MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/rss/blogs_and_articles/wp-login.php/sites/all/modules http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en Friday Cat Blogging - 27 March 2015 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/03/friday-cat-blogging-27-march-2015 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Today I get to spend six hours in a chair getting Cytoxin pumped into my body. So this is it. No more tests or consults. This is the first actual step in the second stage of my chemotherapy. Following this infusion, I will spend a week injecting myself with a drug that (a) stimulates white blood cell production and (b) will apparently make me feel like I have the flu. Next, I spend a week in LA sitting in a chair several hours a day while they extract stem cells from my body. Then a week of rest and then the stem cell transplant itself, which will put me out of commission for a minimum of three weeks.</p> <p>So no blogging today. Next week is iffy. Probably nothing much the week after that either. Then maybe some blogging during my rest week. And then I'll go offline probably completely for a month or so. It all depends on just how quickly I recover from the transplant. We'll see.</p> <p>In the meantime, here are Hopper and Hilbert, hale and hearty as ever. Have a nice weekend, everyone.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hilbert_hopper_2015_03_27.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 60px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 27 Mar 2015 16:00:10 +0000 Kevin Drum 272456 at http://www.motherjones.com Harry Reid Announces His Retirement http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/harry-reid-announces-his-retirement <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><strong>Update, 12:26 p.m.:</strong> Shortly after announcing his retirement, Reid <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/03/27/harry-reid-endorses-chuck-schumer-to-succeed-him-as-senate-minority-leader/" target="_blank">endorsed</a> Sen. Chuck&nbsp;Schumer (D-N.Y.) to replace him. "I think Schumer should be able to succeed me,&rdquo; he told the <em>Washington Post</em> in an interview at his DC residence.&nbsp;</p> <p>Senate Minority&nbsp;Leader Harry Reid <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/28/us/politics/senator-harry-reid-retire.html?smid=tw-bna" target="_blank">announced on Friday </a>he will not be seeking reelection when his term comes to an end next year. He announced his retirement in a YouTube video:</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>My life&rsquo;s work has been to make Nevada and our nation better. Thank you for giving me that wonderful opportunity. <a href="https://t.co/dwy2rDWYhO">https://t.co/dwy2rDWYhO</a></p> &mdash; Senator Harry Reid (@SenatorReid) <a href="https://twitter.com/SenatorReid/status/581422891285245952">March 27, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>The decision to retire, the 75-year-old senator from Nevada said, "has absolutely nothing to do" with the injury he sustained back in January from an exercising accident or his new role as minority leader following the Democrats' loss during the midterm elections. In an interview with the <em>New York Times</em> <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/28/us/politics/senator-harry-reid-retire.html?smid=tw-bna" target="_blank">he explained</a>, "I want to be able to go out at the top of my game. I don&rsquo;t want to be a 42-year-old trying to become a designated hitter."</p> <p>In the video, Reid continues with a message to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, "Don't be too elated. I'm going to be here for 22 more months, and you know what I'm going to be doing? The same thing I've done since I first came to the Senate. We have to make sure the Democrats take control of the Senate again."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Video Congress Elections Fri, 27 Mar 2015 12:21:47 +0000 Inae Oh 272486 at http://www.motherjones.com We Could Stop Global Warming With This Fix—But It's Probably a Terrible Idea http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/03/geoengineering-caldeira-climate-change <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="Mount Pinatubo" class="image" src="/files/pinatubo630.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Mount Pinatubo erupting in 1991 </strong>Bullit Marquez/AP</div> </div> <p>Back in the late 1990s, Ken Caldeira set out to disprove the "ludicrous" idea that we could reverse global warming by filling the sky with chemicals that would partially block the sun. A few years earlier, <a href="http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/1997/fs113-97/" target="_blank">Mount Pinatubo</a> had erupted&nbsp;in the Philippines, sending tiny sulfate particles&mdash;known as aerosols&mdash;into the stratosphere, where they reflected sunlight back into space and <a href="http://pubs.usgs.gov/pinatubo/self/">temporarily cooled the planet</a>. Some scientists believed that an artificial version of this process could be used to cancel out the warming effect of greenhouse gases.