MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/rss/blogs_and_articles/sites/all/modules/patched/service_links/images/facebook.png/favicon.ico http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en Trump Backs his Supporters' "Lock Her Up" Chant http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/07/trump-post-dnc-rally <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>After a bipartisan assault on Donald Trump at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, from people ranging from leading Democrats such as <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/07/hillary-clinton-democratic-national-convention-speech" target="_blank">Hillary Clinton</a> to <a href="http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article92494512.html" target="_blank">lifelong Republicans</a><strong> </strong>to <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/07/father-muslim-soldier-trump-constitution" target="_blank">ordinary citizens,</a> Trump fired back during his first general election rally in Colorado on Friday afternoon.</p> <p>The liveliest moment occurred when Trump supporters in Colorado Springs launched into a round of the "Lock Her Up!" chant aimed at Hillary Clinton.&nbsp; The chant was a nightly fixture at last week's Republican convention, but Trump rejected it at the time. "I said, 'Don't do that,'" he told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday. "I really&mdash;I didn't like it." Today he told his supporters, "I'm starting to agree with you."</p> <p>His remarks in Colorado weren't Trump's first rebuttal to Thursday night's roast at the DNC. Though Clinton taunted Trump for his short fuse on social media&mdash;"A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons," she said during her acceptance speech&mdash;the GOP nominee didn't hesitate to unleash a series of Twitter attacks on Friday <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/759005597899436032" target="_blank">against Clinton</a> and other speakers. Trump <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/759024055123009536" target="_blank">claimed</a> that Gen. John Allen, the former Marine Corps commandant who savaged him during a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/07/4-star-general-opens-can-whup-ass-donald-trump" target="_blank">fiery endorsement speech</a> for Clinton on Thursday, "failed badly in his fight against ISIS." He also took aim at former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who endorsed Clinton on Wednesday and mocked Trump <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/07/michael-bloomberg-democrats-found-perfect-foil-donald-trump" target="_blank">as a con artist</a>.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">"Little" Michael Bloomberg, who never had the guts to run for president, knows nothing about me. His last term as Mayor was a disaster!</p> &mdash; Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/759025610249216000">July 29, 2016</a></blockquote> <p>This afternoon, Trump stuck to his familiar attacks and went on several long tangents. He started the rally by complaining the fire marshall permitted too few people into the venue. "Probably a Democrat," he said. &nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en">&nbsp;</blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Donald Trump Fri, 29 Jul 2016 22:17:37 +0000 Max J. Rosenthal 310536 at http://www.motherjones.com Clinton Emphasizes Racial Justice, But Some Black Activists Are Unconvinced http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/07/hillary-clinton-black-lives-matter-democratic-national-convention <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>As she accepted the Democratic nomination on Thursday night, Hillary Clinton asked her audience to "put ourselves in the shoes of young black and Latino men and women who face the effects of systemic racism and are made to feel like their lives are disposable." Coming one week after the harsh "law and order" tone struck by her opponent, Clinton's statement was a powerful acknowledgement by a presidential candidate of the unfairness of the justice system for some minorities.</p> <p>For the racial justice activists outside the Wells Fargo Arena, the feeling was different. On Tuesday, as the Black DNC Resistance March worked its way through Philadelphia, protesters chanted "Stop killing black people" and carried signs that said "Hillary, Delete Yourself" and "Hillary, you're not welcome here." Hawk Newsome, an activist participating in the march, <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/07/26/black-lives-matter-protesters-hillary-clinton-democratic-national-convention/87580080/" target="_blank">told </a><em><a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/07/26/black-lives-matter-protesters-hillary-clinton-democratic-national-convention/87580080/" target="_blank">USA Today</a>,</em> "Hillary Clinton has had a perfect opportunity in the last two or three weeks to say 'Hey, black lives matter to me, and here is my platform.' She's done nothing more than make some vague statements and tweets."