants who are already here. No big surprise there. But when I clicked over to the poll itself I found a couple of things related to immigration that were kind of interesting.</p> <p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_pew_unauthorized_immigrant_population_1.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">First, CNN asked "Just your best guess, do you think the number of immigrants coming to the United States illegally has increased or decreased in the last few years?" Among Republicans, 83 percent thought it had increased. Granted, asking about the "last few years" is a little ambiguous, but if you assume at a minimum that it means less than a decade, then 83 percent of Republicans are woefully misinformed. As you can see from the <a href="" target="_blank">Pew data</a> on the right, the illegal immigrant population dropped considerably in 2008 and 2009 and has been basically flat ever since.</p> <p>(By the way, among Democrats 61 percent think immigration has increased. That's a little better, but still not exactly a proud moment in voter awareness. It isn't just Fox News that's keeping us all misinformed.)</p> <p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_cnn_poll_important_issues_2015_07_27_0.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">The second interesting question was one that asked about which issues were most important. This kind of thing always has to be taken with a grain of salt, but even so it's a little surprising how little Republicans actually care about immigration. For all the attention it's gotten from Donald Trump, only 9 percent said it was their most important issue, the lowest showing of any of the issues CNN asked about. The economy and terrorism/foreign policy were far and away the biggest worries among Republicans. Also surprisingly, health care didn't register very high either. The tea party may be yelling endlessly about the need to repeal the worst law since the Fugitive Slave Act, but among all Republicans, only a few rate it as a critical issue.</p> <p>So....immigration and Obamacare probably aren't going to be gigantic issues this year among Republicans&mdash;or in the general election. As usual, the economy will be #1, and #2 will probably be terrorism and foreign policy in general.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 27 Jul 2015 21:32:11 +0000 Kevin Drum 280701 at Want to Meet a 9/11 Truther? Go to a Donald Trump Event <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Despite all the <a href="" target="_blank">outrageous stunts</a> and patently <a href="" target="_blank">racist quotes</a> from Donald Trump's current campaign for president, the real estate mogul continues to lead as the front-runner for the GOP nomination.</p> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Washington Post</em>'s David Weigel</a> recently visited a Trump "family picnic" to take a look at the pandemonium surrounding the campaign. It's also where 9/11 Truth Activist Rick Shaddock happened to be before meandering into the press room to ask the following question:</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">excellent segue game from a 9/11 truther, via <a href="">@daveweigel</a>'s trump story <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Jim Newell (@jim_newell) <a href="">July 27, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>Trump rejected the question, asking the reporters in the room, "Is this guy some kind of conspiracy guy?" But he shouldn't have been all too surprised by Shaddock's presence. After all, if you're going to peddle outrageous conspiracy theories, <a href="" target="_blank">you're going to attract outrageous conspiracy theorists.</a></p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Mon, 27 Jul 2015 21:03:41 +0000 Inae Oh 280716 at Hillary Clinton Refuses to Take a Position on the Keystone Pipeline <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Hillary Clinton took a strong stance on clean energy Monday, telling a crowd in Des Moines, Iowa, that her efforts to tackle climate change would parallel President John F. Kennedy's call to action during the space race in the 1960s.</p> <p>"I want to get the country back to setting big ambitious goals," Clinton said. "I want us to get back into the future business, and one of the best ways we can do that is to be absolutely ready to address the challenge of climate change and make it work to our advantage economically."</p> <p>Her remarks tracked closely with an ambitious plan her campaign released Sunday night, which <a href="" target="_blank">set a target</a> of producing enough renewable energy to power all the nation's homes and businesses by 2027.</p> <p>"America's ability to lead the world on this issue hinges on our ability to act ourselves," she said. "I refuse to turn my back on what is one of the greatest threats and greatest opportunities America faces."