MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en Why the Feds Won't Let You Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><em>This story was originally published by </em><a href="" target="_blank">Fusion</a> <em>and is reproduced here as part of the <a href="" target="_blank">Climate Desk</a> collaboration.</em></p> <p>Earlier this year, author and environmentalist Terry Tempest Williams bought leasing rights to 1,120 acres of public land in Utah to spare it from fossil fuel development. In explaining to the Bureau of Land Management at the time why her bid was legitimate, she<a href=""> said that</a> "you can't define what energy is for us. Our energy development is fueling a movement."</p> <p>Williams and her husband, Brooke, also say they did everything they thought necessary to meet the legal requirements of the leasing process, including setting up a company, Tempest Exploration Company, LLC.</p> <p>As it turns out, BLM was unpersuaded by these actions, and on Wednesday the agency determined that only those fully committed to extracting the resources from the land can bid it on.</p> <p>According to Michael Freeman, a staff attorney with the environmental nonprofit EarthJustice, this decision represents much more than just the denial of poetic justice&mdash;it gets at the heart of the problem with how BLM, which administers some 264 million acres of public lands, prioritizes fossil fuel companies at the expense of others.</p> <p>"What I find really striking about this is that someone went through the process, followed the rules, paid the money, was prepared to pay rent and they won't let her lease the land because she's not part of the oil and gas industry," said Freeman. "That's not how it's supposed to work and what BLM is doing is probably illegal."</p> <p>Freeman said that oil and gas companies buy leases all the time on speculation, and BLM doesn't require them to show that they're going to actually extract oil and gas before issuing the lease. He said companies routinely sit on leases for years without developing them.</p> <p>In looking at the bigger role of BLM, he said the agency's mission is to "manage public lands for the good of the public" and that "sometimes this involves energy development and sometimes it means protecting resources."</p> <p>Right now there's around 20 million acres of public land <a href="">under lease</a> that isn't being developed for oil and gas (out of <a href=";utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&amp;utm_campaign=usatoday-newstopstories">32.2 million acres</a> of total federal land under lease for such purposes). BLM has "suspended" around 3 million acres of these leases, meaning that the lessees no longer pay rent on them, although they continue to control the land.</p> <p>"Requiring a bidder to show that she will develop leases before she even gets them is something I've never heard of BLM doing," Freeman said. "Apparently the agency doesn't want a member of the public to buy leases when the individual is not clearly going to develop the land."</p> <p><a href="">Studies</a> <a href="">show</a> that phasing out fossil fuel leases on public lands is crucial to keeping climate change within the 2-degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) temperature increase that most scientists believe is necessary to avoid cataclysmic impacts. Tempest's action was part of a larger "Keep it in the ground" movement determined to protect public lands from drilling. Members of the campaign have tried to be present at every recent public lands and waters fossil fuel auction trying to raise awareness for the cause and pressure the government into taking a firmer stand.</p> <p>The failure of Tempest and her husband to secure the rights to the land, which they attempted to pay $2,500 for ($1,680 plus a $820 processing fee) is a blow to the movement, but also a call to action.</p> <p>"The BLM's decision to reject the oil and gas leases legally purchased by Terry Tempest Williams and Brooke Williams demonstrates the agency's clear bias towards fossil fuel companies and their bottom line," said Marissa Knodel with Friends of the Earth. "It's shameful that the BLM would use a double standard that places greater value on raising corporate profits than the safety of people and our climate."</p> <p>Ryan Sutherland, a spokesperson for BLM's Utah office defended the agency's decision, saying in a statement to <a href=""><em>The Desert News</em> </a>that "Ms. Terry Tempest Williams of Tempest Exploration indicated on several occasions that the company has no intention of developing the two leases," and that "BLM, therefore, had little choice other than to deny the lease offers."</p> <p>In <a href=";utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&amp;utm_campaign=usatoday-newstopstories">a letter to</a> Williams rejecting her bids, BLM Utah Director Edwin Roberson cited a provision in the bureau's standard lease agreement requiring buyers to "exercise reasonable diligence in developing and producing" oil or gas.</p> <p><a href="">According to</a> the Tempests, their company met all the legal requirements of the leasing process:</p> <blockquote> <p>We bid on two leases for which there was no other bidder, so as not to prevent another party from acquiring a selected lease parcel. We paid the required fees. We have consistently stated that we would comply with the law and regulations governing management of the leases. We have made clear to the BLM that we would consider developing our leases when science supports a sustainable use of the oil and gas at an increased value given the costs of climate change to future generations. This is the same approach used by oil and gas companies that routinely base their exploration and development decisions on the price of oil and other market factors and often hold their leases for years without drilling.</p> </blockquote> <p>In <a href="">discussing the experience</a> of bidding on the property with on <em>Democracy Now!</em> earlier this year, Tempest said the "lands go up for lease auction, that gives the highest bidder the opportunity to speculate, to drill for oil and make an enormous profit, as we know&hellip;It's oil and gas companies. It's very secretive. If you talk to them, they won't tell you who they're representing."