MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en Don't Do It, Paul! <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><a href="" target="_blank">REPORT:</a> John Boehner is personally asking Paul Ryan to step up and be Speaker. They have spoken twice today by phone....Boehner told Ryan he is the only person who can unite GOP at this crisis moment. Ryan undecided but listening, per source.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_young_guns_gone.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 140px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 08 Oct 2015 23:29:46 +0000 Kevin Drum 286566 at Smoking Will Kill 1 in 3 Chinese Men <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Smoking will kill one in three young men in China unless rates of tobacco use drop dramatically, according to a new <a href="" target="_blank">study</a> in the medical journal<em> The Lancet.</em></p> <p>The study, led by Oxford University epidemiologist Zhengming Chen, is full of eye-opening stats: In 2010 alone, smoking accounted for 1 million Chinese deaths, primarily of men. If the current trend continues, that number will double by 2030. (In the United States, cigarettes kill 480,000 people annually&mdash;a number that's been steadily declining over the last several decades and is expected to keep dropping.)<strong> </strong>"About two-thirds of young Chinese men become cigarette smokers, and most start before they are 20," explains Chen. "Unless they stop, about half of them will eventually be killed by their habit."</p> <p>The researchers came to these conclusions by conducting two nationally representative studies&mdash;the first in the 90s, the second 15 years later&mdash;that tracked the health outcomes of smoking among a total of 730,000 men and women.</p> <p>There is some good news: While smoking among men has increased dramatically in recent years, smoking among women has plummeted, to roughly 3 percent of the population. And the proportion of smokers overall who have chosen to quit rose from 3 percent to 9 percent between 1991 and 2006.</p> <p>The high smoking rates are fueled by low prices. "Over the past 20 years, tobacco deaths have been decreasing in Western countries, partly because of price increases," said Richard Peto, a co-author of the study. "For China, a substantial increase in cigarette prices could save tens of millions of lives." Pervasive myths don't help either, including beliefs that Asians are less susceptible to tobacco's effects and smoking is easy to quit. The World Health Organization <a href="" target="_blank">estimates</a> that only a quarter of Chinese adults have a "comprehensive understanding" of smoking's hazards.</p> <p>This lack of awareness is hardly surprising when you look into who's selling the cigarettes: An estimated 98 percent of the Chinese cigarette market is controlled by China National Tobacco Corporation, a government-owned conglomerate that runs more than 160 cigarette brands. According to a <a href="" target="_blank">Bloomberg Business feature</a> on the topic, the industry accounts for 7 percent of the country's revenue each year and employs roughly 500,000 people. In 2013, the company manufactured 2.25 trillion cigarettes. (Philip Morris International, the second-largest producer, manufactured 880 billion.)</p> <p>"The extent to which the government is interlocked with the fortunes of China National might best be described by the company&rsquo;s presence in schools," writes Bloomberg's Andrew Martin. "Slogans over the entrances to sponsored elementary schools read, 'Genius comes from hard work. Tobacco helps you become talented.'"</p></body></html> MoJo China Health International Thu, 08 Oct 2015 23:03:16 +0000 Julia Lurie 286516 at We Were Sued by a Billionaire Political Donor. We Won. Here's What Happened. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><span class="section-lead">Today we are</span> happy to announce a monumental legal victory for <em>Mother Jones</em>: A judge in Idaho has ruled in our favor on all claims in a defamation case filed by a major Republican donor, Frank VanderSloot, and his company, Melaleuca Inc. In a <a href="" target="_blank">decision</a> issued Tuesday, the court found that <em>Mother Jones</em> did not defame VanderSloot or Melaleuca because "all of the statements at issue are non-actionable truth or substantial truth."&nbsp;The court also found that the statements were protected as fair comment under the First Amendment.