MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/rss/blogs_and_articles/wp-login.phphttps%3A/motherjones.com/files/images/Adnkronos%20Internationalfavicon.ico http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en Fumes From Iowa Hog-Manure Pit Kill Father and Son http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2015/06/hog-cafo-fumes-deadly <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Here's <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2015/07/video-were-hog-producer-world-yay-usa" target="_blank">another reason</a> why Americans should think twice about how the United States is <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2015/07/bacon-jbs-cargill-pork" target="_blank">emerging as the globe's hog farm</a>: concentrating thousands of hogs in one place means concentrating huge amounts of their shit, too; and that shit puts off gases that are so noxious that they can kill people who work near them. Think I'm exaggerating? Get this, from the <a href="http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/money/agriculture/2015/07/28/iowa-father-son-die-manure-pit-fumes/30809037/" target="_blank"><em>Des Moines Register</em></a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>A father and his son who were so close that they were &ldquo;like glue&rdquo; were killed Saturday by noxious fumes from a northwest Iowa hog manure pit&mdash;the second father and son in the Midwest to die of poisonous manure pit gases this month.</p> </blockquote> <p>These large, indoor facilities confine hogs above their own waste on a slatted floor&mdash;the waste falls through the slats and collects in a pit below. An incredibly putrid aroma&mdash;I've smelled it&mdash;shrouds these facilities. The air <a href="http://www.ecochem.com/t_hoginfo.html" target="_blank">contains</a> hydrogen sulfide, methane, ammonia, carbon dioxide, and&nbsp;volatile organic compounds. Hogs can live above these poison-gas cesspools because giant fans keep the air moving. But when something goes wrong beneath the slats, workers have to venture into places where there is no effective ventilation. And that's what happened on this Iowa hog farm, to heartbreaking effect.</p> <blockquote> <p>The two were repairing a pump at a hog confinement when a piece of equipment they were using fell into the manure pit, Wempen [a relative] said. Austin Opheim went into the pit first to retrieve the equipment, and his father followed him after realizing his son had been overcome by gases, Wempen said. ...&nbsp; &ldquo;(Gene) was carrying Austin on his back and bringing him up and he got almost to the top and he got overcome, and down they went,&rdquo; she said.</p> </blockquote> <p>An <a href="http://www.thebullvine.com/news/wisconsin-father-and-son-died-after-falling-into-a-manure-pit-at-their-family-farm/" target="_blank">eerily similar father-son tragedy</a> occurred in Wisconsin earlier in July.</p> <p>Such disasters can usually be averted by donning proper breathing equipment when venturing beneath the slats. But in recent years, Midwestern hog facilities have been beset by a <a href="http://www.extension.org/pages/63144/manure-foaming#.VbqgA7c3wdt" target="_blank">mysterious foam</a> that settles at the surface of manure pits, which creates a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2013/05/menace-manure-foam-still-haunting-huge-hog-farms" target="_blank">buildup of volatile gases</a> that that has caused many explosions. Back in June, two workers at a Minnesota hog farm <a href="http://www.porknetwork.com/news/two-workers-killed-hog-barn-fire" target="_blank">died in a fire</a> that erupted after they had been cleaning the slats of an empty hog facility&mdash;<a href="http://www.porknetwork.com/community/brumm-speaks-out-safety-when-power-washing-above-foaming-pits" target="_blank">apparently the result</a> of "power-washing activities bursting the foam bubbles in the manure pit" below. And last year, <a href="http://www.porknetwork.com/news/two-workers-killed-hog-barn-fire" target="_blank">reports</a> the trade journal <em>Pork Network</em>, a "similar fire in<a href="http://www.porknetwork.com/pork-news/Former-IPPA-president-injured-in-hog-barn-fire-277243841.html" target="_blank"> Iowa severely burned Leon Sheets</a>, a past president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association, as he power-washed one of his hog barns."</p></body></html> Tom Philpott Food and Ag Thu, 30 Jul 2015 22:56:19 +0000 Tom Philpott 280991 at http://www.motherjones.com For a Week, Walter Palmer Is the Worst Human Being Ever in History http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/week-walter-palmer-worst-human-being-ever-history <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_lion.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Max Fisher argues that the social media jihad against Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who killed Cecil the lion, <a href="http://www.vox.com/2015/7/30/9074865/cecil-lion-palmer-mob-justice" target="_blank">is wildly out of control:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Web users uncovered Palmer's personal information, including about his family, and published it online. They went after his business, a private dental practice, posting thousands of negative reviews on Yelp and other sites. The practice has since shut down. Users also went after professional websites that host his profile, leading the sites to remove his information. On Twitter and on his practice's public Facebook page, people made threats of physical violence.