MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en Housekeeping Update <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Just a quick update. Yesterday my doctor decided to do a "little bedside test" to get a better reading on the state of my bones. It was indeed bedside, and it was indeed done with just a local anesthetic, but I guess it wasn't a very powerful one. Hoo boy, did that hurt, and naturally I was a total baby about it. In any case, they want to keep me here for at least another day to make sure I didn't get infected etc. Also, today I get my first monthly dose of some bone-strengthening med whose name escapes me. So it looks like it'll be tomorrow at the earliest before I go home. It depends on how I'm doing and what the doctor gods decree. But I walked 300 feet this morning without too much trouble, so that has to be positive sign, doesn't it?</p> <p>When will blogging recommence? I'm not sure. In the meantime, though, enjoy a bonus cat.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hopper_2014_10_22.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 60px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:58:49 +0000 Kevin Drum 263031 at In Just 15 Years, Wind Could Provide A Fifth Of The World's Electricity <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Up to one fifth of the world's electricity supply could come from wind turbines by 2030, according to a <a href="" target="_blank">new report</a> released this week by Greenpeace and the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). That would be an increase of 530 percent compared to the end of last year.</p> <p>The report says the coming global boom in wind power will be driven largely by China's rebounding wind energy market&mdash;and a continued trend of <a href="" target="_blank">high levels of Chinese green energy investment</a>&mdash;as well as by steady growth in the United States and new large-scale projects in Mexico, Brazil, and South Africa.</p> <p>The report, called the "Global Wind Energy Outlook," explains how wind energy could provide 2,000 gigawatts of electricity by 2030, which would account for 17 to 19 percent of global electricity. And by 2050, wind's share of the electricity market could reach 30 percent. That's a huge jump from the end of 2013, when wind provided around 3 percent of electricity worldwide.</p> <p>The report is an annually produced industry digest co-authored by the GWEC, which represents 1,500 wind power producers. It examines three "energy scenarios" based on projections used by the International Energy Agency. The "New Policies" scenario attempts to capture the direction and intentions of international climate policy, even if some of these policies have yet to be fully implemented. From there, GWEC has fashioned two other scenarios&mdash;"moderate" and "advanced"&mdash;which reflect two different ways&nbsp;nations might cut carbon and keep their commitments to global climate change policies.&nbsp;In the most ambitious scenario, "advanced," wind could help slash more than 3 billion tons of climate-warning carbon dioxide emissions each year. The following chart has been adapted and simplified from the report:</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/chart1_5.jpg"></div> <p>In the best case scenario, China leads the way in 2020 and in 2030:</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/chart2_2_0.jpg"></div> <p>But as the report's authors note, there is still substantial uncertainty in the market. "There is much that we don't know about the future," they write, "and there will no doubt be unforeseen shifts and shocks in the global economy as well as political ups and downs." The more optimistic results contained in the report are dependent on whether the global community is going to respond "proactively to the threat of climate change, or try to do damage control after the fact," the report says.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Charts Climate Change Climate Desk Energy Infrastructure Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:36:44 +0000 James West 262981 at We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for October 22, 2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p class="rtecenter"><em>A US Marine Sgt. speaks with a local child while on patrol in Afghanistan. (US Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Darien J. Bjorndal)</em></p></body></html> MoJo Afghanistan Military Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:28:42 +0000 263021 at RIP Ben Bradlee, 1921-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Ben Bradlee, the <a href=";action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;version=LargeMediaHeadlineSumCentered&amp;module=photo-spot-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news" target="_blank">legendary <em>Washington Post</em> editor</a>, who led the paper during its Watergate era and turned it into a national and global reporting powerhouse, died on Tuesday at the age of 93.