Blogs | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/Blogs/rss http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en Quick Reads: "Do Not Sell at Any Price" by Amanda Petrusich http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/07/quick-reads-do-not-sell-any-price-amanda-petrusich <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="Do Not Sell at Any Price" class="image" src="/files/do-not-sell-at-any-price-270.jpg"></div> <p><strong>Do Not Sell at Any Price</strong></p> <p>By Amanda Petrusich</p> <p>SCRIBNER</p> <p>Once you get past the overexplaining of vinyl-era terms (gatefold album cover, etc.), Amanda Petrusich's first-person foray into the weird world of 78 rpm collectors is an engrossing romp that illuminates this cartoonish slice of nerddom so aptly portrayed in the movie <em>Crumb</em>. She catches the bug, too, embarking on a quest for 100-year-old Paramount blues 78s that takes her to flea markets and record swaps, although not, like one of her sources, to the bottom of the Milwaukee River. This obsession, Petrusich ultimately divines, is rooted as much in the (perhaps unattainable) sense of authenticity and passion crackling up from those vinyl grooves as in the earthly desire to own something rare.</p> <p><em>This review originally appeared in our <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/toc/2014/07" target="_blank">July/August issue</a> of</em> Mother Jones.&nbsp;</p></body></html> Mixed Media Books Music Tue, 22 Jul 2014 10:00:06 +0000 Mark Murrmann 253011 at http://www.motherjones.com The Way We Live Now http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/07/way-we-live-now <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Methinks someone on the EPA's social team is logged into the department's brand account on their iPhone...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"> <p>I'm now a C-List celebrity in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. Come join me and become famous too by playing on iPhone! <a href="http://t.co/SrloiiwUFZ">http://t.co/SrloiiwUFZ</a></p> &mdash; U.S. EPA Water (@EPAwater) <a href="https://twitter.com/EPAwater/statuses/491399452532289537">July 22, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>If someone gets fired over this harmless mistake I will be genuinely outraged but I think it's ok for all of us to have a harmless chuckle.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Tue, 22 Jul 2014 03:05:21 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 256686 at http://www.motherjones.com Obama Planning to Retire to Rancho Mirage? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/07/obama-planning-retire-rancho-mirage <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><a href="http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/hot-property/la-fi-hotprop-barack-obama-20140721-story.html" target="_blank">Let the speculation begin!</a></p> <blockquote> <p>President Obama and his wife, Michelle, could be the owners of a home in Rancho Mirage listed at $4.25 million before the month is out. The First Family is believed to be in escrow on a contemporary home in a gated community <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_obama_rancho_mirage.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">where entertainers Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby once maintained estates.</p> <p>The White House said rumors regarding a home in Rancho Mirage are not true.</p> <p>....The 8,232-square-foot compound in question sits adjacent to a bighorn sheep preserve on a 3.29-acre hilltop with panoramic views. The custom-built main house, constructed in 1993 and designed for entertaining, includes a gym, four bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. A 2,000-square-foot casita has three bedrooms and three bathrooms. Over-the-top exterior features include a pool with a 20-foot waterfall, a rock lagoon, two spas, a misting system and a putting green with a sand trap.</p> </blockquote> <p>I have to say that the Obamas don't really strike me as Rancho Mirage kind of people, but who knows? Maybe I've misjudged them.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Obama Tue, 22 Jul 2014 01:01:52 +0000 Kevin Drum 256676 at http://www.motherjones.com Wage Stagnation Is No Illusion http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/07/wage-stagnation-no-illusion <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Bloomberg has a long article today wondering whether wage stagnation is <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-21/yellen-wage-gauges-blurred-by-boomer-millennial-workforce-shift.html" target="_blank">mainly due to demographic shifts:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>25- to 34-year-olds will make up 22.5 percent of the workforce by 2022, compared with 21.6 percent in 2012....Meanwhile, the share of 45- to 54-year-olds in their best earning years will drop by 3.3 percentage points in the decade ending 2022.</p> <p>....Hollowing out the middle-aged working population could cut median earnings because such employees bring home the biggest paychecks. The median 45- to 54-year-old household earns $66,400 a year, compared with $51,400 for 25- to 34-year-old households.</p> </blockquote> <p>Well, sure. Compared to 30 years ago, the theory goes, we have more young workers bringing down the average and fewer prime age workers raising the average. As a result, the average is declining. But all that means is that <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_median_wage_age_25-34_0.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">baby boomers are aging out of the workforce, not that wages are necessarily in bad shape.</p> <p>That makes sense. At least, it <em>would</em> make sense if it were true. The thing is, in an article more than a thousand words long, we never learn that we can look at this directly. The chart on the right shows the median wages of just 25-34 year olds, and as you can see, they've been declining for more than a decade. This has nothing to do with demographics because it's measuring wages for the same age group the entire time.</p> <p>Now, these figures don't include health insurance, and they only go through 2012. So they aren't of much help if, say, the Fed is trying to gauge the tightness of the labor market in the second quarter of 2014. Nonetheless, they certainly show a long-term trend of wage stagnation that plainly has nothing to do with demographics. This makes it vanishingly unlikely that wage stagnation over the past six months is merely due to demographic shifts.</p> <p>It's a nice fairy tale to pretend that wage stagnation might just be an artifact of boomers retiring, but easily available data quite clearly shows otherwise. It's real.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Economy Mon, 21 Jul 2014 23:00:30 +0000 Kevin Drum 256661 at http://www.motherjones.com Watch John Oliver Explain the Insanity of Our Prison System With Puppets http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/07/john-oliver-prison-system-sesame-street-puppets <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The United States imprisons too many people for too long for too many things. As <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Pz3syET3DY&amp;app=desktop" target="_blank">John Oliver summed it up</a> last night, "We are doing a terrible job taking care of people that it is very easy for all of us not to care about."