</p> <p>"Our original goal was to show that it was a crazy idea and wouldn't work," says Caldeira, who at the time was a climate scientist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. But when Caldeira and a colleague ran a model to test out this geoengineering scenario, they were shocked by what they found. "Much to our surprise, it worked really well," he recalls. "Our results indicate that geoengineering schemes could markedly diminish regional and seasonal climate change from increased atmospheric CO<sub>2</sub>," they wrote in a <a href="http://www.agci.org/dB/PDFs/03S2_KCaldeira_geoengineering.pdf">2000 paper</a>.</p> <p>You might think that the volume of aerosols needed to increase the Earth's reflectivity (known as albedo) enough to halt global climate change would be enormous. But speaking to Kishore Hari on this week's <em>Inquiring Minds </em>podcast, Caldeira explains that "if you had just one firehose-worth of material constantly spraying into the stratosphere, that would be enough to offset all of the global warming anticipated for the rest of this century."</p> <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F197904675" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>So does Caldeira think it's time to start blasting aerosols into the air? Nope. "It's a funny situation that I feel like I'm in," he says. "Most of our published results show that it would actually work quite well, but personally I think it would be a crazy thing to do." He thinks there's just too much risk.</p> <p>Caldeira, now a&nbsp;climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science, recently contributed to a massive National Academy of Sciences report examining various geoengineering proposals. The report concluded that technologies to block solar radiation "should not be deployed at this time" and warned that "there is significant potential for unanticipated, unmanageable, and regrettable consequences in multiple human dimensions&hellip;including political, social, legal, economic, and ethical dimensions." As my colleague Tim McDonnell <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/02/scientists-geoengineering-climate-bad-idea">explained</a> back when the NAS study was released:</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;">Albedo modification would [use] airplanes or rockets to deliver loads of sulfate aerosols into the stratosphere, where they would bounce sunlight back into space. But if the technology is straightforward, the consequences are anything but.</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;">The aerosols fall out of the air after a matter of years, so they would need to be continually replaced. And if we continued to burn fossil fuels, ever more aerosols would be needed to offset the warming from the additional CO<sub>2</sub>. [University of California-San Diego scientist Lynn] Russell said that artificially blocking sunlight would have unknown consequences for photosynthesis by plants and phytoplankton, and that high concentrations of sulfate aerosols could produce acid rain. Moreover, if we one day suddenly ceased an albedo modification program, it could cause rapid global warming as the climate adjusts to all the built-up CO<sub>2</sub>. For these reasons, the report warns that it would be "irrational and irresponsible to implement sustained albedo modification without also pursuing emissions mitigation, carbon dioxide removal, or both."</p> <p>Still, the NAS report called for further research into albedo modification, just in case we one day reach a point where we seriously consider it.</p> <p>Caldeira hopes it never comes to that. Like most other advocates of geoengineering research, he'd much rather stave off global warming by drastically cutting carbon emissions. In fact, he calls for a target of zero emissions. But he doesn't have much faith in politicians or in legislative fixes like carbon taxes or cap and trade. "The only way it's really going to happen," he says, "is if there's a change in the social norms." Caldeira envisions a world in which it's socially unacceptable for power companies to "use the sky as a waste dump."</p> <p>And if that doesn't work out?</p> <p>Caldeira points out that if we keep emitting huge amounts of CO<sub>2</sub>, temperatures are going to keep rising. That could lead to <a href="http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2010/10/crop-failures-climate-change/1#.VRS0rfmjOm4" target="_blank">increased crop failures</a> and possibly even "widespread famines with millions of people dying." In that type of hypothetical crisis, he says, "there's really only one way known to cool the planet on a politically relevant timescale"&mdash;aerosols. "So I think it's worth understanding it now," he adds. "At some point in the future it could make sense to do. I hope we don't get to that state, but it's possible."