</p> <p>"I don't mean to sound arrogant, but we are in a holy profession," Bradlee <a href="" target="_blank">once said.</a></p> <p>He was the <em>Post's</em> executive editor from 1968 to 1991. RIP.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Media Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:58:27 +0000 Inae Oh 263011 at George W. Bush's Revenge: A Federal Appeals Court Goes on the Rampage <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>When George W. Bush departed the White House, he left behind a giant deficit and expanded government spending for Medicare drug benefits that caused conservatives to grumble. But he did make a mark that right-wingers can cheer&mdash;by shaping the federal courts for years, perhaps decades.</p> <p>As Bush has retreated to painting, federal judges he placed on the bench have been implementing a conservative vision in some of the most contentious areas of federal law. The best example of this is a string of recent decisions on hot-button issues from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which the <em>ABA Journal</em> has <a href="" target="_blank">dubbed</a> "the nation's most divisive, controversial and conservative appeals court."</p> <p>The 5th Circuit handles appeals from federal courts in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, and it has become increasingly powerful as the Supreme Court has been hearing fewer and fewer cases. This month, the court&mdash;which has six George W. Bush appointees out of 15 judges&mdash;infuriated civil rights and pro-choice groups with two decisions overturning lower court rulings in Texas.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/politics/2014/10/george-bush-fifth-circuit-court-abortion-voting-rights"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Politics Supreme Court Top Stories Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:30:05 +0000 Stephanie Mencimer 262956 at Lawsuits: Alabama Jailers Allowed 3 Inmates to Die of 19th-Century Ailments <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>On August 6, 2013, officers at the Madison County jail in Huntsville, Alabama, moved an inmate named Duendrez Woods to a medical watch cell. Woods, 19, was suffering from an open wound on his foot and had begun hallucinating. But the jail didn't provide him with any medical treatment. In the following days, they tased Woods for being uncooperative&mdash;three times. Woods began lying naked on the floor. He barely moved except when officers dragged him into the showers to hose off the stench of his injury. At no point did anyone treat Woods' oozing foot or even take his blood pressure. On August 21, Woods died. The cause was complications related to gangrene, a condition in which tissue dies around an untreated wound.</p> <p>This is just one horrific tale included in three new lawsuits filed in federal court last week. The families of three inmates who died in Madison County custody in 2013&mdash;Woods,&nbsp;Nikki Listau, and Tanisha Jefferson&mdash;are accusing corrections officers and medical personnel of standing idly by as each died of a treatable condition.</p> <p>The family members claim the county and the jail's health care service provider refused to transfer the inmates to a hospital until it was too late to save their lives, just to save money. It would have been obvious even to someone with no medical training, the suits say, that Woods, Listau, and Jefferson required hospitalization.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/politics/2014/10/alabama-jailers-watched-three-inmates-died-their-cells"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Politics Civil Liberties Prisons Top Stories Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:15:06 +0000 Molly Redden 262911 at Stop Going Cuckoo for Coconuts <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="coconut" class="image" src="/files/Coconuts_630.jpg"><div class="caption">Alison Seiffer</div> </div> <p>We've entered the age of the coconut. While the lactose intolerant quaff Starbucks' new coconut milk lattes, the gluten averse are busy baking with coconut flour. The number of coconut oil products&mdash;for both cooking and skin moisturizing&mdash;<a href="" target="_blank">grew by 800 percent </a>between 2008 and 2012.