MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/rss/blogs_and_articles/sites/all/modules/patched/service_links/images/facebook.png/favicon.ico http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en Obama Just Came Out Hard Against the Washington Football Team’s Racist Name http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/07/obama-just-came-out-hard-against-washington-football-team%E2%80%99s-racist-name <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In an irony that will surely be lost on team owner Dan Snyder, the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/08/ditching-redskins-nfl-dan-snyder-slate" target="_blank">Washington Redskins</a> are being kicked off their land.</p> <p>From the <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/digger/wp/2015/07/01/obama-administration-rebuffs-d-c-s-efforts-to-bring-back-the-redskins/" target="_blank"><em>Washington Post</em></a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser this spring that the National Park Service, which owns the land beneath Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, was unlikely to accommodate construction of a new stadium for the Redskins unless the team changes its name.</p> <p>Jewell&nbsp;oversees both national park land and America's trust and treaty relationships with Native American tribes.</p> <p>Her decision not to extend the District's lease of the RFK land badly hinders Bowser's bid to return the Redskins to D.C.&mdash;and boosts efforts to lure the team across the Potomac to Northern Virginia.</p> </blockquote> <p>Jewell, who has been an <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/09/us-interior-secretary-surprised-redskins-team-name-not-changed/" target="_blank">outspoken critic</a> of the team's <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/10/timeline-history-offensive-sports-mascots-redskins-snyder" target="_blank">controversial</a> name, added that adjusting the federal lease on the property, which doesn't expire for another 22 years, is "not likely to be a priority for the administration." The team's owner Dan Snyder, who <a href="http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/9259866/daniel-snyder-says-washington-redskins-never-change-team-name" target="_blank">has vowed</a> to never change the team's name, has <a href="http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/24683402/daniel-snyder-redskins-have-started-process-of-planning-new-stadium" target="_blank">long been interested</a> in building a new stadium in the DC area.</p> <p>There's actually a great precedent for this. As <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/11/nazis-desegregating-washington-nfl-football-team" target="_blank">we explained in 2013</a>,</p> <blockquote>The showdown began in 1961, when John F. Kennedy's interior secretary, Stewart Udall, who'd committed to ending segregation anywhere in his sphere of influence, declared his intent to break pro football's last color bar...The call for integration was met with opposition, most notably from the team's owner, George Preston Marshall, a laundromat magnate turned NFL bigwig who had held firm for years. Udall had one advantage over Marshall: The team's new home field, DC Stadium (later renamed RFK Memorial), was federal property. With Kennedy's approval, Udall gave Marshall a choice: He could let black players on his team, or take his all-white squad to someone else's gridiron."</blockquote> <p>Don't worry, Washington fans: There's always <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/tug-of-war-for-new-redskins-stadium-is-complicated-by-name-debate/2015/04/11/015364de-d4b2-11e4-a62f-ee745911a4ff_story.html" target="_blank">Virginia</a> (or stay in Maryland).</p></body></html> MoJo Race and Ethnicity Sports Thu, 02 Jul 2015 23:06:58 +0000 Edwin Rios 278991 at http://www.motherjones.com John Boehner: "I'm Sorry, but a Gun Is Not a Disease" http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/gun-violence-research-cdc-boehner Politics Congress Guns Health Thu, 02 Jul 2015 21:34:51 +0000 Jaeah Lee 278961 at http://www.motherjones.com Hillary Clinton's Emails Show She's Basically Julia Louis-Dreyfus in "Veep" http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/hillary-clinton-emails-veep-julia-louis-dreyfus <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>This week, the State Department released a large batch of the emails that Hillary Clinton sent and received (on her personal account via a private server!) when she was secretary of state. The media, naturally, dove into this pool and quickly found the most amusing items among the 3,096 pages. One day, Clinton had heard about a Cabinet meeting on the radio and asked her aides, "Can I go?" Another time, she emailed the protocol chief at State, "Can you contact your protocol friend in China and ask him if I could get photos of the carpets of the rooms I met in w POTUS during the recent trip? I loved the designs." She once struggled to get a fax machine to work. Her emails showed how she and her lieutenants <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/hillary-clinton-emails-greta-van-susteren-leslie-gelb" target="_blank">assiduously worked</a> the press to get positive coverage. They revealed interesting details of <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/state-dept-releases-new-tranche-of-hillary-clintons-emails-119624.html" target="_blank">her close relationship</a> with author and political operative Sidney Blumenthal. But overall, this trove of emails&mdash;the first of several to come&mdash;depicts Clinton as an earnest public servant toiling away on important affairs of state (global food security, Afghanistan policy, climate change, and international women's rights) while often operating in a <em>Veep</em>-like world, as in the HBO comedy in which Julia Louis-Dreyfuss plays a vice president-turned-president who must contend with absurdities and indignities large and small as she handles the gravest of matters.