</p> <p><em>To hear the full interview with Ken Caldeira, stream below:</em></p> <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F197904675" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p name="b990"><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/inquiring-minds" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Inquiring Minds</a><em> is a podcast hosted by neuroscientist and musician Indre Viskontas and Kishore Hari, the director of the Bay Area Science Festival. To catch future shows right when they are released, subscribe to </em>Inquiring Minds <em>via </em><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/inquiring-minds/id711675943" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><em>iTunes</em></a><em> or</em> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/inquiring-minds" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><em>RSS</em></a><em>. </em><em>You can follow the show on Twitter at </em><a href="https://twitter.com/inquiringshow" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><em>@inquiringshow</em></a><em> and </em><a href="https://www.facebook.com/inquiringmindspodcast" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><em>like us on Facebook</em></a><em>.</em></p></body></html> Environment Podcasts Climate Change Climate Desk Energy Science Top Stories Infrastructure Inquiring Minds Fri, 27 Mar 2015 10:30:05 +0000 Jeremy Schulman 272471 at http://www.motherjones.com Jeremy Piven Wants You to Know That He's Not an Asshole http://www.motherjones.com/media/2015/03/jeremy-piven-ari-gold-masterpiece-selfridge-season-3-entourage-movie <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Jeremy Piven wants you to know he's boring. Or, rather, he's nothing like Ari Gold, the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzFQrZxGROU" target="_blank">brash, utterly tactless</a>, yet somehow likable Hollywood agent he portrayed over eight seasons of HBO's <em>Entourage</em>&mdash;racking up three Emmys and a Golden Globe for best supporting actor.</p> <p>Piven grew up a long way from Tinseltown. His parents were founding members of Chicago's Playwrights Theatre Club&mdash;which spawned famed improv troupe the Second City&mdash;and the <a href="http://piventheatre.org/" target="_blank">Piven Theatre Workshop</a>, whose well-known alumni include <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000131/?ref_=nv_sr_1" target="_blank">the</a> <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000349/?ref_=nv_sr_2" target="_blank">Cusack</a> <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0193639/?ref_=nm_ov_bio_lk4" target="_blank">siblings</a>, <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001644/?ref_=nv_sr_1" target="_blank">Aidan Quinn</a>, <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000666/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1" target="_blank">Lili Taylor</a>, and Piven himself. After earning a theater degree at Iowa's Drake University, Piven, now 49, landed a series of small comedic parts in film and television, including serial gigs on <em>Ellen</em> and <em>The Larry Sanders Show</em>. But it was <em>Entourage</em>, inspired by the Hollywood escapades of executive producer <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000242/" target="_blank">Mark Wahlberg</a>, that made him famous.</p> <p>He reprises the Ari role in the <a href="http://entouragemovie.com/" target="_blank"><em>Entourage</em> movie</a>, which hits theaters on June 5. But his main post-<em>Entourage</em> gig has been the Masterpiece drama <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/programs/series/mr-selfridge/" target="_blank"><em>Mr. Selfridge</em></a>, whose third season kicks off Sunday on PBS. For his leading role as a department store visionary, Piven had to summon his anti-Ari. "Ari Gold was all bark and no bite," he told me. "Harry Selfridge is all bite and no bark."</p> <p><strong>Mother Jones:</strong> Do you think the <em>Entourage</em> movie will appeal to people who've never watched the show?</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/media/2015/03/jeremy-piven-ari-gold-masterpiece-selfridge-season-3-entourage-movie"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Media Interview Film and TV Top Stories Fri, 27 Mar 2015 10:20:06 +0000 Michael Mechanic 272326 at http://www.motherjones.com When Jeb Met Jeb: The Tragic True Story of a Governor and a Manatee http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/03/jeb-bush-florida-manatees <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>It was the kind of feel-good photo op that campaigns love: A manatee nursed back to health from the brink of death and now set to be released back into the wild. And a GOP gubernatorial candidate seeking to show voters his softer side. As if in some made-for-TV movie, the manatee and the politician even shared the same name: Jeb.