</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/vandersloot-ruling.jpg"></a> <div class="caption"><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Read the full ruling here. </strong></a></div> </div> <p>This is the culmination of a lengthy, expensive legal saga that began three years ago when the 2012 presidential primaries were in full swing. On February 6, 2012, we <a href="" target="_blank">published</a> an article about VanderSloot after it emerged that his company, Melaleuca, and its subsidiaries had given $1 million to Mitt Romney's super-PAC. The piece noted that VanderSloot had gone to unusual lengths to oppose gay rights in Idaho, and that Melaleuca had run into trouble with regulators.</p> <p>VanderSloot's lawyers sent us a letter complaining about the article. We reviewed their concerns and posted a correction about a few details. So far, not an uncommon scenario; it's something every newsroom deals with from time to time.</p> <p>But that September, we broke the story of Romney's 47 percent comments, which some have argued cost the GOP the White House. Four months later, VanderSloot&mdash;who was also one of Gov. Romney's national finance chairs&mdash;filed a defamation lawsuit against <em>Mother Jones</em> as well as Stephanie Mencimer, the reporter of the article, and Monika personally (for her tweet about the piece).</p> <p>People have asked us whether we think these two things were connected, and the honest answer is that we have no idea. What we do know is that the take-no-prisoners legal assault from VanderSloot and Melaleuca has consumed a good part of the past two and a half years and has cost millions (yes, millions) in legal fees. In the course of the litigation, VanderSloot sued a former small-town Idaho newspaper reporter whose confrontation with him we mentioned in our article. His lawyers asked a judge to let them rifle through the internal records of the Obama campaign. They deposed a representative of the campaign in pursuit of a baseless theory that <em>Mother Jones</em> conspired with Obama's team to defame VanderSloot. They tried to get one of our lawyers disqualified because his firm had once done work for Melaleuca. They intrusively questioned our employees&mdash;our reporter was grilled about whether she had attended a Super Bowl party the night she finalized the article.</p> <p>Legally, what we fought over was what, precisely, the terms "bashing" and "outing" meant in the context of our article. (<a href="" target="_blank">Read the decision for yourself</a>.) But make no mistake: This was not a dispute over a few words. It was a push, by a superrich businessman and donor, to wipe out news coverage that he disapproved of. Had he been successful, it would have been a chilling indicator that the 0.01 percent can control not only the financing of political campaigns, but also media coverage of those campaigns.</p> <p>Throughout this lawsuit, VanderSloot appeared to be engaged in rewriting his own history of opposing the expansion of civil rights to LGBT people. His complaint focused on two things: He asserted that we defamed him by "falsely stating that Mr. VanderSloot 'bashed' and 'publicly out[ed] a reporter.'" He also claimed that Monika's tweet about the article defamed him by referring to "gay-bashing."</p> <p>In a way, there was something ironically hopeful about this: A conservative Republican&mdash;someone who not long ago was quoted saying it was "child abuse" to put a film about gay parents on public television&mdash;had apparently come to believe that to call him a gay-basher was so damaging to his reputation that he must fight the argument at virtually any cost. It's a sign of just how far America has moved in just a few years that this entire case&nbsp; felt like something from a time capsule.</p> <p>To be sure, VanderSloot has much at stake in reworking his public profile. He's now widely recognized as one of the megadonors who will help determine who wins the 2016 GOP nomination. He has <a href="" target="_blank">vowed</a> to be even more "financially active" than he was in 2012, when he raised between $2 million and $5 million for Romney. In burnishing his image as a national figure, he might like people to forget about certain aspects of his past, such as the fact that he financed an ad campaign to amend the state constitution to ban marriage equality. (One of the ads pointed out that such an amendment would also prevent marriages between "a person and an animal.")</p> <p>"I have learned a great deal about the debate of homosexuality and sexual orientation," he wrote in <a href="" target="_blank">an op-ed</a> this past February. "I believe that gay people should have the same freedoms and rights as any other individual."</p> <p>That's a fascinating story. But it's also a frightening one. If VanderSloot had prevailed, he would have proven that with enough money to throw at lawyers, you can wipe the slate. You can go after those who document the past and the present, and if you can't make them cry "uncle" you can at least append a legal asterisk to their work forevermore.