</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/_Pz3syET3DY" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Oliver outlines a few of the prison system's flagrant injustices:</p> <ul><li>African Americans are sent to prison for drug offenses at <a href="http://www.naacp.org/pages/criminal-justice-fact-sheet" target="_blank">10 times the rate of white people</a>, despite similar levels of drug use.</li> <li>Solitary confinement, which <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/10/solitary-confinement-shane-bauer" target="_blank"><em>Mother Jones </em>has covered</a> extensively, is "one of the most mentally excruciating things prisoners can be subjected to." Yet when&nbsp;a senator asked the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons about <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/10/solitary-cell-graphic" target="_blank">the size of the average isolation cell</a> during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this past February, the prison official had no idea, stalling awkwardly before <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/25/bop-director-prison-cell-size_n_4855865.html" target="_blank">making a wildly incorrect guess</a>.</li> <li>One in 25 prison inmates <a href="http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&amp;iid=4654" target="_blank">reported being sexually victimized</a> in the past year, yet prison rape is culturally-acceptable joke material that crops up in pop culture regularly: from <em>SpongeBob</em> to <em>Friends </em>to <em>Puss in Boots</em>.</li> <li>In an effort to cut costs, many states outsource food, health care, and even prison operations to private contractors. These cost-saving techniques have lead to <a href="http://www.freep.com/article/20140713/NEWS06/307130099/aramark-prison-food-privatization-michigan" target="_blank">maggot-infested food</a> in Michigan prisons and <a href="http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/america-tonight/articles/2014/5/27/whistleblower-arizonainmatesaredyingfrominadequatehealthcare.html" target="_blank">50 inmates dying in one 8-month stretch</a> in Arizona.</li> <li>Prisoner rehabilitation isn't exactly the system's focal point: Publicly-traded private prison giant Corporate Corrections of America (CCA) <a href="http://file:///Users/hlevintova/Downloads/CCA%20Q1%202011%20Investor%20Presentation%20(1).pdf" target="_blank">actually touted</a> "high recidivism" as a reason private prisons are a "unique investment opportunity."</li> </ul><p>He closes the segment by recapping the horrors of the US prison system with mock Sesame Street puppets: The PBS show has recently made <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/05/watch-amazing-sesame-street-video-about-having-parent-prison" target="_blank">efforts to reach out</a> to the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/05/mothers-day-visit-prison-incarcerated-distance" target="_blank">1 in 28 US children</a> growing up with a parent behind bars.</p> <p>The segment's bottom line: Prisoners are not treated humanely in the United States. They're viewed as a nuisance, a problem to be tucked away in a cell and never thought of again. But when nearly <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/28/us/28cnd-prison.html?_r=0" target="_blank">1 in 100 American adults is behind bars</a>, our broken system of mass incarceration is a human rights abuse that should not be ignored.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Video Crime and Justice Human Rights Media Prisons Mon, 21 Jul 2014 20:45:25 +0000 Katie Rose Quandt 256571 at http://www.motherjones.com Do We Need More Business Folks In Congress? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/07/do-we-need-more-business-folks-congress <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><a href="http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2014_07/we_want_more_of_everything051303.php" target="_blank">Ed Kilgore</a> points to a new Gallup poll that asks what kind of people <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/174002/americans-say-business-background-best-governing.aspx" target="_blank">you'd like to see in Congress:</a></p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_gallup__governed_better.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 15px 15px;"></p> <p>So is this a vote for more business experience? Or even&mdash;shudder&mdash;a retroactive yearning for Mitt Romney? Like Kilgore, I'm skeptical. At a guess, people who answered the question about business experience were implicitly contrasting it with lawyers or career politicians, and that's a rigged deck. Of course business leaders will come out ahead compared to those two despised professions.</p> <p>Which makes it too bad that Gallup screwed up this question. Instead of throwing out a kitchen sink of qualities (occupation, religion, ideology, etc.) they should have asked specifically about a list of occupations. Do you think the country would be better governed if our legislatures had more:</p> <ul><li>Business folks</li> <li>Teachers</li> <li>Lawyers</li> <li>Doctors</li> <li>Retired people</li> <li>Military leaders</li> <li>Scientists</li> <li>Etc.</li> </ul><p><em>That</em> would be kind of an interesting poll. Personally, I'd vote for more kindergarten teachers. I suspect that's a pretty appropriate background for serving a few years in Congress.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Congress Mon, 21 Jul 2014 20:08:04 +0000 Kevin Drum 256646 at http://www.motherjones.com Rand Paul Flubs the Facts on the Minimum Wage http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/rand-paul-obama-minimum-wage <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says the minimum wage, like Trix, is for kids. Speaking in San Francisco over the weekend, the likely 2016 presidential candidate took issue with the president and first lady over an interview they gave to <a href="http://parade.condenast.com/306214/parade/the-president-and-michelle-obama-on-work-family-and-juggling-it-all/" target="_blank"><em>Parade</em></a>, in which the Obamas suggested their daughters should work minimum wage jobs because "<span data-parade-clicks="false" data-parade-location-ids="article" data-parade-location-types="promoarea" data-parade-mouseovers="false" data-parade-touches="false" data-parade-type="promoarea" data-parade-views="false">that's what most folks go through every single day." It was a fairly innocuous comment. But Paul argued it sent the wrong message. Per <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/rand-paul-barack-obama-minimum-wage-109137.html" target="_blank"><em>Politico</em></a>:</span></p> <blockquote> <p>Speaking at a downtown conference for libertarian and conservative technology types, the Kentucky Republican and prospective 2016 White House contender said he had an "opposite" view from the Obamas when it comes to seeing his own sons work delivering pizzas and at call centers.</p> <p>"The minimum wage is a temporary" thing, Paul said. "It's a chance to get started. I see my son come home with his tips. And he's got cash in his hand and he's proud of himself. I don't want him to stop there. But he's working and he's understanding the value of work. We shouldn't disparage that."