</p> <p>Jeb the manatee was rescued on March 23, 1998, having ventured too far north from the temperate waters of South Florida where these mammals thrive. The nine-foot-long, half-ton manatee was scarred with lesions comparable to severe frostbite injuries in humans, and he appeared to have sustained injuries from watercraft. He was quickly transported to SeaWorld Orlando to recover.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/politics/2015/03/jeb-bush-florida-manatees"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Politics 2016 Elections Animals Top Stories Fri, 27 Mar 2015 10:00:13 +0000 Sam Brodey 272361 at http://www.motherjones.com NYC Building Collapse Was Probably Gas-Related http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/03/fire-explosion-rocks-new-york-city-building-injures-least-12 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><br><em>Update: The&nbsp;</em><a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/explosion-shreds-east-village-restaurant-article-1.2163547" target="_blank">New York Daily News&nbsp;</a><em><a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/explosion-shreds-east-village-restaurant-article-1.2163547" target="_blank">reports</a> that at least two people are missing, as firefighters continue to contain the fire. The&nbsp;injury toll <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/28/nyregion/east-village-explosion.html?hp&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;module=second-column-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news&amp;gwh=8E806050D6F710E6052633308BF142D5&amp;gwt=pay&amp;assetType=nyt_now" target="_blank">has risen</a> to at least 19, with four people in critical condition.&nbsp;</em></p> <p>An apparent gas&nbsp;explosion&nbsp;caused two New York City buildings to collapse on Thursday,&nbsp;injuring at least a dozen people, with at least three in critical condition.&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BREAKING?src=hash">#BREAKING</a>: Aerial view of building collapse <a href="https://twitter.com/NYPD9Pct">@NYPD9Pct</a>. Numerous rescue units on scene <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SOD?src=hash">#SOD</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ESU?src=hash">#ESU</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/K9?src=hash">#K9</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Aviation?src=hash">#Aviation</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FD?src=hash">#FD</a> <a href="http://t.co/d9iX4GOBUd">pic.twitter.com/d9iX4GOBUd</a></p> &mdash; NYPD Special Ops (@NYPDSpecialops) <a href="https://twitter.com/NYPDSpecialops/status/581190581264781312">March 26, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Fire crews first responded to calls of a building collapse at 3:17&nbsp;p.m.&nbsp;on Second Avenue near Seventh Street in Manhattan. Less than an hour later,&nbsp;about 250 firefighters rushed to the scene&nbsp;as the fire&nbsp;upgraded to a seven-alarm blaze. Two other buildings were damaged in the fire, and at least one of them is at risk of collapsing. Thursday's blast comes a year after a gas explosion destroyed two buildings in&nbsp;East Harlem and left&nbsp;eight people&nbsp;dead. National Transportation Safety Board investigators later found a&nbsp;crack in the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/03/how-dangerous-are-gas-pipes-under-your-city" target="_blank">city's aging&nbsp;gas pipeline</a>&nbsp;near one of the buildings.&nbsp;</p> <p>New York City Mayor Bill de&nbsp;Blasio&nbsp;said in a press conference with reporters&nbsp;that preliminary findings suggest the explosion may have been caused by plumbing and gas work.&nbsp;He <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/26/us-usa-new-york-collapse-idUSKBN0MM2Q320150326" target="_blank">added</a> that Con Edison inspectors arrived at the site more than an hour before the blast to examine private&nbsp;gas work being done at one of the buildings, but found the work had&nbsp;not passed inspection.&nbsp;No gas leaks were reported before the explosion.&nbsp;A Con Edison spokesperson <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/27/nyregion/reports-of-explosion-in-east-village.html?smid=tw-share" target="_blank">told the <em>New York Times</em></a> a few of the buildings on Second Avenue had been "undergoing renovations" since August. The gas and electric utility company planned to&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/ConEdison/status/581198290982735872" target="_blank">shut down gas</a> in the area.