</p> <p>Still, the Democractic front-runner refused&mdash;as she has <a href="" target="_blank">several times before</a>&mdash;to say whether or not she supports construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. That project, which would carry crude oil from Canada's tar sands to refineries and ports in the United States, is seen by many environmentalists as a blemish on President Barack Obama's climate record. It has been <a href="" target="_blank">stalled for years</a> in a lengthy State Department review that began when Clinton was still Secretary of State. The Obama administration has resisted several recent attempts by Congress to force Keystone's approval, but it has yet to make a final decision on the project&mdash;although one is expected sometime this year.</p> <p>"I will refrain from commenting [on Keystone XL], because I had a leading role in getting that process started, and we have to let it run its course," Clinton said, in response to a question from an audience member.</p> <p>Her non-position on Keystone earned derision from environmentalist Bill McKibben, whose organization has been at the forefront of opposition to the pipeline.</p> <p>"I think it's bogus," he said in an email. "Look, the notion that she can't talk about it because the State Dept. is still working on it makes no sense. By that test, she shouldn't be talking about Benghazi or Iran or anything else either. The more she tries to duck the question, the more the whole thing smells."</p> <p>Clinton also punted on an audience request to reveal further details of how exactly she would finance the renewable energy targets she announced yesterday, which aim even higher than those already put in place by Obama. She reiterated that one key step would be to ensure the extension of federal tax credits for wind and solar energy that have expired or are set to expire over the next few years. And she said that she would continue Obama's practice of pursuing aggressive climate policies from <a href="" target="_blank">within the White House</a>, saying that "we still have a lot we can do" without waiting for a recalcitrant Congress to act.</p> <p>Clinton acknowledged that the clean energy boom would come at a cost for the US coal industry, which is already in <a href="" target="_blank">steep decline</a>. She said she would "guarantee that coal miners and their families get the benefits they've earned," but didn't elaborate on what she meant or how specifically she would achieve that.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p>Environmental groups offered a generally positive reaction to Clinton's policy announcement Sunday. In a statement, League of Conservation Voters vice president Tiernan Sittenfield commended her for "calling out climate change deniers and effectively illustrating the urgent need to act on a defining issue of our time." She also <a href="" target="_blank">earned praise</a> from billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, who has set a high bar on climate action for any candidate who wants to tap his millions.</p> <p>"I refuse to let those who are deniers to rip away all the progress we've made and leave our country exposed to climate change," Clinton said.</p></body></html> Blue Marble 2016 Elections Climate Change Climate Desk Hillary Clinton Top Stories Infrastructure Mon, 27 Jul 2015 17:45:30 +0000 Tim McDonnell 280686 at Added Sugar Is Your Enemy, Not Aspartame <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Why does anyone still choose sugared sodas over artificially-sweetened sodas? One reason is taste. If you don't like the taste of aspartame or saccharin, then that's that. Another reason might be a rare medical condition that makes you allergic (or worse) to certain artificial sweeteners.</p> <p>But that probably accounts for only a small fraction of the people who continue to drink sugared sodas. The rest are most likely convinced that artificial sweeteners are bad for you. But they're wrong. It's <em>sugar</em> that's bad for you. <a href=";action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;module=mini-moth&amp;region=top-stories-below&amp;WT.nav=top-stories-below&amp;abt=0002&amp;abg=1" target="_blank">Aaron Carroll brings the research:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>One of the oldest artificial sweeteners is saccharin. Starting in the 1980s, Congress mandated that any product containing it be accompanied by the following: &ldquo;Use of this product may be hazardous to your health. This product contains saccharin, which has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals.&rdquo;....There was a problem, <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_diet_coke.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">though. This link has never been confirmed in humans....<strong>Based on these newer studies, saccharin was removed from the carcinogen list in 2000.</strong> But by that time, opinions were set. It did little to make anyone feel safe.