&nbsp;</p> <p>That's why we've pushed back. Frank VanderSloot may have evolved along with America. We respect that. But it doesn't erase the past.<br> &nbsp;</p> <p><span class="section-lead"><strong>Perhaps fittingly,</strong></span> a major element in this case about the right of the press to afflict the powerful was a piece of investigative journalism. In 2005, a young reporter at the 26,000-circulation <em>Post Register</em> in Idaho Falls got a tip about a pedophile in the local Boy Scouts. The reporter, Peter Zuckerman, dug into the story and discovered legal documents indicating that Scout leaders had received multiple warnings about a camp employee but had not removed him. The documents also indicated that the man's bishop in the Mormon Church had been warned about him as early as 1988 and had sent him to counseling, but had told the Scouts years later that he saw no reason the man should not be a camp leader. In one case, according to a court <a href="" target="_blank">decision</a>, a 10-year-old's parents told Scout leaders they were concerned about the man's behavior. When he was arrested the following year, Scout leaders learned that he had molested the child, but decided not to tell the parents.</p> <p>The series made a huge splash. It won a string of prestigious journalism <a href=";today=2006-03-10" target="_blank">awards</a>. It became the subject of a PBS <a href="" target="_blank">documentary</a>. But there were also angry phone calls to the paper. Advertisers pulled out. And Frank VanderSloot got involved.</p> <p>VanderSloot is reportedly the <a href="" target="_blank">richest man in Idaho</a>, and among the most powerful. His company, Melaleuca, sells tea-tree oil supplements and personal-care products via an Avon-like system of individual marketers who recruit others to sell. His net worth has been estimated as $1.2 billion, and for decades he has been a major power in Idaho politics, especially on LGBT issues. He financed an ad campaign that helped defeat a state Supreme Court justice on grounds that she might vote to legalize same-sex marriage. His wife <a href="" target="_blank">gave</a> $100,000 to the campaign to pass the anti-gay-marriage Proposition 8 in California.</p> <p>In the late 1990s, he <a href="" target="_blank">helped pay for billboards across the state</a> protesting Idaho public television's plan to air <a href="" target="_blank">a film</a> intended to teach kids respect for different kinds of families. The government, he said, should not "be spending our tax dollars to bring the homosexual lifestyle into the classroom and introduce it to our children as being normal, right, acceptable, and good and an appropriate lifestyle for them or anyone else to be living."</p> <p>VanderSloot has long been active in the Mormon church, and he was a strong supporter of the Boy Scouts. When the <em>Post Register</em>'s series ran, he swung into action. He took out full-page <a href="" target="_blank">ads</a> in the paper attacking the investigation and Peter Zuckerman, the 26-year-old lead reporter on the series. One of the ads noted that Zuckerman had written an article about his sexual orientation for a journalism site while on a fellowship in Florida. The ad said he had declared "that he is homosexual and admitted that it is very difficult for him to be objective on things he feels strongly about."</p> <p>"Much has been said on a local radio station and throughout the community," VanderSloot's ad continued, "speculating that the Boy Scouts' position of not letting gay men be Scout Leaders, and the LDS Church's position that marriage should be between a man and a woman may have caused Zuckerman to attack the scouts and the LDS Church through his journalism."</p> <p>"We think it would be very unfair for anyone to conclude that is what is behind Zuckerman's motives," the ad continued. "It would be wrong to do. The only known facts are, that for whatever reason, Zuckerman chose to weave a story that unfairly, and without merit, paints Scout leaders and church leaders to appear unscrupulous, and blame[s] them for the molestation of little children." Decoding the message between the lines is left as an exercise for the reader.