</p> <p>....Maybe you loved Cecil the lion, and believe that Palmer deserves all of this suffering. Maybe you believe that his family and employees also deserve to have their livelihoods threatened. But even if you believe that this particular mob made the correct decision in both identifying the targets and meting out punishments, the way its members reached these decisions &mdash; arbitrarily, based on what they thought would feel good to punish &mdash; should worry you.</p> </blockquote> <p>Social media is, famously, decentralized. With a few exceptions, this means that every individual blast at Palmer is just that: one person getting something off their chest. The problem is that there's no governor on a decentralized attack like this, no one leading the charge. That means it can easily spiral into a lynch mob regardless of whether anyone meant it to in the first place.</p> <p>But mob justice, Fisher says perceptively, "is not primarily about punishing the crime or the criminal, but rather about indulging the outrage of the mob and its thirst for vengeance. Sometimes that leads the mob to target people who perhaps legitimately deserve punishment, but typically it does not. And there is no reason to expect it to. That's not what mobs are about." That's right. Too often, mob justice is flatly misdirected, and even when it's not, it's frequently far out of proportion to the offense.</p> <p>Before the internet, for example, if a university student said something stupid, it would cause a few days of distress among a smallish group of people. Lesson learned. Young people say dumb things all the time. Today, <a href="http://gawker.com/5527355/meet-stephanie-grace-the-harvard-law-student-who-started-a-racist-email-war" target="_blank">if the student is unlucky,</a> it becomes a social media virus. Within a few days the entire world knows about it and the student is a pariah. This is far out of proportion to the offense. And it's even worse, as Fisher says, when the outrage is misdirected completely, as in the case of Sunil Tripathi's family, which was terrorized for weeks after the Boston bombing by a mob convinced he had been a part of the plot&mdash;which supposedly explained why he had gone missing. But it turned out that his absence was actually explained by something else: he had committed suicide.</p> <p>Maybe Walter Palmer deserves what he's gotten, maybe he doesn't. But I doubt the internet mob actually cares. It's just a spectacle, and when they get bored they'll train their sights on whatever the next shiny object is. Maybe it's somebody or something that deserves the spotlight. Maybe it's not. Who cares, right? I mean, have you seen the asshole in that video?</p> <p>In the end, I suppose this is yet another plea to tone down the volume on outrage culture, which has lately defined the internet more than either porn or cat videos. It's what I used to jokingly call the "death penalty for parking tickets" problem. Unfortunately, it's not so much of a joke anymore, because it turns out that Andy Warhol was wrong. Everybody doesn't get 15 minutes of fame these days. Instead, each week some randomly chosen schmo gets an onslaught of withering, life-destroying shame&mdash;whether they deserve it or not. It's not really an improvement.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 30 Jul 2015 21:11:23 +0000 Kevin Drum 280971 at http://www.motherjones.com Good Job Saving Water, California! Now Don't Get Cocky. http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/07/california-drought-water-conservation-numbers <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>California's State Water Board announced some good news today: As the state's historic drought continues through its fifth hot summer, conservation efforts resulted in a reduction of urban water use of more than 59 billion gallons&mdash;six times the amount conserved during the same time last year&mdash;during the hottest June on record.</p> <p>These are the first monthly water conservation numbers to be released since Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order calling for <a href="http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/drought/docs/emergency_regulations/oal_approved_regs2015.pdf" target="_blank">emergency regulations</a> and a 25 percent reduction in urban water use across the state. The 27 percent saved in June exceeded his mandate, and Water Board officials say the state is now on track to meet its savings goal of 391 trillion gallons by February 2016. Officials are hopeful that they can maintain this conservation momentum in July and August, when water use tends to be highest, to offset the smaller savings usually seen in the autumn and winter months.</p> <p>Water Board officials attribute the success to efforts by most of the state's 409 water districts, the bodies that are in charge of allocating water to homes, businesses, farms, and other users. While 65 percent of water districts met conservation targets, the Water Board announced that it is starting to crack down on those that fell short.</p> <p>During a press conference, officials revealed plans to help districts cut back even further. Soon, they will require water districts to increase outreach and enforcement at local levels, reduce the number of days a week outdoor irrigation is allowed, increase audits for large properties, and enhance programs that provide rebates and incentives for conservation.