</p> <p>....Aspartame was introduced in the United States around the time that saccharin began taking a beating....But in 1996, a study was published in <em>The Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology</em> titled &ldquo;Increasing Brain Tumor Rates: Is There a Link to Aspartame?&rdquo; Most people ignored the question mark....There were any number of problems with this logic....Because aspartame was approved in 1981, blaming it for a rise in tumors in the 1970s seems impossible. Finally, much more comprehensive studies couldn&rsquo;t find links....<strong>A safety review from 2007, published in Critical Reviews in Toxicology, found that aspartame had been studied extensively and that the evidence showed that it was safe.</strong></p> <p>....But what about sugar?....Epidemiologic studies have found that even after controlling for other factors, <strong>one&rsquo;s intake of added sugars is associated with the development of type 2 diabetes,</strong> with a 1.1 percent increase in prevalence for each can of sugar-sweetened soda. A study following people for an average of more than 14 years published last year in <em>JAMA Internal Medicine</em> found that <strong>those in the highest quintile of added sugar consumption had more than twice the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease</strong> than those in the lowest quintile, even after controlling for many other factors.</p> </blockquote> <p>Anyway, that's what science says. Unfortunately, science also says that <a href="" target="_blank">presenting facts to people almost never changes their minds.</a> In fact, it can do just the opposite as people respond defensively to the notion that they've been wrong for a long time. So I suppose no one reading this is actually going to switch to diet sodas. Instead they'll cherry-pick studies that support their previous point of view. Or claim that all the studies exonerating artificial sweeteners are funded by big business and not to be trusted. Or perhaps make an outr&eacute; claim about how aspartame interacts with gluten and animal fat to produce....something or other.</p> <p>That's life, I guess. However, I suggest that you swamp Professor Carroll's inbox with all these insights instead of bothering me with them. He's the expert after all. Or, just switch to water. Then you won't have to worry about it.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 27 Jul 2015 16:51:33 +0000 Kevin Drum 280691 at Anti-Abortion Hackers Claim to Have Stolen Data That Could Take Down Planned Parenthood <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><strong>Update, July 27, 4:45 p.m. EST: </strong>Planned Parenthood released a statement confirming it has notified the FBI and the Department of Justice to investigate the cyber attack. "Today Planned Parenthood has notified the&nbsp;Department of Justice and separately the&nbsp;FBI that extremists who oppose Planned Parenthood's mission and services have launched an attack on our information systems, and have called on the world's most sophisticated hackers to assist them in breaching our systems and threatening the privacy and safety of our staff members," Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens said. "We are working with top leaders in this field to manage these attacks. We treat matters of safety and security with the utmost importance, and are taking every measure possible to mitigate these criminal efforts to undermine our mission and services."</p> <p>A hacker group calling itself 3301 is claiming to have penetrated Planned Parenthood's databases and is threatening to release the personal information of employees working for the non-profit organization, along with other sensitive data. <a href="" target="_blank"><em>The Daily Dot</em></a> spoke to one of the alleged hackers, who denounced Planned Parenthood as an "atrocious monstrosity." A senior Planned Parenthood executive tells <em>Mother Jones </em>that the group is investigating the alleged hack.</p> <p>"Obviously what [Planned Parenthood] does is a very ominous practice," the alleged hacker, going by the identity "E," said. "It'll be interesting to see what surfaces when [Planned Parenthood] is stripped&nbsp;naked and exposed to the public."</p> <p>The group&mdash;whose name, according to <em>The Daily Dot</em>, appears to be a nod to "a famous group of secretive cryptographers known as Cicada 3301"&mdash;claims it will release the names and addresses of employees "soon."</p> <p>The potential breach comes amid intense controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood after an anti-abortion group released hidden-camera <a href="" target="_blank">footage</a> appearing to show top Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of tissue from aborted fetuses. Though the footage was heavily edited, pro-choice groups fear the ramifications that could potentially follow from the sting operation. A slew of <a href="" target="_blank">anti-abortion politicians,</a> including Ben Carson and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), have used the videos to denounce the organization and justify defunding it.