</p> <p>Of course, the craze started with a different part of the hairy tropical fruit: its liquid center. Ethnic markets in the United States have sold coconut water for decades, but it didn't go mainstream until 2004, when, as the <em class="italic">New York Time</em><em class="italic">s</em>'<em class="italic"> </em>David Segal <a href="" target="_blank">reported</a> earlier this year, two separate brands, Vita Coco and Zico, happened to launch simultaneously. Inspired by the drink's popularity in Brazil and Central America, the entrepreneurs emphasized the beverage's hydrating minerals&mdash;an all-natural Gatorade. Food trends analyst Harry Balzer of the market research firm NPD Group notes that the launches co&shy;incided with our growing fixation on natural eating; Whole Foods was an early vendor. Between 2008 and 2012, the number of coconut water brands quintupled. Today, a 12-ounce serving goes for $1.50 to $2.00&mdash;adding up to a $500 million industry, with PepsiCo and Coca-Cola owning big sellers.</p> <p>Americans were the perfect market for this salty-sweet liquid because we already bought into the benefits of post-exercise beverages, says Jonny Forsyth of another market research group, Mintel. But ads touting coconut water's superior hydration turned out to be overblown. After a 2011 <a href="" target="_blank">lawsuit</a> accused Vita Coco of exaggerating when it claimed that the beverage had "15 times the electrolytes found in sports drinks," the company agreed to rewrite its labels and shell out a $10 million settlement (though it did not admit any wrongdoing). Lilian Cheung, director of health promotion at Harvard's School of Public Health, says coconut water does contain some electrolytes, especially potassium. And it usually packs less sugar than sports drinks&mdash;around 1.3 grams an ounce compared to Gatorade's 1.7 grams. But for those getting seriously sweaty during workouts, sports drinks contain more sodium than coconut water. And for the rest of us, water is still the best choice for hydration, says Cheung, especially because it's easy to replace lost electrolytes with food (oranges, spinach, and kidney beans, for example).</p> <p>Iffy science notwithstanding, the coconut water trend spurred industry confidence in the fruit's oil ($10 to $15 for a jar), which came with a whole new set of questionable health promises. In 2005, the Food and Drug Administration <a href="" target="_blank">scolded</a> health guru Joseph Mercola for saying that Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil could "reduce the risk of heart disease" and "lower your cholesterol." Some nutritionists have praised the oil's higher proportion of medium-chain fatty acids, which are less likely than long-chain fatty acids to deposit fat into your tissue. But unlike olive oil or vegetable oil, coconut oil is still mostly saturated fat, and eating too much of it could raise levels of the bad kind of cholesterol, "a major cause of heart attacks," says Frank Sacks, a Harvard professor of cardiovascular disease prevention. Even more so if the product has gone through harsh processing, says Cornell nutrition science professor Tom Brenna.</p> <p>Here's what coconut products <em class="italic">are</em> good for: companies' bottom lines. American brands are "making really high margins and buy the coconuts for virtually nothing," Mintel's Forsyth told <em class="italic"><a href="" target="_blank"></a>.</em> In the Philippines, the world's second-largest coconut producer after Indonesia, nearly two-thirds of small-scale coconut farmers<a href="" target="_blank"> live in poverty</a>. Though harvesting the fruit requires a perilous climb, often up trees treated with harsh pesticides, they make just $3 a day at the height of the harvest. Each coconut yields around 500 mL of liquid; a 12-ounce bottle uses about two-thirds of a nut. Of the $2 that you pay for a bottle of the stuff, the farmer makes between 7 and 14 cents. And don't forget that all that coconut water must be shipped across the planet, adding considerably to the product's greenhouse gas footprint.</p> <p>So what's a coconut lover to do? One option: Buy an ethically made product. Earlier this year, <a href="" target="_blank">Fair Trade</a> launched a coconut certification program that guarantees farmers a 10 percent premium on top of their sale price to be used toward causes like typhoon relief. Participants in the program include <a href="" target="_blank">Naked</a>, <a href=";rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=2&amp;ved=0CFMQFjAB&amp;;ei=APxGVILiN82WyATxoIDYDg&amp;usg=AFQjCNHAGdG_J0BRvfFJjWkWwa1sg4tKGg&amp;sig2=EFlLvI-3w5AmmfJK1vQMTA&amp;bvm=bv.77880786,d.aWw" target="_blank">Coco Libre</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Nutiva Virgin Coconut Oil</a>. The brand <a href="" target="_blank">Harmless Harvest</a> only works with organic farms, and its Fair for Life certification prioritizes fair pay. Another company, <a href="" target="_blank">Big Tree Farms</a>, reduces shipping emissions by selling dehydrated coconut powder so you can make your own coconut water. Guilt remedies? Maybe. Magic health elixirs? Probably not.