</p> <p>Clinton's racial justice platform has been a source of frustration for Black Lives Matter activists. During the Democratic primary, protesters called for the candidate to explain how she will help black communities. Clinton responded that activists needed to clearly define what they were asking for. "I believe you change laws, you change allocation of resources, you change the way systems operate," she <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/18/politics/hillary-clinton-black-lives-matter-meeting/" target="_blank">told</a> a group of Black Lives Matter activists during a meeting last August. In October, Clinton met with activists from Campaign Zero, which had created a list of proposals for police reform, and said that her platform would take their concerns into account. The resulting platform did include some items on the activists' wish list, such as the creation of a national standard for officers' use of force and support for alternatives to incarceration, but it did endorse Campaign Zero's request to empower communities to hold officers accountable.</p> <p>"One of the things Hillary said to us is she talked about the importance of communities being involved," DeRay McKesson, a prominent activist and one of the Campaign Zero members at the meeting with Clinton, <a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/tamerragriffin/deray-mckesson-on-clintons-racial-justice-platform-its-not-e?utm_term=.rwleM55Y0#.asDNVZZKA" target="_blank">told</a> <em>BuzzFeed</em>. "And we said, 'Well, we don&rsquo;t see that in your platform.' Where are you giving communities any oversight or any authority?"</p> <p>McKesson joined other leading figures in the Black Lives Matter movement in Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention, but the activists have resisted openly supporting the party's nominee. In June, Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza<a href="http://www.elle.com/culture/career-politics/news/a37416/alicia-garza-black-lives-matter-hillary-clinton/" target="_blank"> told</a> <em>Elle</em> magazine that although she would probably cast her vote for Clinton in November, she would "absolutely not" endorse her publicly, citing the former First Lady's public support of the 1994 crime bill and the tough-on-crime policies it instituted.</p> <p>Garza's lack of enthusiasm for Clinton is not uncommon among younger black voters. When Clinton campaigned during the South Carolina primary,&nbsp; she relied heavily on the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/02/hillary-clinton-moms-black-lives-matter" target="_blank">Mothers of the Movement</a>, a group of black mothers who have lost their children to gun and police violence, in an effort to shore up her support in black communities. But Erica Garner, the daughter of Eric Garner, who died at the hands of New York police in July 2014, became a prominent surrogate for the Bernie Sanders campaign. Other activists, including Garza, said that they had voted for Sanders during the Democratic primary.&nbsp; During the week convention, Sanders supporters and racial justice activists collaborated on protests. "She's not performing where Obama was in 2012 with African American voters primarily because of younger blacks," one pollster told <em>BuzzFeed</em>. "There is no progressive majority without this key component of the Obama coalition."</p> <p>Clinton has struggled to win over black activists, but she has also faced criticism when she embraces their message. When the list of speakers for the Democratic National Convention was first announced, police unions complained that widows of officers killed in recent police shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge had been left off the program, arguing that they should have been included alongside <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/07/mothers-movement-discuss-racial-justice-dnc-tonight" target="_blank">mothers of black victims of police and gun violence</a>. On Thursday, family members of slain police officers addressed the convention, in a segment <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/07/dnc-fallen-officer-tribute-stirs-more-controversy" target="_blank">that had not been listed</a> on the convention schedule until the day of their appearance.</p> <p>As the campaign has progressed, Clinton has increasingly invoked the message of Black Lives Matter, most notably in her acceptance speech on Thursday. So far, however, her words of support haven't been enough to win over many of the movement's activists.</p></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Fri, 29 Jul 2016 21:54:35 +0000 P.R. Lockhart 310506 at http://www.motherjones.com Clinton's VP Pick Just Made Pro-Choice Groups Mad http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/07/hillary-clinton-and-her-vp-pick-dont-agree-abortion-rights <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><span class="message_body">Earlier this week, the 2016 Democratic platform committed to securing public funding for abortion by calling for the repeal of the Hyde and Helms amendments.</span>&nbsp;The Hyde Amendment prohibits the use of federal Medicaid money to pay for the procedure for low-income women, and the Helms Amendment bans the use of US foreign aid to help women abroad obtain abortions.</p> <p>But on Friday, Hillary Clinton's vice presidential nominee, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), broke from both Clinton and the party when <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uo7BWb0mbDA" target="_blank">he said in an interview</a> on CNN that he still supports the Hyde Amendment. "I have been for the Hyde Amendment," said Kaine, a lifelong Catholic, repeating several times, "I haven't changed my position on that."