</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Please join me as I speak at the <a href="">#WomenBetrayed</a> Rally tomorrow in Washington D.C. <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Dr. Ben Carson (@RealBenCarson) <a href="">July 27, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>"We've seen the claims around attempts to access our systems," Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens said in a statement to <em>Mother Jones</em>. "We take security very seriously and are investigating. It's unsurprising that those opposed to safe and legal abortion are participating in this campaign of harassment against us and our patients, and claiming to stoop to this new low."</p></body></html> MoJo Reproductive Rights Top Stories Mon, 27 Jul 2015 16:48:48 +0000 Inae Oh 280676 at Wait? The Robots Aren't Coming After All? <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Over at Vox, Matt Yglesias laments that, contrary to scare stories in the media, robots <em>aren't</em> taking away our jobs. In fact, productivity has dropped steadily over the past few decades. That wouldn't be true if automation were taking away work while producing more goods and services.</p> <p>True enough. <a href="" target="_blank">But what about the future?</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Of course, all this <em>might</em> change. The power of Moore's Law &mdash; which states that the power of computer chips doubles roughly every two years &mdash; is such that the next five years' worth of digital progress will involve bigger leaps in raw processor power than the previous five years. It's at least <em>possible</em> that we really will have a massive leap <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_atlas_robot.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">forward in productivity someday soon that starts substantially reducing the amount of human labor needed to drive the economy forward.</p> <p>But robots are never going to take <em>all</em> the jobs.</p> </blockquote> <p>I have one question: Why not?</p> <p>There are a couple of possible answers to that question. The first is that we'll never manage to invent true AI, which will prevent robots from ever being able to perform a wide range of tasks that humans perform easily. The second is that we <em>will</em> invent AI, but....something something something. I don't really understand the second answer. I'll grant that humans might continue to be CEOs and legislators and a few other things just to make sure that we're still ultimately in charge of the world ourselves. And who knows? We might even decide that we prefer human art even if we can't tell the difference, the same way an original Rembrandt is worth a lot more than even a perfect copy.</p> <p>But that would still mean robots taking over 99 percent of the jobs. If you don't believe AI is coming anytime soon, then I understand why you think this will never happen. But if you <em>do</em> accept that AI is coming in the medium-term future, then why won't robots take essentially all the jobs? What exactly is it that they won't be able to do?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 27 Jul 2015 15:58:52 +0000 Kevin Drum 280681 at China's Stock Market Back In Trouble <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_shanghai_stock_market_2015_07_27.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Thanks to government support, the Shanghai stock index has rallied for the past few weeks after a month of losses. Today it plummeted again, apparently due to the government withdrawing its support. <a href="" target="_blank">From the <em>Wall Street Journal</em>:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Authorities may want to &ldquo;test whether the market has recovered its resilience,&rdquo; said Fu Xuejun, a strategist at Huarong Securities. &ldquo;The government wants to use state funds to stabilize the market, not to prop it back to 5000 points overnight.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Well, I guess that test didn't work. According to the <em>Journal</em>, Monday's drop came as a big surprise. "I am positive that we will see state support emerging again in the next two days," said Jacky Zhang. Maybe so. But if the fundamentals aren't there, even the Chinese version of government support can't keep things propped up forever. It's only a matter of time until we see the market plummeting again.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 27 Jul 2015 15:07:48 +0000 Kevin Drum 280671 at John Oliver Explains How Cruel Mandatory Minimum Laws Ruin Lives <!