</p> <p>These emails chronicle several scenes that could appear in the television show. At least, it would be easy to envision President (or Vice President) Selina Meyer in these situations.</p> <p>* On December 17, 2009, Clinton zapped senior aide Jake Sullivan an email titled "Argentina." She noted, "The FM [foreign minister] just told me that Arturo&hellip;had insulted their country. He was very upset and said I needed to do damage control. Can you figure out what he's talking about?" (She might have been referring to Arturo Valenzuela, then the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs.) Within two minutes, Sullivan replied, "On it." And Clinton responded, "He's standing right inside the door here." In other words, it's awkward; hurry. Imagine Meyer stuck like this: <em>The Argentine foreign minister is waiting for me, I told him I had to go to the bathroom, but now I have to tell him something about Arturo.</em></p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/politics/2015/07/hillary-clinton-emails-veep-julia-louis-dreyfus"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Politics 2016 Elections Hillary Clinton Top Stories Thu, 02 Jul 2015 19:39:43 +0000 David Corn 278956 at http://www.motherjones.com Jim Webb Just Announced He's Running for President. Here's What You Need to Know About Him. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/06/jim-webb-is-running-for-president <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>At long last, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb (D) is officially a candidate for president. After weeks of supposedly imminent announcements&mdash;including ones <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/06/27/webb-close-to-2016-decision-insiders-say-clinton-camp-helped-delay-launch/" target="_blank">his staff may not have known about</a>&mdash;he declared on Thursday afternoon that he's running, with a <a href="http://www.webb2016.com/jim-webb-announces-candidacy-for-president/" target="_blank">long statement</a> on his website that blended a prudent hawkishness with economic populism. " I understand the odds," Webb notes, "particularly in today's political climate where fair debate is so often drowned out by huge sums of money. I know that more than one candidate in this process intends to raise at least a billion dollars&mdash;some estimates run as high as two billion dollars&mdash;in direct and indirect financial support&hellip;We need to shake the hold of these shadow elites on our political process."</p> <p>Webb, as he concedes, is a huge underdog, <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/01/politics/donald-trump-poll-hillary-clinton-jeb-bush/" target="_blank">polling at just 2 percent</a> in nationwide polls. Here's what you should know about the latest Democratic contender.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/politics/2015/06/jim-webb-is-running-for-president"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Politics 2016 Elections Top Stories Jim Webb Thu, 02 Jul 2015 19:13:53 +0000 Max J. Rosenthal 278731 at http://www.motherjones.com China Adopts an Unusual Approach to Fighting a Stock Market Crash http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/china-adopts-unusual-approach-fighting-stock-market-crash <!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_shanghai_stock_market.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Hum de hum hum. Greece is in trouble. Puerto Rico too. <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/asian-shares-rise-on-hopes-for-greece-1435800229" target="_blank">And don't forget China:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Chinese shares plunged Thursday, even as Beijing grasps for solutions to stem the selling, including relaxing rules on the use of borrowed funds to invest in stocks....The Shanghai Composite closed down 3.5% while the smaller Shenzhen market was down 5.6%. The ChiNext board, composed of small-cap stocks, sank 4%. <strong>Even after losing nearly a quarter of its value from a mid-June high, China&rsquo;s main stock market has almost doubled in value over the past year.</strong></p> <p>....In a rare move late Wednesday, <strong>Chinese regulators set in motion draft proposals to ease restrictions on margin lending earlier than scheduled</strong>....Regulators&rsquo; sudden shift in attitude about margin trading comes after vocal warnings about its risks in recent months. In April, regulators took various steps to rein in the practice, which had allowed investors to borrow several times their investment money.</p> </blockquote> <p>Inscrutable, those Chinese. Their stock market is crashing so they're promoting an <em>increase</em> in margin trading. That's sort of like lighting a tree on fire when it gets dark outside and all your flashlights are dead. It'll work. For a while. But it's really not considered best practice.