</p> <p>The ads had a dramatic impact. Though Zuckerman had been open about his sexual orientation before he came to Idaho, his editor Dean Miller later <a href="" target="_blank">wrote</a> that in Idaho Falls the reporter "was not 'out' to anyone but family, a few colleagues at the paper (including me), and his close friends." Zuckerman had already gotten some negative reactions after a local talk show with a tiny audience discussed his sexual orientation. But according to Miller's article and Zuckerman's testimony in the litigation, things got much worse after VanderSloot's ads. "Strangers started ringing Peter's doorbell at night," Miller said. "Despite the harassment, Peter kept coming to work and chasing down leads on other pedophiles in the Grand Teton Council. I spoke at his church one Sunday and meant it when I said that I hope my son grows into as much of a man as Peter had." (Later that year, Zuckerman moved to Portland, where he took a job with the <em>Oregonian</em> while his partner was <a href="" target="_blank">elected</a> the city's first openly gay mayor.)</p> <p>Fast forward to 2012. Miller's article about the Boy Scouts controversy was one of the stories that our reporter Stephanie Mencimer found after VanderSloot's name popped up in the January campaign finance filings. It was the first presidential election of the dark-money era, and <em>Mother Jones</em>' politics team had zeroed in on the huge new super-PACs being created to pump unrestricted money into campaigns of both parties. VanderSloot stood out because Melaleuca was among the <a href="" target="_blank">top contributors to Restore Our Future</a>, the super-PAC supporting Romney. Mencimer wrote an article about him that included a few paragraphs on his history of anti-gay-rights activism and his run-in with the <em>Post Register</em>.</p> <p>Those paragraphs are what VanderSloot and Melaleuca sued us over. They filed the suit in Bonneville County, Idaho, and asked for damages of up to $74,999&mdash;exactly $1 under the amount at which the lawsuit could have been removed to federal court. That ensured the case would be decided by jurors from the community where his company is the biggest employer and the sponsor of everything from the minor league ballpark to the Fourth of July fireworks.&nbsp;</p> <p>Since then, <em>Mother Jones</em> and our insurance company have had to spend at least $2.5 million defending ourselves. We also took up the defense of Zuckerman, whom VanderSloot sued halfway through the case for talking to Rachel Maddow about his experience. (VanderSloot did not sue MSNBC or its deep-pocketed parent company, Comcast. Make of that what you will.)</p> <p>Here's a moment that gives you a sense of what it was like. At one point, Zuckerman was subjected to roughly 10 hours of grilling by VanderSloot's lawyers about every detail of the controversy in Idaho Falls, including the breakup with his boyfriend of five years. (VanderSloot also threatened to sue the ex-boyfriend, backing off only after he recanted statements he'd made about the Boy Scouts episode.) As the lawyers kept probing, Zuckerman broke down and cried as he testified that the time after the ads appeared was one of the darkest periods of his life. VanderSloot, who had flown to Portland for the occasion, sternly looked on. (His lawsuit against Zuckerman is ongoing.)</p> <p>And that wasn't the end of it. VanderSloot's legal team subpoenaed the Obama campaign, which had run ads naming him as a major Republican donor. Apparently they believed we had somehow fed the campaign that information&mdash;never mind that our article, and the Federal Election Commission data that prompted it&mdash;was on the internet for anyone to read.</p> <p>When officials from the Obama campaign refused to turn over their records&mdash;offering to confirm under oath that there had been no communication between them and <em>Mother Jones</em>&mdash;VanderSloot's lawyers dragged them into court, resulting in the spectacle of a major GOP donor seeking access to the Democratic campaign's emails. His lawyers did the same thing to a political researcher who had gathered information on VanderSloot and who also had no connection to <em>Mother Jones</em>.</p> <p>This kind of legal onslaught is enormously taxing. Last year, Lowell Bergman, the legendary <em>60 Minutes</em> producer (whose story of exposing Big Tobacco was chronicled in the Oscar-nominated film <em>The Insider</em>), talked about a "<a href="" target="_blank">chill in the air</a>" as investigative reporters confront billionaires who can hurt a news organization profoundly whether or not they win in court: "There are individuals and institutions with very deep pockets and unaccountable private power who don't like the way we report. One example is a case involving <em>Mother Jones</em>&hellip;A superrich plaintiff is spending millions of dollars while he bleeds the magazine and ties up its staff."</p> <p>Litigation like this, Bergman said, is "being used to tame the press, to cause publishers and broadcasters to decide whether to stand up or stand down, to self-censor."