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>Earlier this month, President Obama <a href="" target="_blank">granted clemency</a> to 46 nonviolent drug offenders,&nbsp;which saw the largest number of presidential commutations granted in a single day since the 1960's. As <a href="" target="_blank">John Oliver</a> noted on the latest<em> Last Week Tonight</em>, the move was particularly significant because each offender was subjected to harsh mandatory minimum sentencing laws, which require low-level offenders to be locked up regardless of the crime's context.</p> <p>"Ridiculously long sentences are not a great deterrent to crime," Oliver explained in his take-down of unfair sentencing laws on Sunday. "Prison sentences are a lot like penises: If they're used correctly, even a short one can do the trick.</p> <p>"The truth is that mandatory minimums didn't just not work, they ruined lives."</p> <p>While failing to reduce crime, mandatory minimum laws also disproportionately target <a href="" target="_blank">minority groups</a> across the country.</p> <p>"There should be a lot more pardons and commutations," Oliver said. "But if we really want to address this problem permanently, we need states and the federal government, not just to repeal mandatory minimums going forward, but to also pass laws so that existing prisoners can apply for retroactively reduced sentences."</p></body></html> Mixed Media Crime and Justice Media Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:57:58 +0000 Inae Oh 280661 at 35 of Bill Cosby's Accusers Posed for a Powerful New York Magazine Cover Story <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><em>New York</em> magazine just released its newest cover story, which features <a href="" target="_blank">35 women who have publicly accused Bill Cosby</a> of sexual assault for one powerful photo series. The arresting black and white cover photo presents each accuser seated in a chair with one final empty seat remaining at the end.</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">35 women speak about being assaulted by Bill Cosby, and the culture that wouldn't listen: <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; New York Magazine (@NYMag) <a href="">July 27, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>The magazine spoke to all 35 women separately over the course of six months. Noreen Malone writes:</p> <blockquote> <p>Each story is awful in its own right. But the horror is multiplied by the sheer volume of seeing them together, reading them together, considering their shared experience. The women have found solace in their number&mdash;discovering that they hadn't been alone, that there were others out there who believed them implicitly, with whom they didn't need to be afraid of sharing the darkest details of their lives.</p> </blockquote> <p>On Monday morning, just hours after the story was published online, the magazine's website appeared to be hit by a <a href="" target="_blank">DDoS attack</a> blocking any attempt to successfully read any article coming from <em>New York</em>. The alleged hacker told the <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Daily Dot</em></a> the hacking had nothing to do with the cover story and it was instead motivated by a recent bad trip to New York City.</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href=""></a> will be down for hours.... :D ENJOY</p> &mdash; Vikingdom2016 (@Vikingdom2016) <a href="">July 27, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>People have since responded on social media by using the hashtag #EmptyChair to praise the story and to speak out against sexual assault.</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="">#TheEmptyChair</a> signals the women who couldn't come forward mostly b/c we, as a culture, wouldn't believe them. <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Janet Mock (@janetmock) <a href="">July 27, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">There are SO many women who could be the <a href="">#EmptyChair</a>. Not just Cosby's rape victims, but rape victims everywhere. They aren't lying.</p> &mdash; Patrick (@QuadCityPat) <a href="">July 27, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></center></body></html> Mixed Media Crime and Justice Media Sex and Gender Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:48:19 +0000 Inae Oh 280656 at 'Strange Wilds' Creates Disruptive Noise <!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>Strange Wilds</strong><br><strong><em>Subjective Concepts</em><br> Sub Pop</strong><br> &nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/sw-subjectiveconcepts-900.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;"></div> <p>Nasty, brutish, and relentlessly thrilling, the Olympia, Washington, trio Strange Wilds grinds up abrasive rock'n'roll ingredients and spews 'em out as one glorious wave of disruptive noise. These raucous youngsters have thoroughly schooled themselves on early punk, thrash metal and grunge (with a big debt to Nirvana's pre-<em>Nevermind</em><em> </em>vibe), but Subjective Concepts sizzles like a brand-new inspiration. And for all the bruising chords, crashing drums, and wounded-beast vocals, it's not hard to find some solid songs amidst the storm. "Starved For" echoes Chris Bailey's Saints, while "Oneirophobe" finds singer-guitarist Steven (no last names used here) growling, "I feel fine, I feel okay/Just so scared of the everyday" as he tries to make sense of it all.