</p> </blockquote> <p>Paul, a libertarian, was echoing the argument made by those who oppose raising the minimum wage: That those jobs are largely filled by young adults just entering the job market&mdash;people who are taking these low-paying positions before moving on to the better-paying jobs&mdash;so it's no big deal if the compensation is at the bottom end of the scale. A low wage might even be beneficial, by providing an incentive to get to the next level. But this is not supported by the facts. Only a quarter of minimum wage workers are teenagers, according to the <a href="http://www.bls.gov/cps/minwage2013.pdf" target="_blank">Bureau of Labor Statistics</a>. Nearly half of minimum wage earners are over 25, and 585,000 (18 percent) are over 45. These aren't kids just learning the value of the buck; they're adults who need income to support themselves and their families. As <em>Mother Jones</em> has reported previously, the current minimum wage doesn't come close to doing that. Just take a spin on our <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/01/costco-vs-walmart-how-many-hours-do-you-need-work-survive" target="_blank">living-wage calculator</a>.</p> <p>If Paul truly believes a low wage is "temporary" for most minimum-wage workers, perhaps he should take the Obamas' advice for their daughters and spend some time working in a fast-food joint.</p></body></html> MoJo Congress Economy Income Inequality Mon, 21 Jul 2014 19:33:25 +0000 Tim Murphy 256581 at http://www.motherjones.com Watch: Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick's Emotional Speech on Child Migrants http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/deval-patrick-child-immigration-shelter-speech <!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="//www.youtube.com/embed/H-7nySPVcOU?start=321" width="630"></iframe></p> <p></p><div id="mininav" class="inline-subnav"> <!-- header content --> <div id="mininav-header-content"> <div id="mininav-header-image"> <img src="/files/images/motherjones_mininav/migrants_225.jpg" width="220" border="0"></div> </div> <!-- linked stories --> <div id="mininav-linked-stories"> <ul><span id="linked-story-252671"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/06/child-migrants-surge-unaccompanied-central-america"> 70,000 Kids Will Show Up Alone at Our Border This Year. What Happens to Them?</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-255056"> <li><a href="/mojo/2014/06/map-unaccompanied-child-migrants-central-america-honduras"> Map: These Are the Places Central American Child Migrants Are Fleeing </a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-256016"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/07/immigration-courts-backlog-child-migrant-crisis"> Why Our Immigration Courts Can't Handle the Child Migrant Crisis</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-256341"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/07/are-kids-showing-border-really-refugees"> Are the Kids Showing Up at the Border Really Refugees?</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-256331"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/07/child-migrant-ellis-island-history"> Child Migrants Have Been Coming to America Alone Since Ellis Island</a></li> </span> </ul></div> <!-- footer content --> <div id="mininav-footer-content"> <div id="mininav-footer-text" class="mininav-footer-text"> <p class="mininav-footer-text" style="margin: 0; padding: 0.75em; font-size: 11px; font-weight: bold; line-height: 1.2em; background-color: rgb(221, 221, 221);"> See <em>MoJo</em>'s <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/topics/child-migrants">full coverage</a> of the surge of unaccompanied child migrants from Central America. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p>On Friday, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/07/18/emotional-deval-patrick-explains-plan-to-shelter-undocumented-children-video/" target="_blank">announced a plan</a> for his state to temporarily shelter up to 1,000 unaccompanied children who have <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/child-migrants-surge-unaccompanied-central-america" target="_blank">recently fled</a> to the United States as part of the ongoing <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/topics/child-migrants" target="_blank">border crisis</a>. He cited America's history of giving "sanctuary to desperate children for centuries," the "blight on our national reputation" when we refused to accept Jewish children fleeing the Nazis in 1939, and his Christian faith as reasons for the decision. "My faith teaches," he said, fighting back tears, "that if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him but rather love him as yourself." The Joint Base Cape Cod and Westover Air Base are the two facilities being considered as <a href="http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2014/07/18/immigrant-children-massachusetts-governor-patrick/" target="_blank">possible locations</a>.</p> <p>Notably, Patrick has said "<a href="http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2014/02/23/governor-patrick-says-maybe-presidential-run-after-election/vGG5tmuFRE7q2nbduEwrxL/story.html" target="_blank">maybe</a>" to a 2016 run for president.</p></body></html> MoJo Immigration International child migrants Mon, 21 Jul 2014 18:56:35 +0000 Brett Brownell 256606 at http://www.motherjones.com If the Left Wants Scapegoats, Just Look in the Mirror http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/07/if-left-wants-scapegoats-just-look-mirror <!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_obama_walk_water.jpg" style="margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Thomas Frank is convinced that Barack Obama single-handedly prevented America from becoming the lefty paradise it was on course for <a href="http://www.salon.com/2014/07/20/right_wing_obstruction_could_have_been_fought_an_ineffective_and_gutless_presidencys_legacy_is_failure/" target="_blank">after the financial meltdown of 2008:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The Obama team, as the president once announced to a delegation of investment bankers, was &ldquo;the only thing between you and the pitchforks,&rdquo; and in retrospect <strong>these words seem not only to have been a correct assessment of the situation at the moment but a credo for his entire term in office</strong>. For my money, they should be carved in stone over the entrance to his monument: Barack Obama as the one-man rescue squad for an economic order that had aroused the fury of the world. Better: Obama as the awesomely talented doctor who kept the corpse of a dead philosophy lumbering along despite it all.</p> <p>....In point of fact, <strong>there were plenty of things Obama&rsquo;s Democrats could have done that might have put the right out of business once and for all</strong>&mdash;for example, by responding more aggressively to the Great Recession or by pounding relentlessly on the theme of middle-class economic distress. Acknowledging this possibility, however, has always been difficult for consensus-minded Democrats, and I suspect that in the official recounting of the Obama era, this troublesome possibility will disappear entirely. Instead, the terrifying Right-Wing Other will be cast in bronze at twice life-size, and made the excuse for the Administration&rsquo;s every last failure of nerve, imagination and foresight. Demonizing the right will also allow the Obama legacy team to present his two electoral victories as ends in themselves, since they kept the White House out of the monster&rsquo;s grasp&mdash;heroic triumphs that were truly worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize. (Which will be dusted off and prominently displayed.)