</p> <p>The worst offenders&mdash;16 districts that were more than 15 percent behind on savings&mdash;could soon face fines between $500 and $10,000 a day, if they don't follow the Board's orders to reduce water use.</p></body></html> Environment Climate Change california drought Thu, 30 Jul 2015 21:05:17 +0000 Gabrielle Canon 280956 at http://www.motherjones.com Watch Activists Dangle Off a Portland Bridge to Block Shell's Arctic-Bound Ship http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/07/activists-dangle-portland-bridge-block-shell-arctic-ship <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Environmental activists have taken to <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/05/kayaktavistsv-take-over-seattles-elliott-bay-protest-shell-oil-rig" target="_blank">kayak</a>, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/06/shell-protestors-arctic-challenger-oil-drilling" target="_blank">chain</a>, and even <a href="https://twitter.com/strangerslog/status/608324008203964416" target="_blank">rocking chair</a> to slow down Royal Dutch Shell's <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/05/obama-just-gave-shell-green-light-drill-arctic" target="_blank">plans to drill for oil in the Arctic</a> this summer. For the past two days, they took their protest to a new extreme. Early Wednesday morning, around <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/29/activists-hang-from-bridge-portland-block-shells-arctic-oil-vessel" target="_blank">a dozen Greenpeace activists rappelled off a bridge</a> over the Willamette River in Portland, Ore. to stop a Shell ship stationed there for repairs from returning to the Arctic. This morning, it appears <a href="http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2015/07/greenpeace_protest_icebreaker.html#incart_gallery" target="_blank">they caused the ship to turn around</a> after it tried to rejoin Shell's fleet in the Arctic's Chukchi Sea.</p> <p>The ship, called the MSV Fennica, went all the way up to the Arctic only <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/13/us-usa-shell-arctic-idUSKCN0PN2IQ20150713" target="_blank">to find a 39-inch-long gash in its side</a>. The damage was so serious, the ship had to travel all the way back to Portland for repairs. The Fennica is an icebreaker, but also carries Shell's capping stack, needed to stop an underwater well leak; Shell can't begin its exploring until the Fennica and its equipment is back and functioning in the Arctic.</p> <p>In an effort to stop it from rejoining Shell's fleet in the Chukchi Sea, and delay the oil giant's drilling plans there, Greenpeace organized protestors to dangle from Portland's St. John's bridge and physically stop the ship from traveling down the Willamette River and back out to the Pacific. We reached out to Shell to confirm if the protestors have affected the Fennica's schedule, but have not heard back.</p> <p>Below, we collected some Twitter photos of the dramatic protest:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">The ship is headed towards us <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/shellno?src=hash">#shellno</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/youshellnotpass?src=hash">#youshellnotpass</a> <a href="http://t.co/oXs4jsQsBX">pic.twitter.com/oXs4jsQsBX</a></p> &mdash; Dan Cannon (@DanEnviroCannon) <a href="https://twitter.com/DanEnviroCannon/status/626748320958943232">July 30, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">The fennica is headed back to its dock where it belongs - not the arctic! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ShellNo?src=hash">#ShellNo</a> <a href="http://t.co/wCwByWhgHD">pic.twitter.com/wCwByWhgHD</a></p> &mdash; Dan Cannon (@DanEnviroCannon) <a href="https://twitter.com/DanEnviroCannon/status/626767619228471296">July 30, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">We have a beautiful view over the water. Supporters on the shore and in kayaks, and NO Fennica in sight. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ShellNo?src=hash">#ShellNo</a> <a href="http://t.co/JkJqD61bGh">pic.twitter.com/JkJqD61bGh</a></p> &mdash; Kristina N. Flores (@KristinaNFlores) <a href="https://twitter.com/KristinaNFlores/status/626789090738831360">July 30, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ShellNo?src=hash">#ShellNo</a> protesters cheer as the icebreaker backs down, turns around: <a href="http://t.co/YCFh5cFvxS">http://t.co/YCFh5cFvxS</a> <a href="http://t.co/h5mlh3BQb6">pic.twitter.com/h5mlh3BQb6</a></p> &mdash; The Seattle Times (@seattletimes) <a href="https://twitter.com/seattletimes/status/626774550823497728">July 30, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">These 13 folks are what stands between Shell and the Arctic. Many thanks for their courage and skill <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/shellno?src=hash">#shellno</a> <a href="http://t.co/ZzkyMQRfgO">pic.twitter.com/ZzkyMQRfgO</a></p> &mdash; Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) <a href="https://twitter.com/billmckibben/status/626495189742436352">July 29, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">.