</p></body></html> Environment Food and Ag Health Top Stories Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:00:11 +0000 Maddie Oatman 261406 at How the World Series Might Just Help the GOP Win the Senate <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Kansas City sports fans aren't used to celebrating. The town's NFL team, the Chiefs, hasn't won a playoff game since 1994. The Royals, the other major sports franchise in town, hadn't made a playoff appearance since 1985. But local baseball fans are experiencing a rare bit of jubilation this year. Not only did the Royals sneak into the playoffs as a wild card, they <a href="" target="_blank">won</a> the AL pennant last week and are hosting the San Francisco Giants in game one of the World Series Tuesday night.</p> <p>That's an exciting development for any millennial-aged sports fan from Kansas City who has lived a full life without post-season baseball. It's also welcome news for a pair of Republican politicians from Kansas, <a href="" target="_blank">Gov. Sam Brownback</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Sen. Pat Roberts</a>, both of whom are battling their way through tight reelection bids: Research has shown that important wins by local sports teams around election season can boost an incumbent's performance.</p> <div id="fb-root">&nbsp;</div> <script>(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = "//"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script><div class="fb-post" data-href="" data-width="466"> <div class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore"><a href="">Post</a> by <a href="">Governor Sam Brownback</a>.</div> </div> <p>A <a href="">2010 study</a><strong> </strong>by researchers from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and Stanford University's business school looked at presidential, gubernatorial, and senate elections between 1964 and 2008, and overlaid their outcomes with results from college football games. When the local team won within two weeks of the election, the incumbent on the ballot received 1.05 to 1.47 percent more of the vote on Election Day.</p> <p>But not all sports fandom is created equally, with certain victories carrying extra weight. When one of the teams that the researchers termed "locally important" won ahead of an election, they found that it could boost the incumbent's vote share by as much as 2.42 percent&mdash;a large enough margin to swing any close contest. "We find clear evidence that the successes and failures of the local college football team before Election Day significantly influence the electoral prospects of the incumbent party," the researchers wrote, "suggesting that voters reward and punish incumbents for changes in their well-being unrelated to government performance."</p> <p>The researchers attributed these results to an improvement in overall&nbsp;happiness among voters around the election, boosting a willingness to support the political status quo when they're feeling content about other parts of their lives. The recent success of the long-struggling Royals reaching the championship round would certainly make the cut as a now important team. "These are different times in Kansas City," <a href="">declares</a> the <em>Boston Globe</em>. "Passengers arriving at Kansas City International Airport on Monday were greeted with stacks of blue and white balloons with yellow crowns on top."</p> <p>Though the Royals are actually from Kansas City, Missouri, they've got plenty of boosters just across the border in the Sunflower State. About 20 percent of Kansas' population resides in Johnson County, the ring of suburbs outside Kansas City and one of the pivotal electoral zones that could decide whether Brownback and Roberts get to keep their jobs next year.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Here we go Royals <a href="">#WorldSeriesBound</a>! <a href="">#BeRoyalKC</a> <a href="">#TakeTheCrown</a></p> &mdash; Pat Roberts (@SenPatRoberts) <a href="">October 15, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Going to the World Series <a href="">@Royals</a>!</p> &mdash; Sam Brownback (@govsambrownback) <a href="">October 15, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Brownback, who won by 30 points four years ago, has struggled <a href="" target="_blank">in polls</a> against his Democratic opponent all year as voters have <a href="" target="_blank">turned against him </a>over his giant tax cuts and efforts to purify the state GOP. And questions about Roberts' residency hurt his image enough that independent Greg Orman has run about even with Roberts since the Democratic candidate dropped out of the race. Both races have tightened as Election Day approaches, so don't be surprised if Roberts and Brownback strut around town in royal blue until November 4.