</p> <p>Over the past three years, we've had to face that decision over and over again. Should we just cave in&mdash;retract our article or let VanderSloot get a judgment against us&mdash;and make this all go away? It wasn't an easy choice, but we decided to fight back. Because it's not just about us. It's about everyone who relies on <em>Mother Jones</em> to report the facts as we find them. It's about the Fourth Estate's check on those who would use their outsized influence and ability to finance political campaigns to control the direction of the country. It's about making sure that in a time when media is always under pressure to buckle to politicians or big-money interests, you can trust that someone will stand up and go after the truth.</p> <p>And it's about one more thing. Just a few years ago, no one thought that America could move so far, so fast, toward respecting the rights of gays and lesbians. No one thought that by 2015 same-sex couples would have a constitutional right to marry or, for that matter, that the Boy Scouts would rescind their ban against gay troop leaders and the Mormon Church would back them up. That happened because a lot of people stood up to threats and discrimination. They came out to their families and communities. They declared their love for everyone to see. They didn't let themselves be intimidated. Nor will we.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Postscript: In her <a href="" target="_blank">decision</a> Tuesday, the district court judge found in our favor on every single claim VanderSloot had made. She also included a passage expressing her own opinion of </em>Mother Jones<em>, and of political news coverage in general. For his part, Vandersloot issued a statement saying he had been "absolutely vindicated" and announced that he was setting up a $1 million fund to pay the legal expenses of people wanting to sue </em>Mother Jones<em> or other members of the "liberal press." We'll leave it with the <a href="" target="_blank">reaction</a> from our lawyer, <a href="" target="_blank">James Chadwick</a>: This was "a little like the LA Clippers claiming they won the NBA Finals. I think </em><em>everyone can see what's going on here." </em></p></body></html> Media Media Money in Politics The Right Thu, 08 Oct 2015 20:51:26 +0000 Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery 286386 at House Tea Partiers to the World: Burn, Baby, Burn. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Chaos, chaos, and chaos. Rep. Kevin McCarthy's withdrawal from the speaker's race <a href="" target="_blank">has caused disarray</a>&mdash;that is, <em>greater </em>disarray&mdash;within the House GOP conference. Hours after McCarthy's announcement, there was no word of what comes next. Who might jump in? Would a caretaker candidate emerge? How long could Speaker John Boehner stay in the job? And, it seemed, the House tea partiers who had somewhat caused this crisis&mdash;they had succeeded in driving Boehner from the job and had deemed McCarthy insufficiently conservative&mdash;were yearning for more chaos. The House Freedom Caucus, the tea party GOPers, put out this statement:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/freedom630.png"></div> <p>Note that last sentence: "The next Speaker needs to yield back power to the membership for the sake of both the institution and the country." In other words, we don't want a speaker who is going to try to govern in a time of divided government; we don't want a speaker who will endeavor to forge a compromise on behalf of the GOP conference and make the system work; and, as a government shutdown looms and a possible debt ceiling crisis approaches, we want a speaker who will step to the side and let the chaos reign. This is the congressional equivalent of "burn, baby, burn."</p></body></html> MoJo Congress Thu, 08 Oct 2015 20:45:35 +0000 David Corn 286551 at Let These Awesome Transgender Kids Show You What Their Lives Are Really Like <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Despite the strides made by the transgender community in recent years, the lives of transgender people remain largely out of sight, even taboo, for most people.</p> <p>With all the misinformation, and often hateful noise, still present in society over the issue, <a href="" target="_blank">one British documentary series</a> is telling the real life stories of transgender youth in hopes to shed an empathetic light on what life is actually like for people making the incredibly challenging, but brave journey.