<a href="https://twitter.com/OregonGovBrown">@OregonGovBrown</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/MayorPDX">@MayorPDX</a> say <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ShellNo?src=hash">#ShellNo</a> to drilling in the Arctic and let the St Johns climbers stay! <a href="http://t.co/FHLuE7rjk4">http://t.co/FHLuE7rjk4</a></p> &mdash; Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) <a href="https://twitter.com/MarkRuffalo/status/626583774424354816">July 30, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Demonstrators hang from Portland bridge to block Shell ship <a href="http://t.co/6ha2pbJsO4">http://t.co/6ha2pbJsO4</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/KATUNews">@katunews</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ActOnClimate?src=hash">#ActOnClimate</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ShellNo?src=hash">#ShellNo</a> <a href="http://t.co/ubTXyn0xGk">pic.twitter.com/ubTXyn0xGk</a></p> &mdash; Pipe Up Network (@PipeUpNetwork) <a href="https://twitter.com/PipeUpNetwork/status/626782116596953088">July 30, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Shell's icebreaker was supposed to leave for the Arctic last night. Then <a href="https://twitter.com/greenpeaceusa">@GreenpeaceUSA</a> climbers said <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ShellNo?src=hash">#ShellNo</a>: <a href="http://t.co/Ygj6jsKXPe">pic.twitter.com/Ygj6jsKXPe</a></p> &mdash; 350 dot org (@350) <a href="https://twitter.com/350/status/626368250557919232">July 29, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></body></html> Blue Marble Climate Change Energy Thu, 30 Jul 2015 18:59:44 +0000 Luke Whelan 280966 at http://www.motherjones.com Here Are Some Photos of Rep. John Lewis Holding Some Adorable Puppies http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/07/john-lewis-puppies <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Shortly after commemorating the <a href="http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc-quick-cuts/watch/john-lewis--the-vote-is-almost-sacred-494198851513" target="_blank">50th anniversary</a> of the landmark Voting Rights Act on Thursday, Rep. John Lewis stopped by the ASPCA's Paws for Celebration event on Capitol Hill to meet some adorable puppies. Fortunately for the rest of us, cameras were present:</p> <center> <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); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script><div class="fb-post" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/RepJohnLewis/posts/10153411338078405" data-width="500"> <div class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore"> <blockquote cite="https://www.facebook.com/RepJohnLewis/posts/10153411338078405"> <p>It was good to spend a little time with the wonderful puppies that the ASPCA brought to Capitol Hill.</p> Posted by <a href="https://www.facebook.com/RepJohnLewis">John Lewis</a> on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/RepJohnLewis/posts/10153411338078405">Thursday, July 30, 2015</a></blockquote> </div> </div> </center> <p>That's right. It doesn't get much better than everyone's favorite congressman and iconic civil rights leader holding puppies.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Animals Congress Thu, 30 Jul 2015 18:42:48 +0000 Inae Oh 280961 at http://www.motherjones.com Homeland Security Is Tracking Black Lives Matter. Is That Legal? http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/homeland-security-surveillance-black-lives-matter <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Last Friday, the <em>Intercept </em><a href="https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/07/24/documents-show-department-homeland-security-monitoring-black-lives-matter-since-ferguson" style="line-height: 2em;" target="_blank">released</a> documents revealing that the Department of Homeland Security had been monitoring the Black Lives Matter movement since protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, last August. Emails obtained via the Freedom of Information Act showed that the department had tracked the movements of people at a Freddie Gray-related protest in Washington, DC, and had also monitored cultural events&nbsp;like DC's Annual Funk Parade and prayer vigils in predominately black neighborhoods nationwide. DHS also tracked hashtags and other social media associated with Black Lives Matter.</p> <p><a href="https://www.aclu.org/bio/nusrat-choudhury" target="_blank">Nusrat Choudhury</a>, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union's Racial Justice Program, says that while this type of surveillance may not be illegal, it may have significant chilling effects that do infringe on people's rights. "There's no question at all that the kind of mapping identified by the documents provided to <em>Intercept</em> chills people's First Amendment-protected activities," she says. "Of course it makes people feel afraid to go to these kinds of protests because of the impact it might have in terms of law enforcement's ability to gather intelligence about them." It may difficult to tell if this has happened, but, Choudhury says, "The line is drawn when that effect takes place."</p> <p>Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies have the legal authority to monitor people and activities in public places. This includes attending, observing, and taking notes on protest activities. However, collecting and storing personally identifiable information on specific individuals is not allowed, with the exception of people suspected of criminal activity. Monitoring tweets and other social media posts, including any geolocation information associated with those posts, is also legal.