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Music Mon, 27 Jul 2015 10:00:50 +0000 Jon Young 280306 at Donald Trump Explained in Four Words <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_donald_trump.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">If you want to understand Donald Trump&mdash;and I wouldn't blame you if you don't&mdash;<a href="" target="_blank">this paragraph from the <em>Post</em> should do it:</a></p> <blockquote> <p><strong>&ldquo;Finally, I can attack!&rdquo;</strong> Trump said at a packed rally at Oskaloosa High School. &ldquo;Wisconsin&rsquo;s doing terribly. It&rsquo;s in turmoil. The roads are a disaster because they don&rsquo;t have any money to rebuild them. They&rsquo;re borrowing money like crazy. They projected a $1 billion surplus, and it turns out to be a deficit of $2.2 billion. The schools are a disaster. The hospitals and education was a disaster. And he was totally in favor of Common Core!&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>In a private email, Walker supporter Gregory Slayton wrote, "As you've seen Gov Walker is now well ahead of everyone not named DumbDumb (aka Trump) in the national polls." <a href="" target="_blank">The <em>Wall Street Journal</em> made the email public,</a> and that was that. Finally, Trump could attack.</p> <p>This is what he lives for. But only if he can pretend that the other guy started it. John McCain called his supporters crazies. Lindsey Graham called Trump a jackass. And now a Walker fundraiser called him DumbDumb. Finally! It must have been killing Trump to hold back on Walker until he had the appropriate casus belli.</p> <p>That's Trump. He lives for the fight. And despite being worth $10 billion (or whatever) he always manages to feel like he's the aggrieved party. If this reminds you of any particular bloc of voters, now you know why he's doing so well in the polls.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sun, 26 Jul 2015 16:02:43 +0000 Kevin Drum 280651 at Health Update <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>This has come up in comments a few times recently, so here's a quick update.</p> <p>Short answer: I'm fine.</p> <p>Slightly longer answer: As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I didn't respond to the stem cell transplant, so we're trying a new chemo med. The good news is that I don't seem to be suffering any side effects so far. But it often takes more than a month for these things to show up, so we're not out of the woods yet. As for whether it's working, it will be several more months before we know.</p> <p>All that aside, I feel pretty good these days. Not totally back to normal, but 80-90 percent of the way there. I still have a bit of mild stomach nausea periodically, and my neuropathy shows no signs of going away, but my energy level is pretty good and I'm eating enough for two people. At the moment, my only real problem is that I'm tired from not getting enough sleep. But that's nothing to worry about. I've been taking sleep meds for the past six months, and wanted to wait until I was feeling better to get off them. That time has come, so I'm tapering off under my doctor's instructions. It's actually going better than I expected, but there's still a price to pay. Until my body gets back into the habit of falling asleep and staying asleep on its own, I'm going to be a little short on shuteye. With any luck, this will only last a few more weeks.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sun, 26 Jul 2015 00:54:54 +0000 Kevin Drum 280646 at Republicans Is Weird, Summer 2015 Edition <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_mike_lee.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">No, this isn't about Donald Trump. It's about Sen. Mike Lee of Utah&mdash;who plans to offer yet another amendment to repeal Obamacare, but this time with a special super-duper secret sauce added to the <a href="" target="_blank">upcoming highway funding bill:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Lee said he will try to re-offer the Obamacare repeal as <strong>a special amendment that is directly related to highway funding.</strong> Under Senate rules, amendments that are directly related, or germane, to the underlying legislation can pass with just 51 votes.</p> <p><strong>Lee knows that the chair of the Senate is likely to reject his logic that Obamacare repeal is germane to highway funding,</strong> so he plans to use the nuclear option. That means he will formally object to the ruling of the chair, which requires a 51-vote simple majority &mdash; then he plans to move on to the coveted simple majority vote.