</p> <p>She said the whole process is very emotional and disheartening for her because it turns public lands into something not public at all, but rather makes them available to the highest bidder from a "secret society for oil and gas companies."</p></body></html> Environment Climate Change Climate Desk Energy Infrastructure Tue, 25 Oct 2016 10:00:14 +0000 Ari Phillips 317361 at People Are Flocking to Meal-Kit Services—Then Abandoning Them in Droves <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Meal-kit services like Blue Apron are an enigma: simultaneously booming in popularity and yet struggling to retain consumers.&nbsp;</p> <p>On the one hand, these services, which deliver fresh ingredients and a recipe, only made their US debut in 2012, yet they're expected to<a href="" target="_blank"> generate $1.5 billion in sales in 2016</a>. Investors gobble them up, too&mdash;meal-kit startups have drawn<a href="" target="_blank"> $650 million in venture capita</a>l over the industry's short life span.</p> <p>And yet, consumers tend to drop them quickly after signing up, new data show. <em>Fast Company</em>'s Sarah Kessler <a href="" target="_blank">got a look at proprietary research</a> from market-tracking firm 101data finding that only half of Blue Apron customers stick around after the first week of service, and only 10 percent are still subscribing within six months of starting. Similarly high drop rates prevail for high-profile Blue Apron rivals HelloFresh and Plated, Kessler reports. "Spokespeople for Blue Apron, Plated, and HelloFresh all said that the 1010data analysis is inaccurate, but they declined to provide accurate data," she added.</p> <p>Growing rapidly despite such low retention rates is extremely costly. To entice new customers, these companies maintain perennial "limited time offers" like <a href="" target="_blank">this one</a> from Blue Apron: "Get 3 Meals Free With Your First Order!" If the 101data report is accurate, loads of consumers are taking these deals and then quickly bolting, perhaps moving on to the next meal kit dangling free food with no obligations.</p> <p>Earlier this year, I <a href="" target="_blank">dug into</a> the meal-kit business model and found it extremely tricky: loads of packaging, delivery, and ingredients costs, balanced against a need to keep prices low enough to lure consumers away from the supermarket. The 101data numbers suggest that customer retention is yet another daunting hurdle to profitability. No wonder food startup analyst <a href="!about/c3r5" target="_blank">Brita Rosenheim</a> told me that "very few, if any," of these are likely to be "cash-flow positive" at this point&mdash;another way of saying that they're still burning through their venture capital to stay alive. Another market-tracking firm, <a href="" target="_blank">Packaged Facts</a>, delivered a <a href="" target="_blank">similar assessment</a> in a May 2016 report.</p> <p>In that context, it's not surprising that some Blue Apron workers are <a href="" target="_blank">feeling squeezed</a> by the companies' need to grow fast while also keeping costs down, as a recent <em>BuzzFeed</em> <a href="" target="_blank">report</a> suggests.&nbsp;</p> <p>But as Rosenheim explained to me, none of this means that the meal-kit biz is necessarily a flash in the pan, so to speak. Companies can make loads of money on razor-thin profit margins&mdash;just look at Walmart or fast-food giants like McDonald's. Rosenheim's analysis&mdash;that the industry is headed for a big shakeout, with a few big winners emerging&mdash;seems right to me. The trick is achieving vast scale&mdash;and that means having patient investors willing to accept what could be years of losses along the way.</p> <p>That's why I suspect the meal kits that end up thriving in this brutal terrain will ultimately be bought by big, profitable companies that can absorb losses and can keep help costs down with their existing expertise. Amazon, for example, has a huge part of the meal-kit proposition&mdash;packaging and delivery&mdash;down to a science. Or think about large, upscale grocery chains, which have economies of scale in sourcing exactly the kind of organic ingredients that meal-kit consumers are becoming accustomed to.</p> <p>But far from "disrupting" Big Food, it seems likely that the surviving meal-kit services will start looking a lot like the rest of the industry: huge, <a href="" target="_blank">highly consolidated</a>, and pinching pennies to turn a profit.</p></body></html> Environment Food Tue, 25 Oct 2016 10:00:13 +0000 Tom Philpott 317336 at These Rwandan Genocide Survivors Have a Lesson for American Politicians <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="354" scrolling="no" src=";show_text=0&amp;width=560" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>In 1994, Jean Peal Akayesu was the mayor of a small town in Rwanda when ethnic Hutu soldiers incited a genocide, killing as many as <a href="" target="_blank">1 million people&mdash;mostly ethnic minority Tutsis</a>&mdash;and raping up to 250,000 women throughout the country. Four years later, Akayesu, who commanded some of the aggressors, became the first person to ever be convicted of genocide in an international court, and the first to be convicted of rape as a crime against humanity.</p> <p>The story of Akeyesu's unlikely conviction is chronicled in <em><a href="" target="_blank">The Uncondemned</a></em>, a feature documentary by journalist Michele Mitchell and co-director Nick Louvel, who died in a car crash while working on the film last year. At the heart of the film are three women survivors whose testimony secured Akayesu's conviction. One was sick with malaria at the time of his trial. Another had given birth three days prior. The third was 17 years old when she spoke before the court. (She was 14 during the genocide.) "The first thing you need to know is that rape is a killing weapon," the third witness said. "Even if you are lucky enough to survive, you are damaged."</p> <p>When I caught up with Mitchell before the film's red-carpet premiere at the United Nations last week, the three survivors were in New York for their big-screen debut, sitting inside Brooklyn's Olympia Wine Bar and drinking cocktails the bartender had named in their honor. "They're just ecstatic," Mitchell said. Since Akayesu's trial, their lives have changed, she added. Before, "they hadn't even talked to their own families about [rape]," she said. "They do now, because now they're national heroines."