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BREAKING?src=hash">#BREAKING</a>: 2nd Ave - 7th Street - Building collapse <a href="https://twitter.com/NYPD9Pct">@NYPD9Pct</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SOD?src=hash">#SOD</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ESU?src=hash">#ESU</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/K9?src=hash">#K9</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Aviation?src=hash">#Aviation</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FD?src=hash">#FD</a> <a href="http://t.co/HoWmtfWKeW">pic.twitter.com/HoWmtfWKeW</a></p> &mdash; NYPD Special Ops (@NYPDSpecialops) <a href="https://twitter.com/NYPDSpecialops/status/581195595525787649">March 26, 2015</a></blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>There was just an explosion on 2nd avenue and 7th street east village <a href="http://t.co/jvSbfdCSSe">pic.twitter.com/jvSbfdCSSe</a></p> &mdash; Jonathan (@jmeyers44) <a href="https://twitter.com/jmeyers44/status/581174906886483968">March 26, 2015</a></blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en">&nbsp;</blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ni3AbVczh6I" width="630"></iframe></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"> <p>"We are praying that no other individuals are found injured and that there are no fatalities." -<a href="https://twitter.com/BilldeBlasio">@BilldeBlasio</a></p> &mdash; Erin Durkin (@erinmdurkin) <a href="https://twitter.com/erinmdurkin/status/581208690361049088">March 26, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"> <p>12 injured, 3 critical in building explosion in Manhattan, NYC Mayor <a href="https://twitter.com/BilldeBlasio">@BilldeBlasio</a> says <a href="http://t.co/EwIbVNBJ9D">pic.twitter.com/EwIbVNBJ9D</a></p> &mdash; Dan Linden (@DanLinden) <a href="https://twitter.com/DanLinden/status/581208736556969984">March 26, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>We'll continue to update as we learn more.&nbsp;</p></body></html> Environment Energy Top Stories Infrastructure Thu, 26 Mar 2015 23:16:11 +0000 Edwin Rios 272466 at http://www.motherjones.com Yes There's a Bush and a Clinton, but the 2016 Elections Represent Something Scary and New http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/03/five-signs-americas-rising-plutocratic-class-bush-clinton%20 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><em>This <a href="http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175970/" target="_blank">story</a> first appeared on the </em><a href="http://www.tomdispatch.com/" target="_blank">TomDispatch</a><em> website.</em></p> <p><a href="http://www.tomdispatch.com" target="_blank"><span class="inline inline-left"><img alt="" class="image image-preview" height="33" src="http://motherjones.com/files/images/tdispatch-notch.jpg" title="" width="100"></span></a></p> <p>Have you ever undertaken some task you felt less than qualified for, but knew that someone needed to do? Consider this piece my version of that, and let me put what I do understand about it in a nutshell: based on developments in our post-9/11 world, we could be watching the birth of a new American political system and way of governing for which, as yet, we have no name.</p> <p>And here's what I find strange: the evidence of this, however inchoate, is all around us and yet it's as if we can't bear to take it in or make sense of it or even say that it might be so.</p> <p>Let me make my case, however minimally, based on five areas in which at least the faint outlines of that new system seem to be emerging: political campaigns and elections; the privatization of Washington through the marriage of the corporation and the state; the de-legitimization of our traditional system of governance; the empowerment of the national security state as an untouchable fourth branch of government; and the demobilization of "we the people."</p> <p>Whatever this may add up to, it seems to be based, at least in part, on the increasing concentration of wealth and power in a new plutocratic class and in that ever-expanding national security state. Certainly, something out of the ordinary is underway, and yet its birth pangs, while widely reported, are generally categorized as aspects of an exceedingly familiar American system somewhat in disarray.</p> <p><br><strong>1. 1 percent Elections</strong></p> <p>Check out the news about the 2016 presidential election and you'll quickly feel a sense of been-there, done-that. As a start, the two names most associated with it, Bush and Clinton, couldn't be more familiar, highlighting as they do the curiously dynastic quality of recent presidential contests.&nbsp; (If a Bush or Clinton should win in 2016 and again in 2020, a member of one of those families will have controlled the presidency for <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-no-freshness-in-our-2016-presidential-contest/2015/01/16/f7c4c310-9d8c-11e4-96cc-e858eba91ced_story.html">28 of the last 36</a> years.)