&nbsp;Kaine is only repeating what he told the <a href="http://www.weeklystandard.com/democratic-senator-says-proposed-democratic-platform-on-abortion-is-crazy/article/2003159" target="_blank"><em>Weekly Standard</em></a> earlier this month, when the Democratic Party first released its draft platform. "I haven't been informed of that change, but I'm going to check it out," Kaine said. "I've traditionally been a supporter of the Hyde Amendment, but I'll check it out."</p> <p>Kaine has a 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood and has long said he doesn't personally believe in abortion but supports it as a legal right. Still, he has had a mixed record on the issue during his political career. As <a href="https://www.thenation.com/article/tim-kaine-has-a-mixed-record-on-abortion-how-much-will-that-matter/" target="_blank">governor of Virginia</a> from 2006 to 2010, Kaine supported a partial-birth abortion ban, as well as a parental notification measure. NARAL refused to support his gubernatorial bid, and in 2009 Kaine signed a bill that created "Choose Life" license plates whose proceeds are funneled to anti-abortion groups.</p> <p>But as Clinton's VP vetting process this year ramped up, Kaine appeared to be more outspoken in his support of abortion rights, presumably to further align himself with the direction of the party. He issued an approving statement on the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/06/supreme-court-abortion-texas-undue-burden-requirements-unconstitutional" target="_blank">Supreme Court's June decision</a> to invalidate two Texas abortion restrictions. "I applaud the Supreme Court for seeing the Texas law for what it is&mdash;an attempt to effectively ban abortion and undermine a woman&rsquo;s right to make her own health care choices," he <a href="http://www.kaine.senate.gov/press-releases/kaine-statement-on-supreme-court-ruling-in-whole-womans-health-v-hellerstedt" target="_blank">wrote</a>. And later in June, the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tim-kaine-abortion-bill_us_577c0864e4b0a629c1aafb57" target="_blank"><em>Huffington Post</em></a> pointed out that Kaine had suddenly signed on as a co-sponsor to the Women's Health Protection Act&mdash;<span class="message_body">a bill that would ban states from passing medically unneccesary restrictions on abortion </span>that has been slowly moving through Congress for three years with dozens of sponsors.</p> <p>Earlier this week, Kaine was reported to have changed his position on the Hyde Amendment: <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-07-27/after-vp-selection-kaine-endorses-repeal-of-hyde-amendment-on-abortion" target="_blank">Bloomberg News</a> reported that spokespeople for both Clinton's campaign and Kaine had told the outlet that Kaine had said privately that he would support the Hyde repeal. His interview on CNN Friday rolled back those statements, creating a rift between Kaine and the party<strong> </strong>that pro-choice advocates thought had been resolved. "In this campaign, Hillary Clinton has broken new ground with her frank talk about the damaging effect of denying poor women basic reproductive healthcare," wrote NARAL President Ilyse Hogue in a statement released Friday afternoon. "This is why Senator Kaine's statement earlier today that he opposes repealing the discriminatory Hyde amendment was deeply disappointing."</p> <p>The Hyde Amendment is popular among<strong> </strong>more conservative voters in both parties, so Kaine's support of it could be a selling point to those who are wary of Trump but feel Clinton has gone too far left on abortion. At a Democrats for Life <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/07/philadelphia-pro-life-democrats-mourn-their-partys-inreasingly-pro-abortion-rights-" target="_blank">event</a> in Philadelphia this week, the group's<strong> </strong>leader, Kristen Day, expressed frustration over the platform's anti-Hyde-amendment provision, saying that Clinton appears to no longer believe that abortions should be "safe, legal, and rare"&mdash;a phrase from the nominee's unsuccessful 2008 campaign. Anti-abortion groups like the Susan B. Anthony List viewed the support of public financing for abortion as the Democratic Party's abandonment of compromise across the political divide. "There is no hiding the fact now that Hillary Clinton's Democratic Party is the party of abortion-on-demand, paid for by us&mdash;the taxpayers," wrote Susan B. Anthony President Marjorie Dannenfelser in an email to subscribers on Wednesday.</p> <p>In a statement issued on Friday responding to Kaine's support for the Hyde Amendment, Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards said her group "will redouble efforts to educate Senator Kaine on the dangerous impact Hyde has on women with public insurance coverage."</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="x_docs-internal-guid-f55a4461-3862-f44f-26f1-6f0ec267aa50">She added, "While we strongly disagree with Senator Kaine on this point, there are many places where we do agree. He has been an outspoken advocate for access to reproductive health care and stands in stark contrast to Mike Pence and Donald Trump, whose nightmarish commitments include ending access to care at Planned Parenthood health centers, punishing women for having abortions, and appointing Supreme Court judges to overturn the right to safe, legal abortion."