</p> <p><strong>Mother Jones: </strong>How did this project begin?</p> <p><strong>Michele Mitchell: </strong>It was 2012 when I decided I wanted to do something about rape in conflict. I was stuck in traffic on the 405<strong> </strong>freeway, and at the time there was a man running for US Senate from Missouri. And I heard him say on the radio that a woman could not get pregnant from "<a href="" target="_blank">legitimate rape</a>" because she had a way to shut down her body. I was just furious. My immediate reaction was, "That's it, I've had it. I am going to to tell a story that takes the sex out of sex crimes." I thought, "Well, what if I tell the story about the first time it was prosecuted?"</p> <p><strong>MJ:</strong> You <a href="" target="_blank">told the <em>New York Times</em></a> that you wanted to work on the issue of rape as a weapon of war because there was no "ambiguity" around it. Why was that important?</p> <p><strong>MM:</strong> We've watched this happen all year&mdash;<a href="" target="_blank">Brock Turner</a>, or even Nate Parker. There's a lot of confusion around sexual violence in general in this country: what it is, what the intent is, what all this stuff means. You hear a lot of excuses. "Oh, he drank." "Oh, well she wore a short skirt." You don't get that in conflict. It's just so clear. You don't have to spend a lot of time on this issue of consent&mdash;because you know somebody did not consent to this. If people sign on to [the idea that rape in conflict] is an act of deadly intent&mdash;an act of power, torture, humiliation&mdash;then they have to start thinking differently about sexual violence here domestically. Because they do go hand in hand.</p> <p><strong>MJ:</strong> Do you think people are genuinely making that connection&mdash;that rape in a war zone like Rwanda is the same as rape in the US military or on US campuses, or date rape or any other domestic sexual violence?</p> <p><strong>MM:</strong> That's the motivation for making the film. I wanted to start facilitating a cultural shift in terms of how we regard [rape]. I wanted to make it so we never heard anything as stupid as what Todd Akin <a href="" target="_blank">said</a> in 2012. When I hear <a href="" target="_blank">Donald Trump talk</a>, I'm like, "Oh my god, he's giving a master class in what this is." I always describe it as the ultimate act of bullying. It's not about sex, no. This is about harming someone. It's proving that you have power. If I take a 10,000-foot view of this [election cycle], I am hearing discussions, hearing words used that I thought were a little further out. What I'm hearing now is the beginning of that really raw but necessary conversation. I think we're on our way.</p> <p><strong>MJ:</strong> So you're optimistic.</p> <p><strong>MM: </strong>I have spent three years dealing with the worst humankind can do to each other, and seeing it up close, firsthand. But I absolutely have my faith in humanity completely intact. For every horrible thing I saw, I would meet somebody making a difference, or I would see an act of incredible generosity.</p> <p><strong>MJ:</strong> That optimism is in the film, too. Even from the first scene when we meet the women, they're dancing.</p> <p><strong>MM:</strong> They are a lot of fun. If those women can smile and laugh and want to help people after everything they've been through, then it's like, "All right, I better pull on my big-girl pants and get my act together." I remember just being devastated when Nick died, and wondering how was I going to make this film without him. All I could think of were the examples I had around me, starting with these women.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>What were the big unanswered questions for you, going into a story about a court case that ended more than a decade ago?</p> <p><strong>MM:</strong> There's always the question of why. Why did they decide to testify? I was really curious about what makes somebody take a stand like this. When you're making history, are you conscious of [how] you're making history? Every single person that you see onscreen had, of course, no idea&mdash;they just had their heads down and they were working. It's not until years later that they had a crazy filmmaker call them: "Hey, want to make a movie?"</p> <p><strong>MJ:</strong> The movie ends with you asking members of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR)&mdash;Hutu rebels responsible for the genocide, now occupying territory in the Democratic Republic of the Congo&mdash;whether they have used rape as a tool of war. And they can't respond. They're just silent. What's the story behind that interview?</p> <p><strong>MM:</strong> I really wanted to get those guys on camera because they or their followers are the ones who committed genocide, regardless of the denial that they always put forward. When you hear about Congo being a ground zero for rape and conflict, it's these guys who came in and started the whole thing. Facebook was how I made contact. Believe it or not, Congolese militias are apparently on Facebook. Apparently there are 28 different militias in the region where they operate, and for whatever reason, we caught a cease-fire period and were able to go. I had seen some of the results of what these guys had done. I had met this one woman, and she was trying to talk to me, and she had a scarf around her head and over her mouth. Her voice was muffled.<strong> </strong>I think what she said was, "Can I remove my scarf?" She took it off her mouth and her mouth had been cut out. She had been gang-raped. I remember asking her who did it, and she said the FDLR. I was like, "I've got to get these guys."</p> <p><strong>MJ:</strong> How have you dealt with the trauma that comes up in this research?</p> <p><strong>MM:</strong> As a woman covering these things, you can't help but think, "That could be me." At the time, I didn't realize I had post-traumatic stress disorder as a result. It really messed me up. But I remember thinking, "I am going to get this story." You feel like you're carrying people's souls with you&mdash;because you are there for the story to get out, and for it to have an impact. I remember one of the women in the hospital wards in Congo saying to me, "Do people really want to hear our story?" I said, "No, they don't. But I'm going to find a way to tell this story that makes them want to hear it.