</p> </blockquote> <p>I see this kind of thing all the time on the right. <em>If only we had a candidate who refused to sell out conservative values! A candidate who could truly make the American public understand! Then we'd win in a landslide!</em></p> <p>It's easy to recognize this as delusional. Tea party types are always convinced that America is thirsting for true conservatism, and all that's needed is a latter-day Ronald Reagan to be its salesman. Needless to say, this misses the point that Americans aren't all reactionaries. In fact, as the embarrassing clown shows of the past two GOP primaries have shown, even most Republicans aren't reactionaries. There's been no shortage of honest-to-God right wingers to choose from, but they can't even win the nomination, let alone a general election.</p> <p>(Of course you never know. Maybe 2016 is the year!)</p> <p>But if it's so easy to see this conservative delusion for what it is, why isn't it equally easy to recognize the same brand of liberal delusion? Back in 2009, was Obama really the only thing that stood between bankers and the howling mob? Don't be silly. Americans were barely even upset, let alone ready for revolution. Those pathetic demonstrations outside the headquarters of AIG were about a hundredth the size that even a half-ass political organization can muster for a routine anti-abortion rally. After a few days the AIG protestors got bored and went home without so much as throwing a few bottles at cops. Even the Greeks managed that much.</p> <p>Why were Americans so obviously not enraged? Because&mdash;duh&mdash;<em>the hated neoliberal system worked</em>. We didn't have a second Great Depression. The Fed intervened, the banking system was saved, and a stimulus bill was passed. Did bankers get treated too well? Oh yes indeed. Was the stimulus too small? You bet. Nevertheless, was America saved from an epic collapse? It sure was. Instead of a massive meltdown, we got a really bad recession and a weak recovery, and even that was cushioned by a safety net that, although inadequate, was more than enough to keep the pitchforks off the streets.</p> <p>As for Obama, could he have done more? I suppose he probably could have, but it's a close call. Even with his earnest efforts at bipartisanship at the beginning of his presidency, he only barely passed <em>any</em> stimulus at all. If instead he'd issued thundering populist manifestos, even Susan Collins would have turned against him and the stimulus bill would have been not too small, but completely dead. Ditto for virtually everything else Obama managed to pass by one or two votes during his first 18 months. If that had happened, the economy would have done even worse, and if you somehow think this means the public would have become more sympathetic to the party in the White House, then your knowledge of American politics is at about the kindergarten level. Democrats would have lost even more seats in 2010 than they did.</p> <p>Look: Obama made some mistakes. He should have done more about housing. He shouldn't have pivoted to deficit-mongering so quickly. Maybe he could have kept a public option in Obamacare if he'd fought harder for it. Maybe, maybe, maybe. But probably not. Like it or not, America was not poised for a huge liberal wave in 2008. It just wasn't. It was poised for a fairly routine cycle of throwing out the old bums and electing new bums, who would, as usual, be given a very short and very limited honeymoon. Democrats actually accomplished a fair amount during that honeymoon, but no, they didn't turn American into a lefty paradise. That was never in the cards.</p> <p>All of us who do what Thomas Frank does&mdash;what I do&mdash;have failed. Our goal was to persuade the public to move in a liberal direction, and that didn't happen. In the end, we didn't persuade much of anyone. It's natural to want to avoid facing that humiliating truth, and equally natural to look for someone else to blame instead. That's human nature. So fine. Blame Obama if it makes you feel better. That's what we elect presidents for: to take the blame.</p> <p>But he only deserves his share. The rest of us, who were unable to take advantage of an epic financial collapse to get the public firmly in favor of pitchforks and universal health care, deserve most of it. The mirror doesn't lie.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Obama Top Stories Mon, 21 Jul 2014 17:31:59 +0000 Kevin Drum 256601 at http://www.motherjones.com Fighting in Gaza Bad for Mankind, Great for Right-Wing Website http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/fighting-gaza-bad-humans-great-right-wing-website <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Israel's ground offensive into Gaza, which began last Thursday after a week of air strikes, has come with a heavy price: 20 Israelis and 445 Palestinians have now died since the conflict flared up two weeks ago. But at least one group is happy about the news&mdash;<em>WorldNetDaily</em>, the far-right website, which <a href="http://www.wnd.com/2014/07/hamas-rockets-boon-to-israel-tour/" target="_blank">reports</a>, in a story titled "Hamas Rockets Boon to Israel Tour," that the ground offensive has been good for business:</p> <blockquote> <p>WASHINGTON &ndash; During the week Hamas fired thousands of rockets on Israel, interest in WND's Israel tour with Joseph Farah and Jonathan Cahn spiked, with 68 signups in seven days, the most in a one-week period since registration began in February,&nbsp;WND announced.</p> <p>"I thought news of thousands of rockets raining down on Israel would be a deterrent to Americans who were thinking about joining us on WND's Israel tour," said Farah. "It wasn't at all. In fact, it seems like Americans are eager to show solidarity with the Jewish state at this time."</p> <p>The second annual tour is on pace to match last year&rsquo;s size, with nearly 400 participants, most originating in the U.S.</p> </blockquote> <p>Congrats, guys.</p></body></html> MoJo Human Rights International Military Mon, 21 Jul 2014 15:59:58 +0000 Tim Murphy 256591 at http://www.motherjones.com High School Kids Brave the Anti-Vax Jihadists http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/07/high-school-kids-brave-anti-vax-jihadists <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Here's a heartwarming story for you. Prompted by the decline in vaccination rates among children in San Diego, a group of students at Carlsbad High School decided to make a short documentary about "the science of disease and the risks <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/images/blog_see_no_evil.