</p> <p>Then again, maybe there's something I don't understand here. All I know is that panicky measures to halt a panic don't usually work. And the Chinese stock market still has a long way to fall. I sure hope they figure something out.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 02 Jul 2015 18:38:58 +0000 Kevin Drum 278966 at http://www.motherjones.com The Combined Black Workforces of Google, Facebook, and Twitter Could Fit on a Single Jumbo Jet http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/07/black-workers-google-facebook-twitter-silicon-valley-diversity <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>We already knew that Google, Facebook, and Twitter <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/media/2014/05/google-diversity-labor-gender-race-gap-workers-silicon-valley" target="_blank">employed relatively few African Americans</a>, but new details show that the gap is truly striking. All three companies have disclosed their full <a href="http://www.eeoc.gov/employers/eeo1survey/" target="_blank">EEO1 reports</a>, detailed accounts of their employees' race and gender demographics that the law requires them to submit to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The reports show that out of a combined 41,000 Twitter, Facebook, and Google employees, only 758, or 1.8 percent, are black. To put this in perspective, all of those workers could fit onto <a href="http://www.therichest.com/rich-list/the-biggest/the-10-biggest-passenger-airplanes/" target="_blank">a single Airbus A380</a>. Have a look:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="225" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="//mjdwcharts.s3.amazonaws.com/NLTAD/2/index.html" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>African Americans comprise 13 percent of the overall workforce, which means they are underrepresented at Google, Facebook, and Twitter by a factor of 7. Here's a visual comparison of the black employees&hellip;</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/single-airplane.gif"></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>versus all other employees:</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/lots-of-airplanes2.gif"></div> <p>Race and gender gaps in tech hiring have been hot-button issues as of late. Since last May, when Rev. Jesse Jackson showed up at Google's shareholder meeting, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/05/tech-industry-diversity-jesse-jackson" target="_blank">he has won some serious diversity concessions from major tech companies</a>&mdash;but the pace of minority hiring remains slow. <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jul/01/facebook-diversity-black-employees" target="_blank">As the <em>Guardian</em> noted yesterday</a>, Facebook hired 1,216 new people last year, and only 36 were black. Since last year, the percentage of black Google workers <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/google-diversity-statistics-barely-impoved" target="_blank">has not changed</a>.</p> <p>It should be easier to shift workplace demographics at smaller companies. Twitter, with fewer than 3,000 employees in 2014, has a huge black user base that is sometimes referred to as "<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/blacktwitter" target="_blank">Black Twitter</a>." Jackson wants the company to do more to move the needle. "I am very disappointed," he told <em>the Guardian</em>. "We are becoming intolerant with these numbers. There's a big gap between their talk and their implementation."</p> <p><em>Airplane image: <a href="https://thenounproject.com/search/?q=jumbo-jet&amp;i=15251" target="_blank">Anthony Lui/Noun Project</a></em></p> <p><em>Correction: An early version of this story misstated the number of black employees at Google and incorrectly suggested that Twitter had released its 2015 EEO1 report. Mother Jones regrets the errors.</em></p></body></html> MoJo Charts Race and Ethnicity Tech Top Stories Thu, 02 Jul 2015 18:00:41 +0000 Josh Harkinson 278916 at http://www.motherjones.com America's BBQ Grills Create as Much Carbon as a Big Coal Plant http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/07/your-grills-smoky-truth <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>As your neighbors fire up their barbecues this Independence Day, the most popular day in America to grill, they won't just send the scent of tri-tip or grilled corn over the fence in your direction&mdash;they'll also send smoke. As my colleague Kiera Butler wrote about <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2009/09/bbq-econundrum-charcoal-or-gas" target="_blank">here</a>, even the "cleanest" gas grills emit pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every hour they're used. So how many emissions can we expect from dinner barbecues on the 4th?</p> <p>Roughly eighty percent of American households own barbecues or smokers, <a href="http://www.hpba.org/consumers/barbecue/grilling-facts-and-figures" target="_blank">according to the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association</a>. Let's say all 92.5 million of them decide to grill on Saturday. A 2013 study by HPBA found that 61 percent of users opted for gas grills, 42 percent for charcoal, and 10 percent for electric (some respondents had multiple grills). If that reflected all households across the United States, and each household used <a href="http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:ObVH5sYMCh8J:web.ornl.gov/ornlhome/print/press_release_print.cfm%3FReleaseNumber%3Dmr20030703-00+&amp;cd=1&amp;hl=en&amp;ct=clnk&amp;gl=us" target="_blank">its grill for an hour</a> on the 4th of July, then we'd get a calculation like this:</p> <p>(56.425M gas grills*5.6 pounds of CO2) + (38.85M charcoal grills*11 pounds CO2) + (9.25M electric grills*15 pounds CO2 ) = <strong>882 million pounds of CO2</strong></p> <p>That's <a href="http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/refs.html" target="_blank">roughly as many</a> emissions as burning 2145 railcars of coal, or running one coal-fired power plant for a month.