</span></p></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Fri, 29 Jul 2016 21:29:05 +0000 Hannah Levintova 310516 at http://www.motherjones.com Chelsea Manning Could Face Solitary Confinement for Her Suicide Attempt http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/07/chelsea-manning-could-face-solitary-confinement-suicide-attempt <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>It has been a terrible month for Chelsea Manning, the transgender former US soldier serving a 35-year prison sentence for sharing classified information with WikiLeaks. Several weeks ago, the Army whistleblower tried to kill herself at Fort Leavenworth military prison, and on Thursday military officials announced that they were considering filing charges in connection with the suicide attempt.</p> <p><span id="VOCUSHTML">"Now, while Chelsea is suffering the darkest depression she has experienced since her arrest, the government is taking actions to punish her for that pain,"&nbsp;Chase Strangio, one of Manning's lawyers from the ACLU, said in a <a href="https://www.aclu.org/news/chelsea-manning-faces-new-charges-indefinite-solitary-confinement-related-suicide-attempt" target="_blank">statement</a>. "</span><span>It is unconscionable and we hope that the investigation is immediately ended and that she is given the health care that she needs to recover." </span></p> <p>News of Manning's suicide attempt was leaked to the media by a US official, while an unnamed source told celebrity news site <em>TMZ</em> that Manning had tried to <a href="http://www.tmz.com/2016/07/06/chelsea-manning-suicide-attempt-prison-bradley/" target="_blank">hang herself</a>. She was hospitalized in the early hours of July 5. After the incident, Stangio reported that Manning had experienced "past episodes of suicidal ideation in connection to her arrest and the denial of treatment related to gender dysphoria." In 2015, the Army approved her request for hormone therapy after she sued the federal government for access to the medical treatment, but Strangio <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/07/chelsea-manning-army-suicide-attempt" target="_blank">told <em>Mother Jones</em></a> that she continues "a challenge in court over the enforcement of male hair length and grooming standards."</p> <p><span id="VOCUSHTML">If convicted of the suicide-related charges, "Chelsea could face punishment including indefinite solitary confinement, reclassification into maximum security, and an additional nine years in medium custody," the ACLU said in its statement, noting that Manning could lose her change of parole.&nbsp; </span></p> <p>It wouldn't be the first time Manning has been held in isolation. After she was first taken into custody in 2010, she spent nearly a year in solitary confinement. Following a 14-month investigation into Manning's treatment&mdash;which included being held in solitary for 23 hours a day and being forced to strip naked every night&mdash;the UN special rapporteur on torture <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/mar/12/bradley-manning-cruel-inhuman-treatment-un" target="_blank">accused</a> the US government of holding her in "cruel, inhuman, and degrading" conditions. There is a growing <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/06/09/413184527/advocates-push-to-bring-solitary-confinement-out-of-the-shadows" target="_blank">push</a> in the United States to end or limit the use of solitary, since long stints in isolation <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/10/donald-o-hebb-effects-extreme-isolation" target="_blank">have been shown</a> to lead to disorientation, hallucinations, and panic attacks. Inmates in solitary are also <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/what-does-solitary-confinement-do-to-your-mind/" target="_blank">more likely</a> to engage in self-mutilation or to commit suicide.</p> <p>Asked about the new investigation into the suicide-related charges, US Army spokesman Wayne V. Hall said he was looking into the matter but could not immediately comment.</p></body></html> Politics Crime and Justice Military Prisons Fri, 29 Jul 2016 20:06:53 +0000 Samantha Michaels 310511 at http://www.motherjones.com Friday Cat Blogging - 29 July 2016 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/07/friday-cat-blogging-29-july-2016 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Let's give Hopper the spotlight again. She deserves two weeks in a row, doesn't she? Here she is in one of her favorite places: plonked down against my arm when I'm lying on the couch. I do this frequently, using my tablet to peruse the web for news in order to minimize my time at the desk. The less time at the desk, the better my arm and wrist feel.</p> <p>Needless to say, perusing the web on my tablet is a lot easier when there's not a cat plonked on my stomach, but them's the breaks. She usually doesn't stay very long. Unfortunately, when she leaves, Hilbert often takes her place. Blogging is a tough life.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hopper_2016_07_29.