</p> <p>Asked for comment,&nbsp;DHS spokesperson S. Y. Lee told <em>Mother Jones</em> that the department's National Operating Center did monitor Black Lives Matter for "situational awareness purposes" to "ensure that critical information reaches appropriate decision-makers in federal, state, local, tribal and territorial governments." According to DHS <a href="http://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/privacy/PIAs/privacy_pia_ops_NOC%20MMC%20Update_April2013.pdf" target="_blank">documents,</a> the NOC's Social Media Monitoring and Situational Awareness program does not collect any personally identifiable information, and surveillance is conducted by searching certain hashtags and keywords on social media sites, not by watching particular personal user accounts.</p> <p>The ACLU is also concerned that the surveillance of Black Lives Matter could amount to racial profiling. "Because of the predominance of people of color in the Black Lives movement, and the evidence that some of these documents show government surveillance of innocuous cultural events, including <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2178942-10-2015-4-29-dc-hsema.html" target="_blank">music events</a> as well as <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2178934-1-2014-8-14-silent-vigil-alert-nmos14.html" target="_blank">peaceful protests</a> that take place in historically black neighborhoods, there's a serious concern that surveillance of Black Lives Matter and cultural events will lead to racial profiling," Choudhury says. The Department of Justice bans racial profiling by federal law enforcement agencies.</p> <p>The federal government's history of surveillance of black civil rights activists in the 1960s and 1970s also adds cause for concern, according to Choudhury. "We have these long-standing concerns that government has engaged in surveillance of people not because there's evidence of wrongdoing, but because of what they think, what they believe, and what their ideology is, as well as the color of their skin."</p> <p>Determining whether the DHS's monitoring of Black Lives Matter has had a chilling effect on individuals' First Amendment rights or a disparate impact on African-Americans would require identifying people whose social media posts were monitored and who attended protests that were watched, and ascertaining the effect of the surveillance on them. "But based on the kinds of things that people interviewed by <em>Intercept</em> were saying, there is real concern that the impact is there," Choudhury says.</p></body></html> Politics Civil Liberties Race and Ethnicity Top Stories Thu, 30 Jul 2015 17:48:10 +0000 Brandon Ellington Patterson 280916 at http://www.motherjones.com Will the Tea Party Shoot Itself in the Foot Yet Again? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/will-tea-party-shoot-itself-foot-yet-again <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Paul Waldman notes today that although Jeb Bush is substantively pretty conservative, his tone on the campaign trail has remained resolutely moderate and affable. Waldman explains how this leads to <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2015/07/30/maybe-jeb-bush-doesnt-have-to-pander-to-the-right-wing-after-all/" target="_blank">Bush winning the nomination:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>If you&rsquo;re Bush, your path to victory looks like this: Trump soaks up all the attention for a while, but eventually gets bored (and hasn&rsquo;t bothered to mount an actual campaign that can deliver votes), and either fades or just packs it in. <strong>Meanwhile, the conservative vote is split. Once the voting starts, the failing candidates will begin to fall away one by one. But by the time most of them are gone and their supporters have coalesced around a single candidate like Scott Walker, it&rsquo;s too late</strong> &mdash; Jeb has built his lead and is piling up delegates, <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/images/blog_tea_party_patriots.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">has all the money in the world, and can vanquish that last opponent on his way to the convention in Cleveland.</p> </blockquote> <p>In other words, a repeat of 2012, when all the hard-core conservatives split the tea party vote ten ways while Mitt Romney quietly vacuumed up the entire moderate vote. By the time Rick Santorum was the last tea partier standing, it was too late. Romney coasted to victory.</p> <p>This is the great conundrum of the tea-party wing of the Republican Party. What they <em>should</em> do is coalesce immediately around Scott Walker. He's the most plausible winner among the tea partiers, and if the race was basically between him and Bush from the start, there's a pretty good chance he could win. On the other hand, if he has to fight off a dozen challengers for months on end, it'll just be rerun of 2012. He'll get a share of the tea party vote, but it won't be nearly enough to fend off Bush, who will have his own share of the tea partiers plus the vast majority of the moderate wing of the GOP, which is disgusted that their party has been taken over by loons. There are still quite a few of those folks around.</p> <p>I guess this is where a smoke-filled room would come in handy. This is a classic collective action problem, but without party bosses who can step in and take charge, there's really no answer to it. The tea-party candidates keep thinking that they can run and win because there are so many tea partiers among the Republican primary electorate. Unfortunately, there are too many of them who think so. The end result is that they tear each other to shreds and end up with John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Jeb Bush. And then they whine and complain about how "the party" has betrayed the conservative cause yet again.