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">facing a society that is under-vaccinated." You can probably guess <a href="http://www.latimes.com/health/la-me-vaccines-movie-20140721-story.html#page=1" target="_blank">what happened next:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Complaints began to arise when a local newspaper reported that the students were tackling "the issue of immunizations." A blogger who saw the article contended that the movie, still a work in progress, was sure to be "propaganda." <strong>That led to a flurry of frightening phone calls and Internet comments directed at CHSTV, [advisor Lisa] Posard said.</strong></p> <p>Posard said she hadn't realized that vaccines were such a controversial subject. She and CHSTV teacher Douglas Green wanted to shut down production, she added. But the students, angered by what they saw as bullying, insisted on completing the film.</p> <p>The final version of "Invisible Threat," completed in spring 2013 but shown only to select audiences, took a strong pro-vaccine position.</p> <p>Critics, who said they hadn't been allowed to see the movie, leaped back into action about a year later, when the film was set to be screened on Capitol Hill.</p> <p><strong>Focus Autism and AutismOne organizations complained about the movie's Rotary Club backing and about the involvement of Dr. Paul Offit, a University of Pennsylvania pediatrician and immunization proponent.</strong> They argued that "Invisible Threat" was "scripted with industry talking points" and that the movie seemed to be the work of adults operating under false pretenses, not students.</p> </blockquote> <p>Thanks to the McCarthyite cretins in the murderous vaccinations-cause-autism movement, to this day the documentary has barely been seen outside the confines of the school. It will finally get posted on the Web on August 1st. Maybe it will save some lives.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Health Care Science Mon, 21 Jul 2014 15:41:31 +0000 Kevin Drum 256596 at http://www.motherjones.com More Pointless Bluster on Foreign Policy, Please http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/07/more-pointless-bluster-foreign-policy-please <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Via <em>Politico,</em> Here's the latest on <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/politico-poll-ukraine-middle-east-109155.html" target="_blank">American attitudes toward foreign policy:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Asked whether the U.S should do more to counter Russian aggression in Ukraine, just 17 percent answered in the affirmative....More than three-quarters of likely voters say they support plans to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016....Forty-four percent of likely voters favor less involvement in Iraq&rsquo;s civil war....Likely voters prefer less involvement in Syria&rsquo;s civil war over more involvement, 42 percent to 15 percent.</p> </blockquote> <p>Based on this, can you figure out which party is more trusted on foreign policy? You guessed it: Republicans, by a margin of 39-32 percent.</p> <p>Bottom line (for about the thousandth time): Americans prefer the <em>actual</em> foreign policy of Democrats, but they prefer the <em>rhetorical</em> foreign policy of Republicans. They want lots of bluster and chest thumping, but without much in the way of serious action. In other words, pretty much what Reagan did.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Foreign Policy Mon, 21 Jul 2014 14:51:16 +0000 Kevin Drum 256576 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for July 21, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/were-still-war-photo-day-july-21-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p class="rtecenter"><em>Two US Marines alongside two Japan Ground self-defense soldiers practice techniques at Kin Blue beach in Japan. <span class="meta-field photo-desc " id="yui_3_16_0_rc_1_1_1405949962974_1412">(US Marine Photo by Cpl. Henry Antenor)</span></em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Mon, 21 Jul 2014 13:47:11 +0000 256561 at http://www.motherjones.com "Country Funk Volume II" Is the Perfect Summer Soundtrack http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/07/country-funk-volume-ii-1967-1974-summer-soundtrack-review <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><strong>Various Artists<br><em>Country Funk Volume II 1967-1974</em><br> Light in the Attic</strong></p> <p><img alt="Country Funk" class="image" src="/files/LITA116_Highres_Cover_thumb_325.jpg" style="height: 230px; width: 230px; float: right;">Like its predecessor, the beguiling <em>Country Funk Volume II, 1967-1974</em> is a collection of rebels, reprobates and other outsiders blurring genres and donning different guises. Ranging from big names to cult favorites, this dud-free, 17-track romp captures Kenny Rogers in his pre-crooner, almost-psychedelic phase and the chameleon-like Bobby Darin (here billed as Bob) in his down-home hippie groove. R&amp;B greats Larry Williams and Johnny Watson team up for freaky rock and roll, while Willie Nelson tries out his outlaw persona&mdash;and likes it. Elsewhere, former Byrd Gene Clark puts a rootsy spin on the Beatles, and sleepy JJ Cale mines a deep, soulful groove. And there's plenty more to dig on this scruffy, lovably offbeat set, which makes a perfect summer soundtrack.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/eCMZIA5dK4c" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> Mixed Media Music Mon, 21 Jul 2014 10:00:19 +0000 Jon Young 256231 at http://www.motherjones.com Armed With a Backpack Studio and a Plane Ticket, Beat Making Lab Sows Global Activism http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/07/premiere-pbs-digital-studios-beat-making-lab-sets-diy-studios-around-world <!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="//www.youtube.com/embed/TnKSXkUtKW0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>In Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, fences as far as the eye could see were topped with barbed wire. Glass bottle shards protruded from concrete walls so that no one could scale them. Some buildings were even corralled by electric barriers. They resembled fortresses&mdash;all but one. "At Yole!Africa, the walls were completely bare. Students were sitting on them," recalls Pierce Freelon, one of the founders of <a href="http://www.beatmakinglab.com/" target="_blank">Beat Making Lab</a>.</p> <p>Beat Making Lab, a project that began in 2011 as a music production and entrepreneurship class at University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, had morphed into an international expedition to teach kids how to make beats and set up makeshift studios for around the world. Yole!Africa, a Congolese Center for Art and Cultural Exchange, was their first stop. "When you came in, there were two concrete slabs where artists are dancing," Freelon adds. "You don't need a dance studio with hardwood floors, with windows and a ballet bar, to put in work and do dance. You can do it in the dirt."</p> <p>They had come to lend that DIY mentality to an art-form not yet represented at Yole!Africa. With just a backpack full of gear&mdash;USB microphone, keyboard, laptop, MIDI controllers, headphones, and software&mdash;Freelon and BML cofounder, the producer/DJ Stephen Levitin (who has worked with the likes of Azealia Banks, Camp Lo, Mos Def, and Wale) set up shop in a storage room and launched their first two-week workshop. "In terms of where [art] can happen?" Freelon says, "the answer is anywhere and everywhere."