</p> <p>Take, for instance, "Why 2016 Is Likely to Become a Close Race," a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/10/upshot/hillary-clinton-is-more-vulnerable-in-2016-than-you-think.html">recent piece</a> Nate Cohn wrote for my hometown paper.&nbsp; A noted election statistician, Cohn points out that, despite Hillary Clinton's historically staggering lead in Democratic primary polls (and lack of serious challengers), she could lose the general election.&nbsp; He bases this on what we know about her polling popularity from the Monica Lewinsky moment of the 1990s to the present.&nbsp; Cohn assures readers that Hillary will not "be a Democratic Eisenhower, a popular, senior statesperson who cruises to an easy victory."&nbsp; It's the sort of comparison that offers a certain implicit reassurance about the near future.&nbsp; (No, Virginia, we haven't left the world of politics in which former general and president Dwight D. Eisenhower can still be a touchstone.)</p> <p>Cohn may be right when it comes to Hillary's electability, but this is not Dwight D. Eisenhower's or even Al Gore's America. If you want a measure of that, consider this year's primaries. I mean, of course, the 2015 ones. Once upon a time, the campaign season started with candidates flocking to Iowa and New Hampshire early in the election year to establish their bona fides among party voters. These days, however, those are already late primaries.</p> <p>The early primaries, the ones that count, take place among a small group of millionaires and <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/21/us/koch-seminar-is-early-proving-ground-for-gop-hopefuls.html">billionaires</a>, a new caste flush with cash who will personally, or through complex networks of funders, pour multi-millions of dollars into the campaigns of candidates of their choice.&nbsp; So the early primaries&mdash;this year mainly a Republican affair&mdash;are taking place in resort spots like Las Vegas, Rancho Mirage, California, and Sea Island, Georgia, as has been <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/01/us/politics/gop-race-starts-in-lavish-haunts-of-rich-donors.html">widely reported</a>. These "contests" involve groveling politicians appearing at the beck and call of the rich and powerful, and so reflect our new 1 percent electoral system. (The main pro-Hillary super PAC, for instance, is aiming for a <a href="http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/peter-fenn/2015/02/12/jeb-bush-and-hillary-clinton-2016-fundraising-is-out-of-control">kitty of $500 million</a> heading into 2016, while the Koch brothers network has already promised to drop <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/02/koch-retreat-donors-249-million-2016">almost $1 billion</a> into the coming campaign season, doubling their efforts in the last presidential election year.)</p> <p>Ever since the Supreme Court opened up the ultimate floodgates with its 2010 <em><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._FEC#Opinions_of_the_Court">Citizens United</a></em> decision, each subsequent election has seen record-breaking amounts of money donated and spent. The 2012 presidential campaign was the first <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/06/2012-presidential-election-cost_n_2254138.html">$2 billion election</a>; campaign 2016 is <a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/230318-the-5-billion-campaign">expected to hit</a> the $5 billion mark without breaking a sweat.&nbsp; By comparison, according to Burton Abrams and Russell Settle in their study, "The Effect of Broadcasting on Political Campaign Spending," Republicans and Democrats spent just under $13 million combined in 1956 when Eisenhower won his second term.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/politics/2015/03/five-signs-americas-rising-plutocratic-class-bush-clinton%20"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Politics Tom Dispatch Thu, 26 Mar 2015 22:10:16 +0000 Tom Engelhardt 272401 at http://www.motherjones.com Could a Pilot Be Locked Out of a Cockpit in the Skies Over the United States? http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/03/germanwings-9525-lufthansa-flight-regulations <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Tuesday morning, Germanwings flight 9525, en route from Barcelona to&nbsp;Dusseldorf, crashed in the remote southern French Alps. All 150 passengers and crew are presumed dead. Thanks to the quick recovery of one of the plane's flight recorders, some details of the final moments of the flight are now known: one of the pilots was banging on the cockpit door, presumably locked out, while the second pilot&mdash;identified as German Andreas Lubitz&mdash;was in the cockpit breathing normally. On Thursday morning, Carsten Spohr, chief executive of Germanwings's parent company Lufthansa, told reporters, "We must presume that the plane was deliberately flown into the ground."