</p> <p>This isn't inevitable, of course. It's possible that Walker or one of the other mean-boy candidates will break out and become the de facto tea party standard bearer. It's just not as likely as it should be. It's a shame the tea partiers can't get their act together, isn't it?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 30 Jul 2015 17:21:45 +0000 Kevin Drum 280951 at http://www.motherjones.com Georgia Is Illegally Segregating Students With Behavioral Problems. There's a Better Way. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/behavior-segregation-georgia-doj <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A US Department of Justice investigation has found that the state of Georgia is illegally segregating students with behavioral and emotional disabilities. The probe found&nbsp;not only that this sorting has resulted in an estimated 5,000 kids getting an inferior education&mdash;often in the same deteriorating buildings that were used during the Jim Crow days for black students&mdash;but that the segregated system limits the special education and behavioral resources available for students in integrated settings.</p> <p>According to <em><a href="https://www.propublica.org/article/georgia-is-segregating-troublesome-kids-in-schools-used-during-jim-crow" target="_blank">ProPublica</a>,&nbsp;</em>the DOJ sent Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and Attorney General Sam Olens a letter this month detailing its findings:</p> <blockquote> <p>In Georgia, schools were quick to move children out of mainstream classrooms, the Justice Department noted. In some cases, students were recommended for placement after a single incident or a string of minor incidents, such as using inappropriate language with a teacher. Parents reported feeling pressured into agreeing to the placements.</p> <p>In fact, many students who were placed in what's called the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support, for GNETS, didn't actually need to be there, the Justice Department said. Most could have stayed in their neighborhood schools if they'd been given more behavioral or mental-health support. "Nearly all students in the GNETS Program could receive services in more integrated settings, but do not have the opportunity to do," the letter said.</p> </blockquote> <p>The letter also explained how students began to feel like stigmatized&nbsp;"outcasts" after being placed in one of GNETS' 24 facilities:</p> <blockquote> <p>The negative effects of inappropriate segregation faced by students in the GNETS Program are readily apparent. One student in the GNETS Program stated, "school is like prison where I am in the weird class." He attributes this in large part to isolation and distance from other students in the general education community, as he does not have the opportunity to interact with these students during the school day. According to a number of other students we spoke with, the GNETS Program denies them some of the most basic elements of a typical childhood school experience.</p> </blockquote> <p>The arrangement set up by the state of Georgia, which is quick to label "problem" students,&nbsp;runs in direct contrast to the findings highlighted in <em>Mother Jones' </em>recent feature <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/05/schools-behavior-discipline-collaborative-proactive-solutions-ross-greene" target="_blank"><em>What If Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong?</em></a><em> </em>Reporter Katherine Reynolds Lewis focused on psychologist Ross Greene's Collaborative Proactive Solutions method, which has teachers, parents, and administrators problem solve with students instead of jumping into punishment mode.</p> <blockquote> <p>The CPS method hinges on training school (or prison or psych clinic) staff to nurture strong relationships&mdash;especially with the most disruptive kids&mdash;and to give kids a central role in solving their own problems. For instance, a teacher might see a challenging child dawdling on a worksheet and assume he's being defiant, when in fact the kid is just hungry. A snack solves the problem. Before CPS, "we spent a lot of time trying to diagnose children by talking to each other," Principal Nina D'Aran says. "Now we're talking to the child and really believing the child when they say what the problems are."</p> <p>The next step is to identify each student's challenges&mdash;transitioning from recess to class, keeping his hands to himself, sitting with the group&mdash;and tackle them one at a time. For example, a child might act out because he felt that too many people were "looking at him in the circle." The solution? "He might come up with the idea of sitting in the back of the room and listening," D'Aran says. The teachers and the student would come up with a plan to slowly get him more involved.</p> </blockquote> <p>D'Aran's school in Maine began implementing CPS in 2011. Prior, kids were referred to the principal's office for discipline 146 times, and two were suspended. After CPS was introduced, the number of referrals dropped to 45, and there were zero suspensions.