</p></body></html> Politics Elections Sports Top Stories baseball Tue, 21 Oct 2014 22:23:27 +0000 Patrick Caldwell 262991 at Two SWAT Raids. Two Officers Dead. One Defendant Is Black, One White. Guess What Happened. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>One Friday last May, the sun had not yet risen when a SWAT team ignited a flash-bang grenade outside Marvin Guy's apartment in Killeen, Texas. Officers were trying to climb in through a window when Guy, who had a criminal record and was suspected of possessing cocaine, opened fire. Four officers were hit; one of them was killed.</p> <p>Five months earlier, 100 miles away, a SWAT officer was shot during a predawn no-knock raid on another house. In that case, too, police threw a flash-bang grenade and tried to enter the residence. Henry "Hank" Magee, according to his attorney, grabbed his gun to protect himself and his pregnant girlfriend. "As soon as the door was kicked in, he shot at the people coming through the door," says his attorney, Dick DeGuerin. With his legally owned semi-automatic .308 rifle, Magee killed one of the officers.&nbsp;</p> <p>The cases are remarkably similar, except for one thing: Guy is black, Magee white. And while Magee was found to have acted in self-defense, prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Guy. He remains in jail while he awaits trial.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/politics/2014/10/texas-no-knock-swat-raid"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Politics Crime and Justice Prisons Race and Ethnicity Top Stories Tue, 21 Oct 2014 21:25:20 +0000 Shane Bauer 262951 at The World Just Had its Hottest "Year" on Record <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><em>This <a href="" target="_blank">story</a> originally appeared in </em><a href="" target="_blank">Slate</a> <em>and is republished here as part of the <a href="" target="_blank">Climate Desk</a> collaboration.</em></p> <p>A few days ago, I told you that&mdash;<a href="" target="blank">according to NASA data</a>&mdash;we just finished the warmest six-month streak on record. Welp, it just got worse.</p> <p>According to data released Monday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, last month was <a href="" target="blank">the warmest September on record globally</a>. What's more&mdash;and here's the kicker&mdash;the NOAA says the Earth has just completed its warmest 12-month period on record. <a href="" target="blank">From the NOAA</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>The past 12 months&mdash;October 2013&ndash;September 2014&mdash;was the warmest 12-month period among all months since records began in 1880, at 1.24&deg;F above the 20<sup>th</sup>&nbsp;century average. This breaks the previous record of +1.22&deg;F set for the periods September 1998&ndash;August 1998, August 2009&ndash;July 2010; and September 2013&ndash;August 2014.</p> </blockquote> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="September" class="image" src="/files/noaa-temperature-630.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>2014 continues on a record warm pace. </strong><a href="" target="_blank">NOAA</a><br> &nbsp;</div> </div> <p>Though this record-setting "year" is likely to go unheralded compared with a calendar year record, it's actually more impressive statistically. (Each calendar year contains a dozen 12-month-period starting points. Starting the year in January is completely arbitrary.) But, don't fret, the NOAA says we're still on pace to beat the calendar year record in 2014, too.</p> <p>On Monday, the NOAA also announced that global oceans are again record-warm&mdash;the third time this year that ocean temperatures have soared to new heights. The most recent record was set <a href="" target="blank">just last month</a>. Ocean warming has <a href="" target="blank">implications</a> for the health of coral reefs, sea level rise, and weather patterns worldwide.</p> <p>What's most shocking about our planet's current warm stretch is that the heat records are being broken <em>without</em> an El Ni&ntilde;o&mdash;the periodic oscillation that warms the Pacific Ocean. But, one of those is on the way, too&mdash;and <a href="" target="blank">it might stick around for a while</a>.</p> <p>So far in 2014, record-setting hot spots have been scattered almost uniformly across the globe, from Alaska to California to Cuba to Scandinavia to Brazil to Australia. A couple of exceptions: The eastern United States has been <a href="" target="blank">one of the coldest spots on the planet</a>, relatively speaking. So has coastal Antarctica, where record amounts of sea ice have been recorded&mdash;strangely, <a href="" target="blank">also possibly connected to global warming</a>.</p></body></html> Environment Climate Change Climate Desk Tue, 21 Oct 2014 20:24:58 +0000 Eric Holthaus 262986 at