</p> <p>But let's be honest&mdash;no one wants to give up summer grilling, and these emissions stats probably won't convince your neighbor to turn off the barbecue. You might instead offer up ideas on recipes with ingredients that are friendlier to the planet&mdash;like these <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/07/veggie-burger-recipe-vegan-gluten-free-barley-beet-mushroom-falafel" target="_blank">4 veggie burgers that don't suck</a>.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Climate Change Energy Food and Ag Science Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:48:53 +0000 Maddie Oatman 278911 at http://www.motherjones.com My $500 Pill Revealed http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/my-500-pill-revealed <!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_revlimid.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Have you ever wondered what a $500 pill looks like? Well, here's your answer: it looks like pretty much any other pill.</p> <p>Anyway, I'm supposed to take this for 21 days, then a week off, then another 21 days, etc. This will last a few months before we know if it's working. If it does work, then I'll be taking it forever (I think). So that's $126,000 per year to keep Kevin alive. Of course, I pay only a fraction of that thanks to having excellent health insurance, and I'm sure that even Kaiser pays nowhere near that list price. Maybe half that, or a third. Still, pretty expensive!</p> <p>Luckily I'm not on Obamacare. From what I hear, my case would have gone straight to a death panel, which almost certainly would have decided that my societal worth didn't measure up to the cost of the treatment. And who could argue? I mean, blogging? Seriously?</p> <p><strong>POSTSCRIPT:</strong> I forgot to mention something in my previous health update: I feel great. Not 100 percent, mind you, but pretty good. My stomach is in fine fettle (in fact, I'm overeating these days), I'm sleeping well, and my energy level has recovered almost to normal. The long-term prognosis for the multiple myeloma is obviously still uncertain, and that's an unhappy thing, but in the meantime at least I feel good for the first time in eight months!</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:03:40 +0000 Kevin Drum 278951 at http://www.motherjones.com Chris Christie Really Wants Republicans to Forget his Bromance With Obama http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/christ-christie-disses-president-obama <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>After a somewhat <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/06/chris-christie-announces" target="_blank">lackluster response</a> to his announcement that he was entering the presidential race, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie appears to be revving up his brusque, straight-talking persona in a big attempt to garner the attention of the GOP base. Christie angered many on the right when in the final months of the 2012 election he gushed about President Barack Obama's leadership skills during Superstorm Sandy. He was, after all, a top surrogate for Mitt Romney. During a visit to New Hampshire this week, Christie went out of his way to take a swipe at the president.</p> <p>According to <em>Washington Post's </em>National Political Correspondent Philip Rucker, Christie said the following during a town hall meeting Thursday:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Christie in NH: &ldquo;The biggest argument I have with this president is I don&rsquo;t think he likes being president. I don&rsquo;t think he likes people.&rdquo;</p> &mdash; Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) <a href="https://twitter.com/PhilipRucker/status/616595925289594880">July 2, 2015</a></blockquote> <p>Christie certainly didn't seem to feel this way in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, when he praised Obama's "great" response to the natural disaster. "The president has been all over this and he deserves&nbsp;<a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/10/chris-christie-obama-sandy-romney.html">great credit</a>," he told MSNBC's <em>Morning Joe</em>, before going on to brag about their late night phone calls, saying that Obama, "told me to call him if I needed anything and he absolutely means it, and it's been very good working with the President and his administration."</p> <p>And it was a two way street. "I want to let you know your governor is working overtime," Obama <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/01/nyregion/in-stunning-about-face-chris-christie-heaps-praise-on-obama.html" target="_blank">remarked</a> after the duo finished up a tour of the damage.