</p> <p>Federal Aviation Administration regulations require that two people must be in the cockpit at all times in order to prevent these sorts of incidents on flights to, from, and within the United States. And the FAA requires cockpit doors to be locked at all times. If one of the two pilots leaves the cockpit, a flight attendant must take his or her place for the duration of the break. Glen Winn, an aviation instructor at the University of Southern California, <a href="http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-german-jet-crash-door-20150325-story.html" target="_blank">told</a> the <em>Los Angeles Times</em> that "procedurally, something was very wrong." Pilots "don't leave a person alone in the cockpit," he continued. "They don't do it. Nobody does that."</p> <p>But there are no European regulations that require all flights to have two crew members in the cockpit at all times.<a href="#correction">*</a> Some European airlines have adhered to the two-person policy, and some have not. German carriers are not required to keep two crew members in the cockpit. After the Germanwings crash, Easy Jet, a British carrier, and Norwegian Airlines announced they would implement the two-person rule.</p> <p>On an Airbus 320, the plane used by flight 9525, a pilot can reenter a locked cockpit door by punching in a multi-digit code on a keypad. But someone inside the cockpit can temporarily disengage the keypad, keeping the door locked and barring entry to the cockpit for five minutes.</p> <p>It's unclear whether the Germanwings pilot who was trying to return to the cockpit attempted to use the keypad. But Spohr <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/live/updates-on-the-germanwings-crash-investigation/" target="_blank">said</a> that each member of the flight crew knew the code and that there would be no way a pilot could forget it. He suggested that the pilot may not have tried the code for some reason, or that Lubitz disengaged the keypad or found another way to block the door.</p> <p>After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, new flight safety <a href="http://www.faa.gov/news/press_releases/news_story.cfm?newsId=5470" target="_blank">standards</a> were established and cockpit doors were strengthened to resist intrusions, gunfire, and grenade blasts. So if the keypad is disabled there's little anyone can do to break in for five minutes; brute force will not open the door.</p> <p>If existing regulations and procedures are followed, a pilot of an airliner in US should not be locked out. But this tragedy certainly will prompt regulators and safety experts in the United States and abroad to review existing rules.</p> <p id="correction"><em>Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that European regulations also require two people in the cockpit at all times.</em></p></body></html> Politics Tech Top Stories Thu, 26 Mar 2015 21:41:40 +0000 Jenna McLaughlin 272421 at http://www.motherjones.com Democrats Should Pass the Doc Fix Bill http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/03/democrats-should-pass-doc-fix-bill <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A bill to permanently reform the ridiculous annual charade over the Medicare "doc fix" <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/27/us/house-passes-bill-changing-medicare-fee-formula-and-extending-childrens-insurance.html?hp&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;module=first-column-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news" target="_blank">passed the House today:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The House overwhelmingly approved sweeping changes to the Medicare system on Thursday, in the most significant bipartisan policy legislation to pass through that chamber since the Republicans regained a majority in 2011.</p> <p>The measure, which would establish a new formula for paying doctors and end a problem that has bedeviled the nation&rsquo;s health care system for more than a decade, has already been blessed by President Obama, and awaits a vote in the Senate. The bill would also increase premiums for some higher income beneficiaries and extend a popular health insurance program for children.</p> </blockquote> <p>But of course there's a problem:</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Senate Democrats have been resistant to provisions in the bill that preserve restrictions on the use of federal money for abortion services</strong> and extend a children&rsquo;s health program for only two years, but they are expected to eventually work with Senate Republicans to pass the measure.</p> </blockquote> <p>This is similar to the problem with the bipartisan human trafficking bill, which Senate Democrats filibustered last week because of a provision that none of its funds could be used to pay for abortions.