</p> <p>In 2013, the duo helped produce songs from a prison in Panama. They brought beat-making tools to the beaches of Fiji. They held sessions on the streets of Senegal and Ethiopia. Along the way, they documented their experiences and created videos for the songs their students created. Here's one from Ethiopia:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/4SfwcYVUYyA" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Before long, the project caught the attention of PBS, which signed on to help produce a web series. Season 2, which launches today, kicks off in Nairobi with the video at the top of this post. The beatmakers have taken a more political turn this time around. In Kenya, they partner with <a href="https://www.therules.org/en/actions/movement--2" target="_blank">/The Rules</a> (a "global movement to bring power back to people, and change the rules that create inequality and poverty around the world"), interweaving recording sessions with spoken word workshops led by Jamaican poet Staceyann Chin, and digital power-mapping workshops led by Ann Daramola (a.k.a. Afrolicious). The goal: to encourage participants to deploy art in the cause of activism.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was the ill-est thing ever," Freelon says. "Those same students who have been thinking about tax havens and queerness and patriarchy are now coming into our Beat Making Lab and making beats."</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/L_Nq5FCbd0E" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Freelon and Levitin hope to keep expanding into new territory. Up next on their wish list are Palestine, Israel, India, and China. "We left Kenya saying we need not ever go back to what we were doing in 2013," Freelon says. "From this time forward we are going to have a deeper, more intentional process."</p> <p><em>Subscribe to BML's <a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/beatmakinglab" target="_blank">YouTube channel</a> to see the story unfold.</em></p></body></html> Mixed Media International Music Mon, 21 Jul 2014 10:00:18 +0000 Gabrielle Canon 255306 at http://www.motherjones.com Fast Tracks: Reigning Sound's "You Did Wrong" http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/07/fast-tracks-reigning-sounds-you-did-wrong <!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="//www.youtube.com/embed/cQaZ4hhghQo" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><strong>TRACK 5</strong></p> <p>"You Did Wrong"</p> <p>From Reigning Sound's <em>Shattered</em></p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/shattered-300x300.gif"></div> <p>MERGE</p> <p><strong>Liner notes:</strong> "Where have you been, my friend? I've been calling you for days," croons Greg Cartwright, comforting a heartbroken pal in this bracing garage-soul lament.</p> <p><strong>Behind the music:</strong> The Memphis multitasker has a slew of other bands on his r&eacute;sum&eacute;, such as the Oblivians and Compulsive Gamblers.</p> <p><strong>Check it out if you like:</strong> Retro floor-shakers like the Deadly Snakes and King Khan &amp; the Shrines.</p> <p><em>This review originally appeared in the </em><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/toc/2014/07" target="_blank">July/August 2014 Issue</a> <em>of </em>Mother Jones.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Media Music Mon, 21 Jul 2014 10:00:18 +0000 Jon Young 252796 at http://www.motherjones.com Film Review: "The Newburgh Sting" http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/07/film-review-newburgh-sting <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p class="rtecenter"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/dLzPn-YvXXs" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><a href="http://www.hbo.com/documentaries/the-newburgh-sting" target="_blank"><strong>The Newburgh Sting</strong></a></p> <p>HBO DOCUMENTARY FILMS<a href="#correction">*</a></p> <p>Drawing on a trove of covert FBI video footage, this well-argued doc offers a spirited defense of four men charged in 2009 with plotting to blow up Air National Guard planes and set off bombs outside Jewish community centers in the Bronx&mdash;a story first detailed in our 2011 investigation "The Informants." The men, occasionally observant Muslims from impoverished Newburgh, New York, some with prior convictions for drug dealing, thought they would make $250,000 for the job&mdash;a life-changing sum. But it was a setup. An FBI informant provided everything: the plan, the bombs and missiles, even a car to get them to the scene of the would-be crime. Like the defendants in similar stings, the men cried entrapment but were convicted anyway. Many viewers won't sympathize with men who seemed willing to kill civilians for a price, and fair enough. But footage of the Boston Marathon bombing near the end of the film begs the question: What kinds of threats are slipping through the cracks while the FBI spends millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours setting up a crew of street hustlers in the Newburgh ghetto?</p> <p id="correction"><em>*Correction: The original version of this review, which also ran in our 2014 July/August print issue, incorrectly identified the film distributor.</em></p></body></html> Mixed Media Civil Liberties Crime and Justice Film and TV Supreme Court Mon, 21 Jul 2014 10:00:17 +0000 Nick Baumann 252771 at http://www.motherjones.com Quick Reads: "Unruly Places" by Alastair Bonnett http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/07/quick-reads-unruly-places-alastair-bonnett <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="Unruly Places" class="image" src="/files/unruly-places-250.jpg"></div> <p><strong>Unruly Places</strong></p> <p>By Alastair Bonnett</p> <p>HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT</p> <p>By now, given the pace of technology, you'd think every square inch of the planet's surface had already been discovered, scrutinized, and made accessible online. In this catalog of the world's forgotten, ignored, and phantom places, British geographer Alastair Bonnett shows us that our maps still hold plenty of secrets. Take Wittenoom, an asbestos-mining center turned ghost town in Western Australia that vanished from official records&mdash;but not from the face of the earth. Or the no man's land between Senegal and Guinea that is host to entire nationless villages. There's also Sandy Island, a South Pacific sandbar that existed on Google Earth until 2012&mdash;when an Australian expedition discovered that it never actually existed. The geography of the unknown has never been so comprehensible.</p> <p><em>This review originally appeared in our <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/toc/2014/07" target="_blank">July/August issue</a> of</em> Mother Jones.&nbsp;</p></body></html> Mixed Media Sat, 19 Jul 2014 10:00:07 +0000 Alex Park 253021 at http://www.motherjones.com David Vitter's Deportation Proposal Could Require More Planes Than There Are on Earth http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/david-vitter-deportation-proposal-requires-more-planes-exist-on-earth <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/vitter-planes-02.png"></div> <p>David Vitter has had it with undocumented immigrants. "Enough is enough," the Republican Senator and Louisiana gubernatorial candidate <a href="https://twitter.com/DavidVitter/status/490161152559939584" target="_blank">tweeted</a> on Friday. "I introduced a bill to require mandatory detention for anyone here illegally &amp; get illegal aliens on the next plane home."