</p> <p>It is important to note that the school where D'Aran works is predominantly white. A study <a href="http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-07/ps-swh072215.php" target="_blank">released this month</a> in the journal <em>Sociology of Education</em> found that black students who misbehave are more likely to be punished with expulsion, suspension,&nbsp;or referral&nbsp;to law enforcement, while their white peers who engage in the same actions&nbsp;are more likely to receive special education services or psychological treatment. This trend is apparent in the demographic breakdown within the GNETS program. Take, for example, the public school district in Madison County, Ga.: In 2011, the last time the Department of Education collected data, black students made up <a href="http://ocrdata.ed.gov/Page?t=d&amp;eid=28941&amp;syk=6&amp;pid=736" target="_blank">less than 10 percent</a> of the district's student body, but they comprised <a href="http://ocrdata.ed.gov/Page?t=s&amp;eid=531594&amp;syk=6&amp;pid=732" target="_blank">48 percent</a> of the student body at Rutland Psychoeducational Program, the GNETS facility within that district. Programs like CPS indicate shifts in school discipline are happening&mdash;it's now about getting those practices into high-minority, disadvantaged districts, environments where the school-to-prison pipeline is a real threat.</p> <p>"We know if we keep doing what isn't working for those kids, we lose them," Greene explained to Reynolds Lewis. "Eventually there's this whole population of kids we refer to as overcorrected, overdirected, and overpunished. Anyone who works with kids who are behaviorally challenging knows these kids: They've habituated to punishment."</p></body></html> Politics Civil Liberties Crime and Justice Education Thu, 30 Jul 2015 17:10:14 +0000 Allie Gross 280926 at http://www.motherjones.com The State Department Is About to Ruin Reporters' Weekend Plans With Another Clinton Email Dump http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/state-department-releasing-more-hillary-clinton-emails <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Are you a reporter working the Hillary Clinton beat? Hope you didn't have plans for Friday evening, because chances are you'll be spending a late night at the office going through thousands of new Clinton emails on the US State Department's clunky Freedom of Information Act&nbsp;site. The agency confirmed to <em>Mother Jones </em>that the next batch of emails from her time as&nbsp;secretary of state is due to be released tomorrow. Subsequent batches will be released on the last business day of the month.</p> <p>The emails slated for release are part of the more than 55,000 pages of correspondence that the Democratic presidential candidate <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/wp/2015/03/10/hillary-clintons-emails-a-timeline-of-actions-and-regulations/" target="_blank">turned over to the State Department</a> and that had been stored on <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/03/hillary-clinton-state-department-emails" target="_blank">her private email server</a>. A <a href="http://www.usnews.com/http:/admin.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2015/05/19/state-dept-plans-release-of-clinton-emails-by-next-january2016" target="_blank">federal judge ruled</a> in May that the agency had to make the emails public on a rolling basis as it vetted them for sensitive information&nbsp;instead of releasing the whole trove of messages in January 2016, as the agency had originally proposed. Shortly after the ruling, about <a href="http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/data-mine/2015/05/22/see-the-private-emails-hillary-clinton-sent-on-benghazi" target="_blank">300 emails were released in May</a>, and another <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/documents/2153986-hillary-clinton-emails" target="_blank">1,900 were released</a> at the end of June.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/politics/2015/07/state-department-releasing-more-hillary-clinton-emails"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Politics 2016 Elections Hillary Clinton Top Stories Thu, 30 Jul 2015 16:49:26 +0000 AJ Vicens 280906 at http://www.motherjones.com Police Shootings Won't Stop Unless We Also Stop Shaking Down Black People http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/police-shootings-traffic-stops-excessive-fines <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In April, several days after North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer Michael Slager stopped <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/09/us/former-south-carolina-officer-is-indicted-in-death-of-walter-scott.html?_r=1" target="_blank">Walter Scott</a> for a busted taillight and then fatally shot him, the usual cable-news transmogrification of victim into superpredator ran into problems. The <a href="http://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2015/04/09/tsr-dash-cam-walter-scott-police-shooting.cnn" target="_blank">dash cam</a> showed Scott being pulled over while traveling at a nerdy rate of speed, using his left turn signal to pull into a parking lot and having an amiable conversation with Slager until he realized he'd probably get popped for nonpayment of child support. At which point he bolted out of the car and hobbled off. Slager then shot him. Why didn't the cop just jog up and grab him? Calling what the obese 50-year-old Scott was doing "running" really stretches the bounds of literary license.