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 15px 0px 5px 35px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 29 Jul 2016 18:45:18 +0000 Kevin Drum 310526 at http://www.motherjones.com Here’s a Cure for America's Latest Zika Panic http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/07/mosquitoes-spreading-zika-florida <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Health officials have reported that four cases of Zika in Florida were likely spread from person to person by domestic mosquitoes. This is the moment <a href="http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/281043-house-dems-lining-up-against-senate-zika-bill" target="_blank">Democratic</a> politicians&mdash;and a few southern <a href="https://buchanan.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/buchanan-calls-full-funding-eradicate-zika" target="_blank">Republicans</a>&mdash;have been warning about. The finding is bound to create a lot more scary rhetoric and dire headlines.</p> <p>But here's the thing: There's no need to freak out&mdash;not yet, at least.</p> <p>We knew this was going to happen. Back in May, I spoke with Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who is leading US efforts to create a Zika vaccine. <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/05/senate-bill-zika-vaccine-development-olympics-anthony-fauci-niaid" target="_blank">Here's what he said</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>It is likely that we will have restricted local transmission&mdash;small local outbreaks? My call would be that we will. Because we've had dengue and chikungunya, which are in the same regions of South and Central America and the Caribbean, and are transmitted by exactly <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aedes_aegypti" target="_blank">the same mosquito</a>. Historically we've had small local outbreaks of dengue in Florida and Texas, and a small local outbreak of chikungunya in Florida, which makes me conclude that sooner or later, we have going to have small local outbreaks of Zika&mdash;whether that's five cases or 30&mdash;likely along the Gulf Coast.</p> </blockquote> <p>This is exactly what we're seeing. And why is this not a huge problem? Because we're almost certainly not going to let it become one. Just as Fauci predicted, this likely outbreak&mdash;scientists haven't actually found any infected mosquitoes yet&mdash;is highly isolated. According to the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/30/health/zika-virus-florida-case.html?_r=1" target="_blank"><em>New York Times</em></a>, the suspected "area of active transmission is limited to a one-square-mile area" near downtown Miami.</p> <p><em>Aedes aegypti</em>, the most likely culprit, is what University of California-Davis geneticist Greg Lanzaro calls a "lazy mosquito." It doesn't fly far. In its entire lifespan of two to three weeks, it might travel a few hundred meters, another expert told me. So it's not coming for you. The mosquitoes that picked up the virus may be limited <strike>in</strike> <strong>to </strong>one small neighborhood.</p> <p>Here's what happens when we have such an outbreak: Mosquito-control workers and public health officials swarm all over it. <em>Aegypti</em> is an elusive little bugger, but you can bet that within that one square mile, eradication specialists and epidemiologists will be going house to house until they <strike>get to the bottom of this, </strike>figure out where the <em>aegypti</em> are breeding, and wipe them out.</p> <p>Compared with, say, Puerto Ricans, Americans are also protected by our lifestyle. People in the Deep South tend to have air conditioning and screens on their windows. We also don't usually store drinking water in open containers, as families often do in the tropics. We spend more time indoors, out of the heat. And all of this helps minimize contact with the mosquitoes. Consider that before Zika became a problem, as Fauci mentioned, we also had periodic outbreaks of dengue and Chikungunya, spread by the same mosquito. As I pointed out <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/05/stop-freaking-out-zika-olympics-aedes-aegypti" target="_blank">previously</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>When was the last time you worried about Chikungunya or dengue&mdash;or malaria, for that matter? Those diseases<strong> </strong>are far scarier than Zika. WHO estimates (conservatively) that malaria infected at least <a href="http://www.who.int/malaria/media/world-malaria-report-2015/en/" target="_blank">214 million</a> people last year and killed 438,000, mostly children under five. Then there's dengue,<strong> </strong>named from the Swahili phrase <em>ki denga pepo</em> ("a sudden overtaking by a spirit")&mdash;which tells you something about how painful it is. Each year, dengue, also called "breakbone fever," infects <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/dengue/epidemiology/" target="_blank">50-100 million people</a>, sickens about 70 percent of them&mdash;half a million very severely&mdash;and kills tens of thousands. Brazil, in addition to its Zika problem, is experiencing a <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/dengue-outpaces-zika-in-brazil-1459416641">record dengue epidemic</a>. Health authorities there tallied 1.6 million cases and 863 deaths last year&mdash;and the 2016 toll is on track to be worse. Zika is seldom fatal.