</p> <p>The legislation&nbsp;Vitter introduced Friday&nbsp;doesn't <em>actually</em> require all immigrants to be detained and deported. It&nbsp;mostly applies to child migrants,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/child-migrants-surge-unaccompanied-central-america" target="_blank">70,000 of whom</a>&nbsp;will make their way to the United States from Central America this year. Specifically, unaccompanied&nbsp;minors without asylum claims would be put "on the next available flight to their home countries within 72 hours of an initial screening."</p> <div><div id="mininav" class="inline-subnav"> <!-- header content --> <div id="mininav-header-content"> <div id="mininav-header-image"> <img src="/files/images/motherjones_mininav/migrants_225.jpg" width="220" border="0"></div> </div> <!-- linked stories --> <div id="mininav-linked-stories"> <ul><span id="linked-story-252671"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/06/child-migrants-surge-unaccompanied-central-america"> 70,000 Kids Will Show Up Alone at Our Border This Year. What Happens to Them?</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-255056"> <li><a href="/mojo/2014/06/map-unaccompanied-child-migrants-central-america-honduras"> Map: These Are the Places Central American Child Migrants Are Fleeing </a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-256016"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/07/immigration-courts-backlog-child-migrant-crisis"> Why Our Immigration Courts Can't Handle the Child Migrant Crisis</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-256341"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/07/are-kids-showing-border-really-refugees"> Are the Kids Showing Up at the Border Really Refugees?</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-256331"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/07/child-migrant-ellis-island-history"> Child Migrants Have Been Coming to America Alone Since Ellis Island</a></li> </span> </ul></div> <!-- footer content --> <div id="mininav-footer-content"> <div id="mininav-footer-text" class="mininav-footer-text"> <p class="mininav-footer-text" style="margin: 0; padding: 0.75em; font-size: 11px; font-weight: bold; line-height: 1.2em; background-color: rgb(221, 221, 221);"> See <em>MoJo</em>'s <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/topics/child-migrants">full coverage</a> of the surge of unaccompanied child migrants from Central America. </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p>But if we really tried to do what&nbsp;Vitter's tweet suggests&mdash;and why not? He's a senator!&mdash;it would entail increasing the nation's immigration detention capacity by a factor of <a href="http://www.immigrationforum.org/images/uploads/mathofimmigrationdetention.pdf" target="_blank">365</a>. And flying all those immigrants home would require more planes than currently exist.</p> <p>The math is simple. According to the Department of Homeland Security, there are 11 million people currently in the United States without permanent legal status, the bulk of them from Latin America. In 2011, the average flight to that region had room for 171.8 passengers. It would require 64,027 flights to move all those migrants. Unfortunately, there were only 7,185 commercial aircraft in the United States&nbsp;as of 2011, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, so the mass deportations might take a while, especially considering Tegucigalpa's Toncont&iacute;n International Airport <a href="http://jalopnik.com/5302783/honduras-worlds-trickiest-landing" target="_blank">boasts</a> "the world's trickiest landing."</p> <p>Even if other nations chipped in, it'd still be a tough row to hoe. According to <a href="http://www.boeing.com/assets/pdf/commercial/cmo/pdf/Boeing_Current_Market_Outlook_2013.pdf" target="_blank">Boeing</a>, there are only 20,310 commercial airliners in the world, although that figure is set to double by 2032, if we want to wait.&nbsp;</p> <p>These back-of-the-envelope calculations don't take into account other details, like the costs and logistics of finding and rounding up 11 million people. On the plus side, the amount of jet fuel required for Vitter's<span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 2em;"> plan&nbsp;would be a boon for the oil and gas industry&mdash;one of Louisiana's largest employers.</span></p></body></html> MoJo Congress Immigration child migrants Fri, 18 Jul 2014 22:31:28 +0000 Tim Murphy 256546 at http://www.motherjones.com The EPA Dithers While a Popular Pesticide Threatens Ecosystems http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/07/silent-spring-eternal-epa-dithers-while-popular-pesticide-threatens-ecosystems <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Ah, summer&mdash;the season when trillions of corn and soybean plants tower horizon-to-horizon in the Midwest. All told, US farmers planted<a href="http://www.nass.usda.gov/Newsroom/2014/06_30_2014.asp"> more than 170 million acres</a> in these two crops this year&mdash;a combined landmass<a href="http://www.statemaster.com/graph/geo_lan_acr_tot-geography-land-acreage-total"> roughly equal in size to the state of Texas</a>. That's great news for the companies that turn corn and soy into livestock feed, sweeteners, and food additives; but not so great for honeybees, wild pollinating insects like bumblebees, and birds.</p> <p>That's because these crops&mdash;along with other major ones like alfalfa and sunflower&mdash;are widely treated with pesticides called neonicotinoids. Made&nbsp; by European chemical giants Bayer and Syngenta, these chemicals generate a staggering<a href="http://www.rollcall.com/news/pesticide_ban_is_just_one_piece_of_honeybee_puzzle-233624-1.html"> $2.6 billion in annual revenue</a> worldwide&mdash;and have come under heavy suspicion as a trigger of colony collapse disorder and other, less visible, ecological calamities.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/tom-philpott/2014/07/silent-spring-eternal-epa-dithers-while-popular-pesticide-threatens-ecosystems"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Tom Philpott Food and Ag Fri, 18 Jul 2014 20:18:02 +0000 Tom Philpott 256496 at http://www.motherjones.com Friday Cat Blogging - 18 July 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/07/friday-cat-blogging-18-july-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In an awesome display of athleticism, Domino hopped into the laundry hamper this week. I was shocked. I didn't think she could do it. But I guess when you're motivated by the sweet, sweet prospect of snoozing among the delicate aromas of worn human clothing, you can accomplish anything. As for what she's looking at in this picture, I have no idea. Probably something in the cat dimension.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_domino_2014_07_18.