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>One of the lingering questions I left the film with was why you never asked the women what their stories were.</p> <p><strong>MM: </strong>As reporters, we always have to be conscientious of what we're asking the person on the other side of the desk to bear when they respond to our questions. If you start the interview from the question, "Why did you decide to testify?" it puts them automatically in a position of power. They know we're going to be talking about&mdash;not about how you were a victim, but about how you were a survivor and how you were victorious. I also knew that someday I was going to be sitting in a movie theater with them. And how was I going to feel, watching them relive the worst moment of their lives? I couldn't do it as a human being. Then, as a storyteller, I thought it was enough to focus on the aftermath and how they pulled themselves together. That's a complicated enough journey.</p> <p><em>This interview has been edited and condensed.</em></p></body></html> Media Interview Human Rights International Sex and Gender Tue, 25 Oct 2016 10:00:12 +0000 Madison Pauly 317331 at The Trump Files: Donald's Words to a Grieving Mother <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><em>Until the election, we're bringing you "The Trump Files," a daily dose of telling episodes, strange but true stories, or curious scenes from the life of GOP nominee Donald Trump.</em></p> <p>Even the death of a child couldn't keep Donald Trump from talking about hitting on the boy's mother.</p> <p>In January 2009, Kelly Preston and John Travolta's son Jett <a href="" target="_blank">passed away</a> at the age of 16 after suffering a seizure while on a family vacation. Four days later, Trump wrote a <a href="" target="_blank">blog post</a> dedicated to Preston on the website of the now-defunct Trump University, which has been <a href="" target="_blank">sued</a> by the state of New York and <a href="" target="_blank">former students</a> over claims of fraud.</p> <p>The mogul expressed his condolences to Preston for her loss, but not before he mentioned the time he tried to sleep with her. According to Trump, the attempt failed.</p> <p>"A long time ago, before I was married, I met Kelly Preston at a club and worked like hell to try and pick her up," he wrote on the Trump University website. "She was beautiful, personable, and definitely had allure. At the time I had no idea she was married to John Travolta."</p> <p>He continued, "In any event, my track record on this subject has always been outstanding, but Kelly wouldn't give me the time of day. She was very nice, very elegant, but I didn't have a chance with her, and that was that."</p> <p>Trump ended his blog post by saying his thoughts were with Preston and her family.</p> <p data-tracked="true"><em style="line-height: 2em; font-weight: bold;">Read the rest of <a href="" target="_blank">"The Trump Files"</a>:</em></p> <ul><li>Trump Files #1:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">The Time Andrew Dice Clay Thanked Donald for the Hookers</a></li> <li>Trump Files #2:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Tried to Stop Charlie Sheen's Marriage to Brooke Mueller</a></li> <li>Trump Files #3:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">The Brief Life of the "Trump Chateau for the Indigent"</a></li> <li>Trump Files #4:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Thinks Asbestos Fears Are a Mob Conspiracy</a></li> <li>Trump Files #5:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald's Nuclear Negotiating Fantasy</a></li> <li>Trump Files #6:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Wants a Powerball for Spies</a></li> <li>Trump Files #7:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Gets An Allowance</a></li> <li>Trump Files #8:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">The Time He Went Bananas on a Water Cooler</a></li> <li>Trump Files #9:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">The Great&nbsp;Geico&nbsp;Boycott</a></li> <li>Trump Files #10:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Trump, Tax-Hike Crusader</a></li> <li>Trump Files #11:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Watch Donald Trump Say He Would Have Done Better as a Black Man</a></li> <li>Trump Files #12:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Can't Multiply 17 and 6</a></li> <li>Trump Files #13:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Watch Donald Sing the "Green Acres" Theme Song in Overalls</a></li> <li>Trump Files #14:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">The Time Donald Trump Pulled Over His Limo to Stop a Beating</a></li> <li>Trump Files #15:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Wanted to Help the&nbsp;Clintons&nbsp;Buy Their House</a></li> <li>Trump Files #16:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">He Once Forced a Small Business to Pay Him Royalties for Using the Word "Trump"</a></li> <li>Trump Files #17:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">He Dumped Wine on an "Unattractive Reporter"</a></li> <li>Trump Files #18:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Behold the Hideous Statue He Wanted to Erect In Manhattan</a></li> <li>Trump Files #19:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Was "Principal for a Day" and Confronted by a Fifth-Grader</a></li> <li>Trump Files #20:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">In 2012, Trump Begged GOP Presidential Candidates to Be Civil</a></li> <li>Trump Files #21:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Couldn't Tell the Difference Between Gorbachev and an Impersonator</a></li> <li>Trump Files #22:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">His Football Team Treated Its Cheerleaders "Like Hookers"</a></li> <li>Trump Files #23: <a href="" target="_blank">Donald Tried to Shut Down a Bike Race Named "Rump"</a></li> <li>Trump Files #24:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Called Out Pat Buchanan for Bigotry</a></li> <li>Trump Files #25:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald's Most Ridiculous Appearance on Howard Stern's Show</a></li> <li>Trump Files #26:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">How Donald Tricked New York Into Giving Him His First Huge Deal</a></li> <li>Trump Files #27:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Told Congress the Reagan Tax Cuts Were Terrible</a></li> <li>Trump Files #28:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Destroyed Historic Art to Build Trump Tower</a></li> <li>Trump Files #29:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Wanted to Build an Insane Castle on Madison Avenue</a></li> <li>Trump Files #30:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald's Near-Death Experience (That He Invented)</a></li> <li>Trump Files #31:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Struck Oil on the Upper West Side</a></li> <li>Trump Files #32:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Massacred Trees in the Trump Tower Lobby</a></li> <li>Trump Files #33:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Demanded Other People Pay for His Overpriced Quarterback</a></li> <li>Trump Files #34:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">The Time Donald Sued Someone Who Made Fun of Him for $500 Million</a></li> <li>Trump Files #35:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Tried to Make His Ghostwriter Pay for His Book Party</a></li> <li>Trump Files #36:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Watch Donald Shave a Man's Head on Television</a></li> <li>Trump Files #37:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">How Donald Helped Make It Harder to Get Football Tickets</a></li> <li>Trump Files #38:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Was Curious About His Baby Daughter's Breasts</a></li> <li>Trump Files #39:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">When Democrats Courted Donald</a></li> <li>Trump Files #40:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Watch the Trump Vodka Ad Designed for a Russian Audience</a></li> <li>Trump Files #41:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald's Cologne Smelled of&nbsp;Jamba&nbsp;Juice and Strip Clubs</a></li> <li>Trump Files #42:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Sued Other People Named Trump for Using Their Own Name</a></li> <li>Trump Files #43:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Thinks Asbestos Would Have Saved the Twin Towers</a></li> <li>Trump Files #44:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Why Donald Threw a Fit Over His "Trump Tree" in Central Park</a></li> <li>Trump Files #45:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Watch Trump Endorse Slim Shady for President</a></li> <li>Trump Files #46:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">The Easiest 13 Cents He Ever Made</a></li> <li>Trump Files #47:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">The Time Donald Burned a Widow's Mortgage</a></li> <li>Trump Files #48:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald's Recurring Sex Dreams</a></li> <li>Trump Files #49:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Trump's Epic Insult Fight With Ed Koch</a></li> <li>Trump Files #50:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Has Some Advice for Citizen Kane</a></li> <li>Trump Files #51:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Once Turned Down a Million-Dollar Bet on "Trump: The Game"</a></li> <li>Trump Files #52:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Tried to Shake Down Mike Tyson for $2 Million</a></li> <li>Trump Files #53:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald and Melania's Creepy, Sex-Filled Interview With Howard Stern</a></li> <li>Trump Files #54:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald's Mega-Yacht Wasn't Big Enough For Him</a></li> <li>Trump Files #55:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Got in a Fight With Martha Stewart</a></li> <li>Trump Files #56:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Reenacts an Iconic Scene From&nbsp;<em>Top Gun</em></a></li> <li>Trump Files #57:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">How Donald Tried to Hide His Legal Troubles to Get His Casino Approved</a></li> <li>Trump Files #58:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald's Wall Street Tower Is Filled With Crooks</a></li> <li>Trump Files #59:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Took Revenge by Cutting Off Health Coverage for a Sick Infant</a></li> <li>Trump Files #60:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Couldn't Name Any of His "Handpicked" Trump U Professors</a></li> <li>Trump Files #61:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Watch a Clip of the Awful TV Show Trump Wanted to Make About Himself</a></li> <li>Trump Files #62:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Perfectly Explains Why He Doesn't Have a Presidential Temperament</a></li> <li>Trump Files #63:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald's Petty Revenge on Connie Chung</a></li> <li>Trump Files #64:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Why Donald Called His 4-Year-Old Son a "Loser"</a></li> <li>Trump Files #65:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">The Time Donald Called Some of His Golf Club Members "Spoiled Rich Jewish Guys"</a></li> <li>Trump Files #66:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">"Always Be Around Unsuccessful People," Donald Recommends</a></li> <li>Trump Files #67:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Said His Life Was "Shit." Here's Why.</a></li> <li>Trump Files #68:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Filmed a Music Video. It Didn't Go Well.