</p> </blockquote> <p>This doesn't mean we should ignore the latest news, of course. If you're pregnant, especially in southern Florida, you're probably already taking precautions to avoid mosquito bites, like using repellents and eliminating any standing water on your property. FDA officials are asking people in Miami-Dade and Broward counties to <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/07/28/487802572/fearing-zika-fda-asks-2-florida-counties-to-halt-blood-donations" target="_blank">refrain from giving blood</a> until we know what's going on. But most Americans, even most southerners, have little reason to freak out.</p> <blockquote> <p>Only one of the six scientists I interviewed was concerned that Zika might take off in the continental United States. "You would never see Zika virus, Chikungunya virus, or dengue virus sweep across the country the way West Nile did, even in the regions where these mosquitoes are," UC-Davis epidemiologist Chris Barker told me. "Because that's just not how it works in our country."</p> </blockquote></body></html> Environment Congress Health Top Stories Zika Fri, 29 Jul 2016 18:43:39 +0000 Michael Mechanic 310496 at http://www.motherjones.com The Seattle Minimum Wage Experiment: Mixed Results So Far http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/07/seattle-minimum-wage-experiment-mixed-results-so-far <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I've mentioned before&mdash;only half jokingly&mdash;that I'm happy to see other people experiment with a $15 minimum wage. It's the best of all worlds: it provides us with test beds to see what happens, but if it's a disaster it won't affect me personally.</p> <p>Seattle was one of the first to do this, and as a first step they raised their minimum wage to $11 about 18 months ago. It's probably still too early to draw any sweeping conclusions about what happened, but we do have some preliminary results from the Seattle Minimum Wage Study Team at the University of Washington. Their basic methodology is to compare Seattle with surrounding regions (plus a composite "Synthetic Seattle") to see how it compares. <a href="http://evans.uw.edu/policy-impact/minimum-wage-study" target="_blank">So what have they found so far?</a></p> <ul><li><strong>Wages up.</strong> For starters, they spend a surprising number of pages confirming that, yes, wages went up. Apparently Seattle employers are complying with the law. However, the Seattle economy has been booming recently, so it's hard to know how much of the increase is due to the minimum wage law and how much would have happened anyway thanks to the tight job market. They conclude that the law was responsible <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_seattle_minimum_wage.jpg" style="margin: 30px 0px 15px 30px;">for an average hourly increase of 73 cents among workers who were previously making less than $11.</li> <li><strong>No impact on availability of jobs.</strong> But what about jobs? Did the number of low-wage jobs go down? Yes it did&mdash;but less than in areas that <em>didn't</em> increase their minimum wage: "The half-percentage-point reduction in persistent jobs at these businesses between mid-2014 and late-2015 is actually a positive development, as these businesses contracted more slowly than usual in the historical record. We find the exact same pattern in Synthetic Seattle, <em>suggesting that the minimum wage had little or no net impact on the number of persistent jobs.</em>"</li> <li><strong>Hours worked decreased.</strong> How about hours worked? Did low-wage employers reduce their hours? Yes: "We estimate that hours per employee declined between 7.5 and 9.9 over a quarter, or 35-40 minutes per week."</li> <li><strong>Employment decreased.</strong> How about employment of low-wage workers? Unsurprisingly, it went down: "While these low-wage workers increased their likelihood of being employed relative to prior years, this increase was less than in comparison regions. We estimate that the impact of the Ordinance was a 1.1 percentage point <em>decrease</em> in likelihood of low-wage Seattle workers remaining employed."</li> <li><strong>No effect on business closures.</strong> Did more establishments go out of business? Not really. It was a wash: "For single-location establishments that paid more than 40% of the workers less than $15 per hour at baseline, we find a slightly larger negative impact of 1.0 percentage points. Yet, this modest increase in business closure rates was more than offset by an increase in the rate of business openings....The net effect is an estimated 0.9 percentage point increase in business openings as a result of the Minimum Wage Ordinance. This increase in both business closures and business openings perhaps should not come as a surprise. A higher minimum wage changes the type of business that can succeed profitably in Seattle, and we should thus expect some extra churning."</li> </ul><p>Bottom line: wages went up, but employment went down. This is about what you'd expect. However, I'm a little unclear on how to reconcile this employment decrease with the finding that the number of persistent jobs didn't change. Perhaps there was a decrease in seasonal or intermittent jobs? It will probably all become clearer in future reports.