</p> <p>I suppose this will get me a lot of flack for being a sellout, but I think Dems should approve both bills. Yes, the abortion provisions are annoying, and go slightly beyond similar language that's been in appropriations bills for decades. But <em>slightly</em> is the operative word here. Like it or not, Republicans long ago won the battle over using federal funds for abortions. Minor affirmations of this policy simply don't amount to much aside from giving Republicans some red meat for their base.</p> <p>This is mostly symbolic, not substantive. Let's pass the bills.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Health Care Reproductive Rights Thu, 26 Mar 2015 21:07:09 +0000 Kevin Drum 272461 at http://www.motherjones.com This Lawmaker Publicly Discussed Her Rape and Abortion. And Some Dude Laughed. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/ohio-abortion-heartbeat-bill <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>While speaking out against a proposed bill in Ohio that aims to ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) revealed on Wednesday she had been raped during her time in the military and chose to have an abortion.</p> <p>"You don't respect my reason, my rape, my abortion, and I guarantee you there are other women who should stand up with me and be courageous enough to speak that voice," <a href="http://www.toledoblade.com/State/2015/03/25/Ohio-House-votes-across-party-lines-for-heartbeat-abortion-bill.html" target="_blank">Fedor said before the state senate.</a> "What you're doing is so fundamentally inhuman, unconstitutional, and I've sat here too long."</p> <p>Her testimony comes just weeks after an <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/arizona-lawmaker-abortion-molested" target="_blank">Arizona lawmaker</a> shared details about her own abortion, which she had after being sexually assaulted by a male relative when she was a young girl. In a later editorial for <a href="http://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/interviews/a37718/victoria-steele-sexual-assault-arizona/" target="_blank"><em>Cosmopolitan</em></a>, Rep. Victoria Steele said that while she was glad to have spoken out and share her story during the legislative debate, she resented the fact that "women have to tell their deepest, darkest traumas in public" in order for lawmakers to grasp how dangerous such anti-abortion bills were to women and their health.</p> <p>In Fedor's case, not only did she feel she had to share her trauma with her colleagues, at one point she was forced to pause and address the fact a man appeared to be laughing at her while she spoke.</p> <p>"I see people laughing and I don't appreciate that," she said. "And it happens to be a man who is laughing. But this is serious business right now and I'm speaking for all the women in the state of Ohio who didn't get the opportunity to be in front of that committee and make this statement."</p> <p>Ohio's House Bill 69 eventually <a href="http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2015/03/ohio_house_approves_heartbeat.html" target="_blank">passed </a>with a 55-40 vote. The legislation now goes to the senate, and if passed, will make it a fifth-degree felony and result in up to $2,500 and possible jail time for doctors who perform the abortions.</p> <object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,47,0" height='354""' id="flashObj" width="630"><param name="movie" value="http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&amp;isUI=1"><param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF"><param name="flashVars" value="videoId=4134552171001&amp;playerID=1148472331001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAABCveqeEk~,BRLBX-1yBlngZ35whr_dStkPV5pOiI5Q&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true"><param name="base" value="http://admin.brightcove.com"><param name="seamlesstabbing" value="false"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"><param name="swLiveConnect" value="true"><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"><embed allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" base="http://admin.brightcove.com" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" flashvars="videoId=4134552171001&amp;playerID=1148472331001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAABCveqeEk~,BRLBX-1yBlngZ35whr_dStkPV5pOiI5Q&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true" height='354""' name="flashObj" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/index.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash" seamlesstabbing="false" src="http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&amp;isUI=1" swliveconnect="true" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="630"></embed></object></body></html> MoJo Video Reproductive Rights Sex and Gender Thu, 26 Mar 2015 20:42:45 +0000 Inae Oh 272451 at http://www.motherjones.com