</p> <p>But maybe the question to ask is: Why did Scott run? The answer came when the <em>New York Times</em> <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/20/us/skip-child-support-go-to-jail-lose-job-repeat.html" target="_blank">revealed</a> Scott to be a man of modest means trapped in an exhausting hamster wheel: He would get a low-paying job, make some child support payments, fall behind on them, get fined, miss a payment, get jailed for a few weeks, lose that job due to absence, and then start over at a lower-paying job. From all apparent evidence, he was a decent schlub trying to make things work in a system engineered to make his life miserable and recast his best efforts as criminal behavior.</p> <p></p><div id="mininav" class="inline-subnav"> <!-- header content --> <div id="mininav-header-content"> <div id="mininav-header-image"> <img src="/files/images/motherjones_mininav/millionsmarchcrop.jpg" width="220" border="0"></div> <div id="mininav-header-text"> <p class="mininav-header-text" style="margin: 0; padding: 0.75em; font-size: 11px; font-weight: bold; line-height: 1.2em; background-color: rgb(221, 221, 221);"> More MoJo coverage on policing: </p> </div> </div> <!-- linked stories --> <div id="mininav-linked-stories"> <ul><span id="linked-story-280151"> <li><a href="/politics/2015/07/sandra-bland-police-dash-cam-video-texas"> Video Shows Arrest of Sandra Bland Prior to Her Death in Texas Jail</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-277586"> <li><a href="/politics/2015/06/tamir-rice-police-killing-911-call-investigation"> How Cleveland Police May Have Botched a 911 Call Just Before Killing Tamir Rice</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-279731"> <li><a href="/politics/2015/07/native-americans-getting-shot-police"> Native Americans Get Shot By Cops at an Astonishing Rate</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-275231"> <li><a href="/politics/2015/05/police-shootings-caught-on-tape-video"> Here Are 13 Killings by Police Captured on Video in the Past Year</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-273291"> <li><a href="/mojo/2015/04/walter-scott-michael-slager"> The Walter Scott Shooting Video Shows Why Police Accounts Are Hard to Trust</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-275306"> <li><a href="/politics/2015/05/tamir-rice-investigation-cleveland-police"> It&acirc;&#128;&#153;s Been 6 Months Since Tamir Rice Died, and the Cop Who Killed Him Still Hasn't Been Questioned</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-258221"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/08/police-shootings-michael-brown-ferguson-black-men"> Exactly How Often Do Police Shoot Unarmed Black Men?</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-268206"> <li><a href="/politics/2015/01/police-misconduct-payments-eric-garner-nypd"> The Cop Who Choked Eric Garner to Death Won't Pay a Dime</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-275796"> <li><a href="/politics/2015/05/tanisha-anderson-killing-cleveland-police"> A Mentally Ill Woman's "Sudden Death" at the Hands of Cleveland Police</a></li> </span> </ul></div> <!-- footer content --> </div> <p>Recently, two more deaths of African Americans that have blown up in the media follow a pattern similar to Scott's. <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/texas-waller-county-sandra-bland-racial-tensions" target="_blank">Sandra Bland</a> in Texas and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/video-shows-police-shooting-samuel-dubose" target="_blank">Samuel DuBose</a> in Cincinnati were each stopped for minor traffic infractions (failing to use turn signal, missing front license plate), followed by immediate escalation by the officer into rage, and then an official story that is obviously <a href="http://gawker.com/video-of-sam-duboses-death-drastically-different-from-t-1720896658" target="_blank">contradicted</a> by the video (that the officer tried to "de-escalate" the tension with Bland; that the officer was dragged by DuBose's car). In both cases, the perpetrator of a minor traffic offense died.</p> <p>When incidents of police violence come to light, the usual defense is that we should not tarnish all the good cops just because of "a few bad apples." No one can argue with that. But what is usually implied in that phrase is that the "bad" officers' intentions are malevolent&mdash;that they are morally corrupt and racist. And that may be true, but they are also bad in the job-performance sense. These men are crummy cops, sometimes profoundly so. Slager had a <span style="background-color:#FFFF00;">record</span> for gratuitously using his Taser. Timothy Leohmann, who leapt from his car and instantly killed 12-year-old <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cleveland-officer-shot-tamir-rice-within-seconds-of-pulling-up-in-patrol-car/" target="_blank">Tamir Rice</a>, had been <span style="background-color:#FFFF00;">deemed</span> "weepy" and unable to "emotionally function" by a supervisor at his previous PD job, who added: "I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change or correct these deficiencies." Ferguson's Darren Wilson was also <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/darren-wilsons-first-job-was-on-a-troubled-police-force-disbanded-by-authorities/2014/08/23/1ac796f0-2a45-11e4-8593-da634b334390_story.html" target="_blank">fired</a> from his previous job&mdash;actually, the entire police force of Jennings, Missouri, was disbanded for being awful.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/politics/2015/07/police-shootings-traffic-stops-excessive-fines"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Politics Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity Top Stories police Thu, 30 Jul 2015 16:11:03 +0000 Jack Hitt 280321 at http://www.motherjones.com