</p> <p>Needless to say, the real test will come over the next few years, as the minimum wage climbs to $15.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 29 Jul 2016 18:32:17 +0000 Kevin Drum 310521 at http://www.motherjones.com Voting Rights Advocates Score a Huge Win in North Carolina http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/07/federal-appeals-court-strikes-controversial-north-carolina-voting-restrictions <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A federal appeals court <a href="http://electionlawblog.org/wp-content/uploads/nc-4th.pdf" target="_blank">struck down a restrictive voting law</a> in North Carolina on Friday, ruling that the state legislature acted with the intent to limit African American voting in enacting the measure. The law, which took effect in March, contained provisions that created new ID requirements, eliminated same-day voter registration, reduced early voting by a week, blocked a law that allowed 16 and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote, and prevented ballots cast in the wrong precincts from being counted.</p> <p>The law, originally passed in 2013 after the US Supreme Court gutted a key section of the Voting Rights Act, was immediately challenged by a lawsuit but was upheld at the district court level in April. Friday's decision reverses the lower court's ruling.</p> <p>"In holding that the legislature did not enact the challenged provisions with discriminatory intent, the court seems to have missed the forest in carefully surveying the many trees," wrote Judge Diana Gribbon Motz for the unanimous three-judge panel. "This failure of perspective led the court to ignore critical facts bearing on legislative intent, including the inextricable link between race and politics in North Carolina."</p> <p>The court's decision notes that North Carolina's law was initiated by state Republicans the day after the Supreme Court gutted a key portion of the Voting Rights Act in 2013. That decision, <em><a href="http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/shelby-county-v-holder/" target="_blank">Shelby v. Holder</a></em>, ruled that the mechanism used to determine which states needed pre-clearance for voting law changes due to a history of racial discrimination was outdated. This ruling cleared the way for states like North Carolina&mdash;which previously had to have all voting law and procedural changes reviewed by the US Department of Justice or a federal judge&mdash;to enact any voting changes they wished.</p> <p>Marc Elias, one of the lawyers who fought the law on behalf of a group of younger voters in North Carolina, told <em>Mother Jones</em> Friday that the decision represented a strong rebuke of race-based voting legislation.</p> <p>"The Fourth Circuit decision is a milestone in the protection of voting rights," Elias said. "It is a great day for the citizens of North Carolina and those who care about voting rights. Significantly, the court put down an important marker against discrimination in voting when it wrote, 'We recognize that elections have consequences, but winning an election does not empower anyone in any party to engage in purposeful racial discrimination.'"</p> <p>Rick Hasen, a national expert on election law, <a href="http://electionlawblog.org/?p=84702" target="_blank">wrote Friday</a> that the decision reversed "the largest collection of voting rollbacks contained in a single law that I could find since the 1965 passage of the Voting Rights Act." Hasen noted that this was the third major voting rights victory of the past two weeks. On July 19, a federal court <a href="https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/frank-v-walker-preliminary-injunction-motion-granted?redirect=legal-document/frank-v-walker-motion-granted" target="_blank">weakened Wisconsin's strict voter ID law</a>; the next day, a panel of federal judges ruled that <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2016/07/the_5th_circuit_left_an_opening_for_texas_to_lose_control_of_its_discriminatory.html" target="_blank">Texas' strict voter ID law</a> violated federal law.</p> <p>The state of North Carolina could now seek to have the case reheard before the entire Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, or it could appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.</p></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Civil Liberties voting rights Fri, 29 Jul 2016 17:27:01 +0000 AJ Vicens 310491 at http://www.motherjones.com Horrible North Carolina Voting Law Struck Down http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/07/horrible-north-carolina-voting-law-struck-down <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Rick Hasen reports on an appellate court decision rejecting North Carolina's horrible 2013 voting law. Most importantly, they rejected it by <a href="http://electionlawblog.org/?p=84702" target="_blank">clearly finding discriminatory intent on the part of the legislature:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>A partially divided panel of 4th Circuit judges <strong>reversed a massive trial court opinion</strong> which had rejected a number of constitutional and Voting Rights Act challenges to North Carolina&rsquo;s strict voting law, a law I had said was the largest collection of voting rollbacks contained in a single law that I <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_nc_voting_rights.