</p> <p>Take the story of 7-year-old Paddy from Leicester, England and her father, also named Paddy. The two engage in a simple, remarkable conversation about Paddy's decision to transition into a girl. Watch below:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>But as told by Paddy's mother, Lorna, the transition hasn't exactly been easy for many family members. No matter how supportive of their children's decision, the experience for everyone involved can still be a difficult one. In the clip below, Lorna reads aloud a poem to Paddy describing a caterpillar's choice to become a butterfly to help describe her complex feelings,</p> <p>"I loved and supported still wondering why, till the day my boy said goodbye," she reads. "Sometimes I miss my caterpillar boy, but my butterfly girl fills my heart with joy."</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>"My Transgender Kid" is a part of Channel 4 in Britain's <a href="" target="_blank">"Born in the Wrong Body" series</a>, which will continue in the coming weeks with different personal stories. Next up is "Girls to Men" and it will feature 21-year-old Jamie Raines' stunning, three-year photo project in which he took a selfie everyday of his transition. That video has already catapulted to the number one viewed video on YouTube.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> Mixed Media Film and TV Gay Rights Sex and Gender Thu, 08 Oct 2015 20:28:50 +0000 Inae Oh 286541 at The Not-So-Great Moments of One of the Guys Still Running for Speaker <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>When Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) <a href="" target="_blank">suddenly dropped out of the running</a> for House Speaker Thursday, it wasn't immediately clear who was the odds-on pick to succeed outgoing House Speaker John Boehner. But there were two contenders who remained in the race: Reps. Jason Chaffetz&nbsp;of Utah and Daniel Webster of Florida. And some eyes turned quickly&nbsp;to Utah's Jason Chaffetz, who is perhaps the more prominent of the pair and who chairs the&nbsp;House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.</p> <p>McCarthy's surprising self-defenestration, though, did not immediately boost&nbsp;Chaffetz's chances; other names were quickly&nbsp;floated by House Republicans and pundits. Yet the story of&nbsp;Chaffetz's rise from kicker on the Brigham Young University football team to a speaker <em>contender</em>&nbsp;is <a href="" target="_blank">an intriguing tale</a>, in which he has hit several rough spots.&nbsp;A small sampling:</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/politics/2015/10/chaffetz-speaker-mccarthy-gop-implosion"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Politics Congress The Right Thu, 08 Oct 2015 20:09:42 +0000 AJ Vicens 286511 at California Is About to Stop People From Pumping So Many Drugs Into Meat <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>After decades of ignoring a deadly problem, the Food and Drug Administration finally came out with <a href="" target="_blank">rules</a> restricting the meat industry's heavy reliance on antibiotics back in 2012. But the new regime had <a href="" target="_blank">two major flaws:</a> (1) It was voluntary, relying on the benevolence of two industries (pharmaceuticals and meat) with long records of lobbying hard for their own interests, and (2) it contained a loophole that allowed meat producers to maintain their old antibiotic habit if they so desired.</p> <p>Enter California, with new <a href="" target="_blank">legislation</a>&mdash;expected to be signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown any day now&mdash;that would retract those regulatory gifts from the state's teeming livestock farms.&nbsp;</p> <p>The bill would make California's regulation of animal antibiotic use more stringent than the federal government's simply because it's compulsory and not voluntary, according to Natural Resources Defense Council senior attorney Avinash Kar. But it also snaps shut the infamous "prevention" loophole in the FDA's policy, he adds.</p> <p>Antibiotics are used in three ways on factory livestock farms: (1) growth promotion&mdash;when animals get small daily doses of the the stuff, they grow faster; (2) disease prevention&mdash;animals stuffed together in stressful conditions are prone to infection, they pass diseases among themselves rapidly, and antibiotics provide a kind of pharmaceutical substitute for a natural robust immune system; and (3) disease treatment&mdash;an animal comes down with a bug and gets treated with antibiotics.</p> <p>The FDA's policy phases out growth promotion but leaves prevention intact&mdash;even though giving animals small daily doses of antibiotics to "prevent" disease is virtually indistinguishable from giving them small daily doses to promote growth. A 2014 <a href="" target="_blank">Pew analysis</a> found no fewer than 66 antibiotic products that the FDA allows to be used for "disease prevention" at levels that are "fully within the range of growth promotion dosages and with no limit on the duration of treatment." In other words, you change the language you use to describe the practice and continue giving your herd of 4,000 confined pigs the same old daily dose of antibiotics.