</a></li> <li>Trump Files #69:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Claimed "More Indian Blood" Than the Native Americans Competing With His Casinos</a></li> <li>Trump Files #70:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Has Been Inflating His Net Worth for 40 Years</a></li> <li>Trump Files #71:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Weighs In on "Ghetto Supastar"</a></li> <li>Trump Files #72: <a href="" target="_blank">The Deadly Powerboat Race Donald Hosted in Atlantic City</a></li> <li>Trump Files #73: <a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Fat-Shamed Miss Universe</a></li> <li>Trump Files #74: <a href="" target="_blank">Yet Another Time Donald Sued Over the Word "Trump"</a></li> <li>Trump Files #75: <a href="" target="_blank">Donald Thinks Exercising Might Kill You</a></li> <li>Trump Files #76: <a href="" target="_blank">Donald's Big Book of Hitler Speeches</a></li> <li>Trump Files #77: <a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Ran Afoul of Ancient Scottish Heraldry Law</a></li> <li>Trump Files #78: <a href="" target="_blank">Donald Accuses a Whiskey Company of Election Fraud</a></li> <li>Trump Files #79: <a href="" target="_blank">When Donald's Anti-Japanese Comments Came Back to Haunt Him</a></li> <li>Trump Files #80: <a href="" target="_blank">The Shady Way Fred Trump Tried to Save His Son's Casino</a></li> <li>Trump Files #81: <a href="" target="_blank">Donald's Creepy Poolside Parties in Florida</a></li> <li>Trump Files #82: <a href="" target="_blank">Donald Gives a Lesson in How Not to Ski With Your Kids</a></li> <li>Trump Files #83: <a href="" target="_blank">Listen to Donald Brag About His Affairs&mdash;While Pretending to Be Someone Else</a></li> <li>Trump Files #84: <a href="" target="_blank">How Donald Made a Fortune by Dumping His Debt on Other People</a></li> <li>Trump Files #85: <a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Bought a Nightclub From an Infamous Mobster</a></li> <li>Trump Files #86: <a href="" target="_blank">Donald Sues Himself&mdash;And Wins!</a></li> <li>Trump Files #87: <a href="" target="_blank">Donald's War on His Scottish Neighbors</a></li> <li>Trump Files #88: <a href="" target="_blank">When Donald Had to Prove He Was Not the Son of an Orangutan</a></li> <li>Trump Files #89: <a href="" target="_blank">There Once Was a Horse Named DJ Trump</a></li> <li>Trump Files #90: <a href="" target="_blank">How Donald's Lawyers Dealt With His Constant Lying</a></li> <li>Trump Files #91: <a href="http://Donald%20Flipped%20Out%20When%20an%20Analyst%20%28Correctly%29%20Predicted%20His%20Casino%27s%20Failure" target="_blank">Donald Flipped Out When an Analyst (Correctly) Predicted His Casino's Failure</a></li> <li>Trump Files #92: <a href="" target="_blank">Cosmo Once Asked Donald to Pose Nude for $50,000</a></li> <li>Trump Files #93: <a href="" target="_blank">When He Had the Hots for Princess Diana and Then Denied It</a></li> <li>Trump Files #94: <a href="" target="_blank">Famous Tic Tac Gobbler Donald Trump Had This Breath Advice for Larry King</a></li> <li>Trump Files #95: <a href="" target="_blank">Trump Finds the Silver Lining in an Ebola Outbreak</a></li> <li>Trump Files #96: <a href="" target="_blank">How Donald Screwed Over New York City on His Tax Bill</a></li> </ul></body></html> Politics Donald Trump The Trump Files Tue, 25 Oct 2016 10:00:10 +0000 Natalie Schreyer 316831 at Obamacare Premiums Will Increase About 25% This Year <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><a href="" target="_blank">The federal government</a> announced today that Obamacare premiums are set to rise 22 percent next year. <a href="" target="_blank">Charles Gaba</a> estimates that premiums will go up 25 percent. Those numbers are close enough that there's probably no need to dive into the weeds to see if there are any gotchas. Premiums really are going up an average of about 25 percent next year. Here are five things to keep in mind:</p> <ol><li>Yikes. That's a big number.</li> <li>The biggest increase is 145 percent in Phoenix. I have no idea why. However, you can be sure that Donald Trump and others will be bleating about Obamacare premiums going up "as much as 145 percent." (For the record, the lowest increase is -12 percent in Indianapolis. See Table 13 <a href="" target="_blank">here</a> for a full list.)</li> <li>The vast majority of people on Obamacare have incomes under 400 percent of the poverty level. All of them are shielded from ever paying more than a cap set by income level. At the lowest income level, they never have to pay more than 3 percent of their income. At the highest income level (about $100,000 for a family of four) they never have to pay more than 9 percent of their income.<sup>1</sup> This means that in practice, the amount people <em>pay</em> will rise considerably less than 25 percent.<sup>2</sup></li> <li>The 25 percent number assumes that you keep the same policy that you have in 2016. You can do better if you shop around. For example, HHS estimates that if everyone switched to the lowest-price plan in their metal level (bronze, silver, etc.), premiums would go <em>down</em> an average of 20 percent. Combined with <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_cbo_obamacare_premiums_october_2016.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">point #3, this means that nearly all individuals will be able to avoid huge increases if they're really in dire financial straits.</li> <li>As painful as this is, all that's happening is that after being underpriced for years, Obamacare premiums are finally catching up to the original estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. <a href="" target="_blank">A couple of months ago</a> I suggested that premiums still had another 25 percent increase ahead, and this would likely be spread out over a couple of years. I was right about the size of the hike, but it's happening in one year instead of two. The good news is that these prices hikes truly should help to stabilize the market and prevent more insurers from abandoning Obamacare. It might even prod a few new ones to enter the market.</li> </ol><p>So that's that. Basically, this increase is painful, but was probably inevitable as insurers got more experience with the market. Subsidies and caps should shield a lot of people from the full pain of the increases, and the higher premium levels should be good for the long-term health of Obamacare. As for Republicans who plan to yell and scream about this, I have a deal for them: anyone who's serious about reducing the suffering of folks who will be hurt by higher premiums has my full support for boosting subsidy levels.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>The precise numbers for 2017 are 3.06 percent and 9.69 percent.