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">could find since the 1965 passage of the Voting Rights Act....<strong>This decision is the third voting rights win in two weeks.</strong></p> <p>....The 4th Circuit goes out of its way to commend the trial court for its carefulness and thoroughness (something I noted in my own analysis). But &ldquo;In holding that the legislature did not enact the challenged provisions with discriminatory intent, the court seems to have missed the forest in carefully surveying the many trees....<strong>Although the new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision, they constitute inapt remedies for the problems assertedly justifying them and, in fact, impose cures for problems that did not exist.</strong> Thus the asserted justifications cannot and do not conceal the State&rsquo;s true motivation.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>In previous cases like this, we've seen courts uphold restrictive voting laws on the grounds that they're partisan, not racist. If Republicans want to try to restrict likely <em>Democrats</em> from voting, that's OK. Alternatively, if you can't show any outright racial animus, then the law isn't discriminatory. The court rejected both arguments:</p> <blockquote> <p>Later there is this key part: &ldquo;Our conclusion does not mean, and <strong>we do not suggest, that any member of the General Assembly harbored racial hatred or animosity toward any minority group.</strong> But the totality of the circumstances...&shy;cumulatively and unmistakably reveal that the General Assembly used SL 2013-381 to entrench itself....<strong>Even if done for partisan ends, that constituted racial discrimination.</strong>&rdquo;</p> <p>....Here is the key language on why the 4th Circuit found the district court clearly erroneous on the intent question: &ldquo;The district court failed to take into account these cases and their important takeaway: <strong>that state officials continued in their efforts to restrict or dilute African American voting strength well after 1980 and up to the present day</strong>....These cases also highlight the manner in which race and party are inexorably linked in North Carolina....The district court failed to recognize this linkage, leading it to accept &lsquo;politics as usual; as a justification for many of the changes in SL 2013-381. <strong>But that cannot be accepted where politics as usual translates into race-based discrimination.</strong>&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>This is tentatively good news. "Tentative" because I assume the next step is the Supreme Court. Will they uphold the 4th Circuit's decision to strike down North Carolina's law, or will they ignore the obvious and pretend that this is, indeed, just politics as usual?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 29 Jul 2016 17:11:43 +0000 Kevin Drum 310501 at http://www.motherjones.com Donald Trump Faults GOP for Poor Convention Ratings http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/07/donald-trump-republican-national-convention-poor-ratings <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Donald Trump is suddenly distancing himself from last week's Republican National Convention, after television ratings show that the Democratic National Convention consistently pulled in more viewers across the country for three consecutive nights.</p> <p>"I didn't produce our show," Trump told the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/28/business/media/clintons-convention-is-made-for-tv-trumps-was-made-for-twitter.html?_r=0&amp;mtrref=thehill.com" target="_blank"><em>New York Times</em></a>. "I just showed up for the final speech."</p> <p>While the ratings for the fourth night have yet to be announced, Trump did appear anxious that Hillary Clinton's final convention night on Thursday would top his own. Earlier that morning, the Republican nominee sent a <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2016/07/28/media/democratic-convention-ratings-day-three/" target="_blank">campaign letter</a> to his supporters urging them not to tune in.</p> <p>According to <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2016/07/28/media/democratic-convention-ratings-day-three/" target="_blank">CNN</a>, the DNC's biggest night was Monday, when it racked up 26 million viewers. Trump's Monday night attracted 23 million.</p> <p>The ratings loss is likely to be a particularly sensitive topic for Trump. The reality star has long boasted of being a ratings bonanza, with viewers flocking to witness his unpredictable, inflammatory performances throughout the primary debate season. Trump's presence in the debates <a href="http://www.poynter.org/2016/cnn-rides-trump-to-likely-ratings-nirvana-at-gop-debate/398691/" target="_blank">created record-breaking numbers</a> for television networks.</p> <p>In Cleveland, however, Trump failed to secure the kind of star-studded event he promised would take place at the convention. While his convention's roster included Scott Baio, Antonio Sabato Jr., and Kid Rock, the Democratic convention blew away the competition with Meryl Streep, Paul Simon, and Alicia Keys.</p></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Donald Trump Fri, 29 Jul 2016 16:33:12 +0000 Inae Oh 310476 at http://www.motherjones.com