</p> <p>The California bill, too, allows antibiotic use as "prophylaxis to address an elevated risk of contraction of a particular disease or infection," but it adds an important qualification, Kar points out: The drugs can't be used "in a regular pattern." In other words, no more daily, indiscriminate dosing based on some vague notion of "prevention." "We think this [the "regular pattern" language] puts serious restraint on the routine use of antibiotics," Kar said.</p> <p>The California law won't have an immediate&nbsp; impact on national policy, Kar said, but he pointed out that the bill's passage might embolden several other states with significant livestock production, including <a href="" target="_blank">Oregon</a> and Maryland, that are <a href="" target="_blank">considering similar legislation</a>. And California itself is a <a href=";location:US;year:2012" target="_blank">massive producer</a> of dairy, beef, and chicken.</p></body></html> Tom Philpott Food and Ag Thu, 08 Oct 2015 20:04:37 +0000 Tom Philpott 286526 at The Pharma Jerk We All Hated Last Month Still Hasn’t Dropped the Price of That Drug <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Two weeks ago, Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli promised to drop the price of Daraprim, a parasite-fighting drug, after <a href="" target="_blank">raising it</a> from $13.50 a tablet to $750 a tablet. But so far the price tag <a href="" target="_blank">hasn't budged</a>.</p> <p>Shkreli, a former hedge fund manager who acquired Turing in August, <a href="" target="_blank">first drew criticism</a> after a <em>USA Today</em> article <a href="" target="_blank">reported</a> the 5,000 percent price hike. He then told <a href="" target="_blank">ABC News</a> in September that the company would "lower the price of Daraprim to a point that is more affordable and is able to allow the company to make a profit, but a very small profit."</p> <p><em>Business Insider</em> <a href="" target="_blank">writes</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>That hasn't happened yet. <strong>A 30-day, 30-pill supply of Daraprim would cost me $27,006 at my local pharmacy.</strong></p> <p>That boils down to about $900 a pill, which includes the wholesale cost, along with specific pharmacy fees based on the zip code I gave the pharmacy.</p> <p>So while the price of the drug hasn't gotten any higher since Shkreli hiked it 5,000%, it hasn't gotten any lower since he promised to reduce it either. Turing did not respond to Business Insider's request for clarification about this price.</p> </blockquote></body></html> MoJo Health Care Pharma Science Thu, 08 Oct 2015 19:41:26 +0000 Madison Pauly 286546 at Ben Carson Links Gun Control to Hitler's Rise <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>As he defends a string of controversial <a href="" target="_blank">comments</a> he made in the wake of last week's mass shooting in Oregon, Ben Carson just keeps one-upping himself. Appearing on CNN on Thursday afternoon, Carson was questioned by Wolf Blitzer on a claim in his recent book, <em>A More Perfect Union</em>, in which he connects the rise of Hitler to gun control. "There were a number of countries where tyranny reigned,&nbsp;and before it happened, they disarmed the people," Carson said. "That was my point."&nbsp;</p> <p>When Blitzer&nbsp;pressed further and asked whether an absence of gun control laws in Europe would have saved six million Jews from being slaughtered, Carson responded: "I think the likelihood of Hitler&nbsp;being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed."</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Elections Guns Thu, 08 Oct 2015 19:23:36 +0000 Miles E. Johnson 286531 at Oops. Putin's Cruise Missiles Still Need a Little Work. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>I guess Vladimir Putin's cruise missiles <a href="" target="_blank">aren't quite as awesome as he thought:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Cruise missiles fired by Russia from warships in the Caspian Sea at targets in Syria crashed in a rural area of Iran, senior United States officials said on Thursday.</p> </blockquote> <p>Bummer, dude. Can we now have at least one day where we don't have to hear about how Russia's crappy military is going to upend everything in the Middle East and send the US scurrying for cover?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 08 Oct 2015 19:02:04 +0000 Kevin Drum 286536 at