</p> <p><sup>2</sup>There are other subsidies too that shield people from premium hikes. In particular, Andrew Sprung will be mad at me if I don't mention <a href="" target="_blank">Cost Sharing Reductions,</a> which many people can use to buy silver plans at reasonable prices.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 25 Oct 2016 01:27:48 +0000 Kevin Drum 317376 at Mahalia Jackson's Boundless Voice Continues to Amaze <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="250" scrolling="no" src=";;sdata=bJMS7iCTEm7zBAxh6zVjbwHbjPa2Dy1rgRcZvX6MNK8%3D&amp;reserved=0" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>Mahalia Jackson<br><em>Moving On Up a Little Higher</em><br> Shanachie</p> <p><em>The Great Television Performances</em><br> Real Gone Music</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/MahaliaJacksonCover.jpg"><div class="caption">Courtesy of Shanachie Entertainment</div> </div> <p>More that 40 years after her passing, the great gospel singer Mahalia Jackson continues to amaze. Her big, passionate, and boundless voice is a wonder of nature that can elevate the spirit of believers and nonbelievers alike. Collecting 22 previously unreleased performances from 1946 to 1957, <em>Moving On Up a Little Higher</em> is a fine introduction for new fans and a treat for longtime admirers. Unleashing her titanic talents with minimal accompaniment, or singing a capella, Jackson revisits her classic "Move On Up a Little Higher" and elsewhere teams with gospel pioneer Thomas A. Dorsey on their only known recording together; other highlights include the tender "His Eye Is on the Sparrow" and the window-rattling "I'm Going to Live the Life I Sing About in My Song." Settings vary from intimate church gatherings to big events like the Newport Jazz Festival, and sound quality ranges from sparkling to adequate (though still listenable), but it's all wonderful.</p> <p>"Didn't It Rain," a toe-tapping highlight of <em>Moving On Up a Little Higher</em>, also appears on <em>T</em><em>he Great Television Performances</em>, collecting 16 newly released tracks from 1961. This exhilarating set captures Jackson at her most polished and accessible, backed by an efficient small group that includes jazz greats Barney Kessel (guitar) and Shelley Manne (drums). Reaching out to listeners who may not have known about, or cared about, gospel per se, she shows how sacred music helped shaped the sounds of R&amp;B and rock'n'roll. Hallelujah!</p></body></html> Media Music Music Mondays Mon, 24 Oct 2016 21:44:52 +0000 Jon Young 317236 at In a Couple of Weeks, Merrick Garland Will Discover His Fate <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland has been waiting patiently for months to discover his fate. Here is Rick Hasen's prediction <a href="" target="_blank">via Twitter:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Here's why I think @EdWhelanEPPC is wrong and Judge Garland gets confirmed in lame duck IF Democrats take Senate. First, Obama will be loyal to Garland and not withdraw nomination and Garland won't withdraw unless Clinton asks. Clinton won't ask despite <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_merrick_garland.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">pressure from the left to withdraw Garland for younger and more liberal candidate.</p> <p>Getting Garland out of way during lame duck clears her first 100-day agenda without a nasty Supreme Court fight that eats other things. RBG has signaled she and/or Breyer will leave the court while Dems still control Senate (before 2017). This means she can get 1 or 2 more liberal Justices on Court and/or make it a big issue in the midterms, in the hopes of turning about Dem turnout problem in the midterms. With Garland done in [lame duck], Clinton has very good chance of 1, and some chance of 2, liberal appts before 2018 elections.</p> </blockquote> <p>This is kinda sorta my take too. I agree that Obama will be loyal to Garland. That's all part of the implicit bargain when he nominated him. And I agree that Hillary Clinton will go along with that, partly for the reason Hasen outlines, and partly because it demonstrates a deeper loyalty: not just from Obama, but from Team Obama, which Hillary is part of. I think <em>that</em> was part of the implicit bargain too.</p> <p>But will Republicans go along and confirm him? On the one hand, they've said they won't, and their base (i.e., talk radio) will go ballistic if they renege on that promise. On the other hand, in the real world (i.e., not talk radio) they know perfectly well that Garland is the best they're going to get. If they hold out, Clinton will nominate someone more liberal, and Harry Reid has already promised that if they go into endless obstruction mode, Democrats will <a href="" target="_blank">nuke the filibuster</a> and confirm Clinton's choice.</p> <p>So here's where this leaves them. If they break their promise, they'll be tarred as feeble RINOs who pretend to be conservative but crumble at the first sign of Democratic opposition. If they keep their promise, they' tarred as feeble RINOs who pretend to be conservative but always have some lame excuse for losing. <em>We don't control every branch of government. What could we do?</em> What a bunch of whiners.</p> <p>In other words, talk radio is going to scorch them no matter what happens. This means that if they're smart, they'll go ahead and confirm Garland. It's their least bad option.</p> <p>That doesn't mean it will happen. Fear of the base is powerful in the Republican Party. Still, the GOP leadership has some decisions to make, and how they're going to handle the tea party faction is one of their most important ones. There's not much question that they have to take them on sometime. The only question is whether November 9 will be the time.</p> <p><strong>NOTE:</strong> If Republicans hold onto the Senate, all bets are off. They'll still have some leverage in the next Congress, and might reasonably think they can negotiate a better candidate with Hillary Clinton.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 24 Oct 2016 21:40:30 +0000 Kevin Drum 317366 at Watch John Oliver Slam Drug Companies for the Opioid Epidemic <!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>John Oliver's latest episode of <em>Last Week Tonight </em>takes on the pharmaceutical companies that laid the foundation for today's opioid overdose epidemic, which claimed the lives of nearly <a href="" target="_blank">30,000 Americans</a> in 2014.