</p> <p>....If his plan works, Lee gets to tell his supporters that he&rsquo;s responsible for a major vote to kill the health care law he reviles. The House voted to repeal the law in February, so the two chambers could then theoretically conference the bills &mdash; leaving it up to Obama to veto a bill to kill his own signature policy achievement.</p> </blockquote> <p>So the plan is simple: have Republicans declare ex cathedra that repeal of Obamacare is germane to highway funding, and then pass Lee's amendment with 51 votes. It's brilliant! All that's missing are the sharks with lasers attached to their heads!</p> <p>Aside from being mind-numbingly stupid<sup>1</sup>, it also won't work. Democrats will just filibuster the entire highway bill, or else they'll vote for it and then Obama will veto the entire mess. Result: Obamacare stays in place but our highways continue to crumble into dust. Nice work, Senator! It's good to see that the Republican Party remains committed to the sober, responsible kind of leadership that makes our great nation the envy of the world.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>It's times like this that I regret the recent banishment of "retarded" from polite conversation. Because I think we all know that it's the word that really fits here.<sup>2</sup></p> <p><sup>2</sup>Though I suppose there's no reason to insult the developmentally disabled by comparing them to Mike Lee.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 25 Jul 2015 16:29:58 +0000 Kevin Drum 280641 at The Americans With Disabilities Act Is Turning 25. Watch the Dramatic Protest That Made It Happen. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Twenty-five years ago this weekend, the <a href="" target="_blank">Americans With Disabilities Act</a> was signed into law, officially outlawing discrimination against disabled people in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and government services. The law was a long time coming: Activists had fought for decades against unequal access to jobs and <a href="" target="_blank">exclusion from public schools.</a> But the ADA might never have gotten to President George H.W. Bush's desk were it not for a group of activists in wheelchairs who took matters into their own hands earlier that year.</p> <p>On March 12, 1990, hundreds of people with disabilities gathered at the foot of the Capitol building in Washington to protest the bill's slow movement through Congress. Dozens left behind their wheelchairs, got down on their hands and knees, and began pulling themselves slowly up the 83 steps<strong> </strong>toward the building's west entrance, as if daring the politicians inside to continue ignoring all the barriers they faced. Among the climbers was <a href=";dat=19900313&amp;id=IOFLAAAAIBAJ&amp;sjid=b4sDAAAAIBAJ&amp;pg=6535,2252422&amp;hl=en" target="_blank">Jennifer Keelan</a>, an eight-year-old from Denver with cerebral palsy. "I'll take all night if I have to!" she yelled while dragging herself higher and higher.</p> <p>Here's some footage of the protest, via PBS's <em>Independent Lens</em>:</p> <p class="rtecenter"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>The Capitol Crawl, as it became known, made national headlines and pushed lawmakers to pass the ADA into law. When Bush finally signed the landmark bill, it was seen as one of the country's most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation to date. But it was not a total cure-all, according to <a href="" target="_blank">Susan Parish</a>, a professor of disability policy at Brandeis University. <a href="" target="_blank">The Supreme Court later watered it down</a>, she says, in a series of decisions that created a narrow definition of disability.</p> <p>In 2008, lawmakers passed <a href="" target="_blank">amendments to strengthen the ADA</a>, but Parish says people with disabilities have still struggled to gain equal access to employment, in part because employers are expected to comply with the law but do not have to follow reporting requirements. "I feel that the country needs a full-scale affirmative action program for people with disabilities," she said in <a href="" target="_blank">a recent interview</a>.</p> <p>President Obama issued an <a href="" target="_blank">executive order</a> in 2010 requiring the federal government to hire more people with disabilities. In <a href="" target="_blank">a speech </a>earlier this week, he said the West Wing receptionist, Leah Katz-Hernandez, is the first deaf American to hold her position. But despite some progress since 1990, he acknowledged, "We've still got to do more to make sure that people with disabilities are paid fairly for their labor, to make sure they are safe in their homes and their communities&hellip;I don't have to tell you this fight is not over."</p></body></html> MoJo Video Human Rights Top Stories Sat, 25 Jul 2015 10:00:07 +0000 Samantha Michaels 280461 at