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 15px 40px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 18 Jul 2014 18:55:05 +0000 Kevin Drum 256521 at http://www.motherjones.com Iran's Oil Exports Have Fallen By Half Since Sanctions Were Imposed http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/07/irans-oil-exports-have-fallen-half-sanctions-were-imposed <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>If you're curious about the impact of economic sanctions on Iran, OPEC's newly-released 2014 statistical bulletin provides a pretty concrete look. As the tables below show, in just the past two years Iran's oil exports have fallen by nearly half and the rial has lost a third of its value. If you want to know why Iran is negotiating over its nuclear program, that's the story in a nutshell.</p> <p>The whole report is <a href="http://www.opec.org/opec_web/static_files_project/media/downloads/publications/ASB2014.pdf" target="_blank">here.</a> Plenty of interesting little tidbits there for inquiring minds.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_opec_iran_sanctions.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 75px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Economy International Fri, 18 Jul 2014 18:09:55 +0000 Kevin Drum 256516 at http://www.motherjones.com Obama Slams Putin and Calls for Ukraine Ceasefire http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/obama-putin-ukraine-malaysian-airlines-speech <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Friday afternoon, President Barack Obama demanded that Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine adhere to a cease fire, and he slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin for not keeping his vow to de-escalate in the Ukraine and for continuing to provide weapons and training to the rebels. Obama confirmed media reports noting that US intelligence has determined that a missile fired from the rebel-held area <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/07/malaysia-airlines-ukraine-crash-mh17-planes-military-shot-down" target="_blank">downed the Malaysian Airlines passenger plane</a>, killing over 300 people. Obama announced that one US citizen was on the flight. Watch the speech here:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/r7S6flVWy7w" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> MoJo Video International Obama Fri, 18 Jul 2014 16:32:33 +0000 Erika Eichelberger 256506 at http://www.motherjones.com Blueberries, Gold, Inflation, and Professor Krugman http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/07/blueberries-gold-inflation-and-professor-krugman <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>So Paul Krugman writes a column about all the folks who have been hysterically predicting runaway inflation for the past few years, and what does he get? <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/18/opinion/paul-krugman-addicted-to-inflation.html" target="_blank">This:</a></p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_krugman_inflation_comments.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 150px;"></p> <p>I know it's just a coincidence. The other 500 comments are quite likely perfectly sane. Nonetheless, this is what we're up against.</p> <p><strong>POSTSCRIPT:</strong> In case you're curious, food prices have actually risen 11 percent over the past five years. In other words, about 2.2 percent per year.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Economy Fri, 18 Jul 2014 16:18:17 +0000 Kevin Drum 256501 at http://www.motherjones.com AK-47 Manufacturer Fires Back at US Over Sanctions http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/ak-47-maker-rostec-fires-back-over-sanctions <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>When the US imposed more sanctions on Russia this week, some US gun owners <a href="http://www.texasguntalk.com/forums/news-articles/59772-obama-sanctions-kalashnikov-rifles.html" target="_blank">assumed</a> the move was a targeted assault on their constitutional rights. It's not. But according to Rostec, the Russian government-owned company whose Kalashnikov subsidiary makes the AK-47, the assault rifle will be much harder to come by for US customers. After Rostec was added to the sanctions list, it fired back. "For Kalashnikov...the US is an important market for selling arms," a spokesman told <a href="http://en.itar-tass.com/world/741107" target="_blank">ITAR-TASS</a>, a Russian government news agency. "It should be noted that the Kalashnikov products are very popular in the US... This means that the sanctions the US Administration has imposed on Kalashnikov contravene the interests of US consumers."</p> <p>AK-47's, which are cheap and durable (though not terribly accurate), are the world's most popular gun. As many as <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/15/business/a-kalashnikov-factory-in-russia-survives-on-sales-to-us-gun-owners.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">100 million</a> have been produced since its debut in 1947&mdash;by Kalashnikov and a multitude of imitators in China and Eastern Europe. Kalashnikov's fully-automatic models are illegal to own in the United States without a special permit. But the semi-automatic version are regulated under the same <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/17/everything-you-need-to-know-about-banning-assault-weapons-in-one-post/" target="_blank">patchwork</a> of state and local laws that regulate hunting rifles. In recent years, as the Russian military has reduced its orders, Kalashnikov has shifted its focus away from the full-auto weapons and toward semi-automatic models for the gun enthusiast market in the United States.</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Izhmash_0.png"><div class="caption"><strong>Kalashnikov's Russian logo </strong>Wikimedia Commons</div> </div> <p>The new sanctions cut off the supply of AK-47s from the factory source, but gun stores with an old inventory and gun owners with one to spare are <a href="http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answer.aspx#373" target="_blank">free to go about</a> their business as before. The only caveat is that Kalashnikov can't make any money off the deal.</p> <p>In an unsigned <a href="http://rostec.ru/en/news/4514019" target="_blank">statement</a> posted on its website, Rostec notes that its analysts are conducting a "full study" of the impact of the new sanctions on its business, and argues that sanctions are putting its partnerships with US businesses at risk: "Now it is possible to say that the measures taken by Washington will have a negative impact on the cooperation of several Russian and American companies, threatening to undermine mutual trust," the company maintains.</p> <p>The AK issue came up during a State Department media briefing on Thursday. Asked if the Kalashnikov sanctions would affect customers in the US, spokeswoman Jen Psaki responded, "We take into account the impact on the United States, on US businesses and consumers, and certainly we feel that peace and political stability and respect for international law are of critical importance to the global economy and to US&nbsp;businesses."</p> <p>Kalashnikov's exclusive US importer, <a href="http://www.rwcgroupllc.com/" target="_blank">RWC Group</a>, has not yet issued a statement.</p></body></html> MoJo Corporations Foreign Policy Guns Fri, 18 Jul 2014 15:56:16 +0000 Alex Park 256411 at http://www.motherjones.com