</p> <p>Oliver points out that until the 1990s, doctors were wary of prescribing opioids to treat pain because of lingering concerns about their addictive qualities. But prescribing shot up in the late '90s, largely due to a <a href="" target="_blank">massive marketing campaign</a> launched by Purdue Pharma, which introduced OxyContin in 1995. Doctors were assured that prescribing OxyContin for chronic pain was safe, and that dependence on the drugs was merely "pseudo-addiction." (Oliver: "That is like Chipotle saying, 'Have you hard of this fascinating new thing called pseudo-diarrhea?...The cure may actually be more tacos!'")</p> <p>In addition to educational materials, doctors were offered all sorts of <a href="" target="_blank">OxyContin swag</a>, from swing music CDs to fishing caps. Pulling out a plush&nbsp;OxyContin stuffed toy guerrilla, Oliver says, "This is the perfect choice of mascot, because&nbsp;much like a guerilla, OxyContin might seem appealing, but if you're not careful, it will tear your fucking life apart."</p> <p>Curbing the epidemic will be a massive lift, involving prescribing less painkillers and providing resources for those already addicted. "It won't be cheap, it won't be quick, and it won't be easy," says Oliver. "And it is hard not to be angry at the drug companies like Purdue whose promises of cheap, quick, easy pain solutions helped put us in this fucking mess."</p></body></html> Politics Health Health Care Media Pharma Mon, 24 Oct 2016 21:13:44 +0000 Julia Lurie 317346 at Vietnam Vet Slams Trump in New Super-PAC Ad <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The pro-Hillary Clinton super-PAC Priorities USA Action released an ad Monday hitting Donald Trump for comparing his sacrifices to those of Gold Star parents Khizr and Ghazala Khan, who lost their son in the Iraq War. The new ad features a Vietnam veteran who charges that Trump's comments make him unfit to be president.</p> <p>Trump's claim to have sacrificed greatly in his life came this summer as part of his response to Khizr Khan, a Muslim American whose son died in Iraq in 2004. Khan's speech at the Democratic National Convention in July included the powerful line: "You have sacrificed nothing and no one." Shortly afterward, Trump gave an interview to ABC News in which he claimed he had also made sacrifices in his life. Pressed on what they were, he said, "I think I've made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard. I've created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures. I've had tremendous success. I think I've done a lot."</p> <p>In the new ad, Russell Wiesley, a former Marine, responds to these comments. "For Donald Trump to compare getting rich to the hell we went through," he says, "he's not fit to be president." As he speaks, the camera pans down to show that Wiesley lost one of his legs in Vietnam.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>The ad appears to be part of an effort by Clinton and her allies to remind voters of Trump's feud with the Khan family, one of the most damaging episodes in his tumultuous presidential campaign, in the weeks before the election. Last week, the Clinton campaign released an <a href="" target="_blank">ad</a> featuring a tearful Khan asking Trump, "Would my son have a place in your America?"</p> <p>The new ad is part of a multimillion-dollar ad buy and will run in Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Nevada, Iowa, and New Hampshire&mdash;the same states where the Clinton campaign is running its ad featuring Khan.</p></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Mon, 24 Oct 2016 21:08:30 +0000 Pema Levy 317351 at Clinton Has Finally Achieved Obama-Level Support Among Young Voters <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>After laboring for months to appeal to young voters, Hillary Clinton appears to have reached the same level of support among millennials that President Barack Obama had in 2012. But even that good news comes with troubling new evidence: While young white voters are backing Clinton strongly, young voters of color have yet to warm to her as they did to the man she hopes to succeed.</p> <p>A <a href="" target="_blank">new GenForward survey</a> by the University of Chicago finds that Clinton leads Donald Trump, 58 percent to 17 percent, among likely voters between the ages of 18 and 30. A month ago, GenForward put her lead among young likely voters at 51 percent to 22 percent. When the sample includes voters who are leaning toward a candidate, Clinton now has 60 percent support to Trump's 19 percent&mdash;a comparable support level to Obama, who received 60 percent of the vote among this age group in 2012.</p> <p>"Overall, the level of youth support for Hillary Clinton looks nearly identical to youth support for Barack Obama in 2012," Cathy Cohen, founder of the GenForward survey and Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago, said in a press release. "However, the coalition of young voters supporting Hillary Clinton is not the same as the coalition that helped elect Barack Obama in 2012."</p> <p>Clinton's growing support among millennials is led by young whites. A month ago, she and Trump were tied in the GenForward survey among young white voters. Now Clinton leads by 14 points; among young whites who are likely to vote, she leads Trump 51 percent to 23 percent, a 28-point advantage.</p> <p>But Clinton has failed to match Obama's levels of support among minority millennials&mdash;even though these voters soundly reject Trump. Clinton leads Trump among young African Americans who are likely to vote by a huge margin, 76 percent to 3 percent. Among young Asian American likely voters, she's up 74 percent to 9 percent, and among young Latino voters her advantage is 57 percent to 13 percent. For each of those groups, Obama's support in 2012 was about 10 points higher than Clinton's now. But Clinton beats Obama's margin among white millennials by eight points.</p> <p>The poll surveyed 1,832 adults, age 18 to 30, between October 1 and 14 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percentage points. &acirc;&#128;&uml;</p></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Mon, 24 Oct 2016 20:35:52 +0000 Pema Levy 317341 at