</p> <p><a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/political-marriage-between-chris-christie-and-president-obama-breaks-up-over-sandy-aid-rift/2014/03/06/070627ae-a47f-11e3-8466-d34c451760b9_story.html" target="_blank">By March 2014,</a> having learned his lesson from the GOP base who shamed him, Christie was back to dissing the president, calling him a weak leader at a Conservative Political Action Conference. Expect plenty more Obama-bashing from Christie as he elbows his way into the crowded primary field.</p></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Elections Obama Chris Christe Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:01:35 +0000 Allie Gross 278941 at http://www.motherjones.com Sorry, Obama. The Founding Fathers Loved Peas http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/07/actually-jefferson-was-obsessed-peas <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Wednesday, after the <em>New York Times </em><a href="https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/616303020574441472" target="_blank">proposed</a> adding peas to guacamole (what's next, <a href="https://twitter.com/daudig/status/616353502525325317" target="_blank">mayonnaise</a>?), President Barack Obama <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/07/read-the-bill-president-guacamole" target="_blank">announced</a> that the proper way to make guacamole is with avocado, onions, garlic, and hot pepper. It wasn't the first time the leader of the free world had disparaged peas. In 2011, when Congress stalled on raising the debt ceiling, he announced that it was time for all parties involved to "<a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/obama-time-to-eat-our-peas-and-pass-debt-deal/" target="_blank">eat our peas</a>"&mdash;swallow the tough pill, if you will.</p> <p>But Obama's anti-pea polemic, published just days before the Fourth of July, puts him at odds with an important group of Americans&mdash;the Founding Fathers. The Founding Fathers loved peas.</p> <p>Thomas Jefferson's favorite vegetable, according to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, was the English pea. He cultivated <a href="https://www.monticello.org/site/house-and-gardens/thomas-jeffersons-favorite-vegetables" target="_blank">19 different kinds of peas</a> in the Monticello vegetable garden, including 15 kinds of English peas. Among them were Marrowfat, Hotspur, Blue Prussian, and Early Frame. (Jefferson even <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/media/2015/02/thomas-jefferson-hour-clay-jenkinson" target="_blank">spoke with <em>Mother Jones</em></a> about his peas in February.) Letters to his daughter, Mary, often made <a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=iOHNKGJGo94C&amp;pg=PA119&amp;dq=%22Thomas+Jefferson%22+peas&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=H4uUVdTpHcXk-QGr85XgCw&amp;ved=0CCoQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&amp;q=%22Thomas%20Jefferson%22%20peas&amp;f=false" target="_blank">reference</a> to the status of the peas. Here he is discussing peas in a letter to George Washington:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20Shot%202015-07-01%20at%209.02.04%20PM_0.png"><div class="caption"><strong>Peas. </strong><a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=4ncEAAAAYAAJ&amp;dq=%22Thomas%20Jefferson%22%20peas&amp;pg=PA7#v=onepage&amp;q=%22Thomas%20Jefferson%22%20peas&amp;f=false" target="_blank">Observations on the writings of Thomas Jefferson</a>/Google Books</div> </div> <p>Peas weren't just sustenance for Jefferson. They were a way of life; every year he would hold a contest with his neighbor to see whose peas would sprout first. Per the Monticello <a href="http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/fun-fact-peas" target="_blank">website</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Though Jefferson's mountaintop garden, with its southern exposure to warmth and light, should have provided an advantage for the contest, it seems that the contest was almost always won by a neighbor named George Divers.</p> <p>As Jefferson's grandson recalled: "A wealthy neighbor [Divers], without children, and fond of horticulture, generally triumphed. Mr. Jefferson, on one occasion had them first, and when his family reminded him that it was his right to invite the company, he replied, 'No, say nothing about it, it will be more agreeable to our friend to think that he never fails.'"</p> </blockquote> <p>Divers, that clever knave! There's even a children's book, <a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=VHXAAgAAQBAJ&amp;printsec=frontcover&amp;dq=%22Thomas+jefferson%22+peas&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=EI-UVfjNKIms-QGasYDYBg&amp;ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA" target="_blank"><em>First Peas to the Table</em></a>, inspired by Jefferson's fruitless obsession with winning at peas.</p> <p>Jefferson's friends in government got in on the action too. At his prodding, George Washington attempted to plant English peas at Mount Vernon, with&nbsp; mixed results. But Washington loved peas so much that when a bunch Tories attempted to kill him, they did so by <a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=-yWdztzYJF4C&amp;lpg=PA39&amp;dq=%22George%20Washington%22%20peas&amp;pg=PA39#v=onepage&amp;q=%22George%20Washington%22%20peas&amp;f=false" target="_blank">poisoning</a> a dish of his favorite food&mdash;peas. Wise to the plot, a 13-year-old girl fed them to his chickens first as a precautionary measure. (Or at least, that's the legend. It's probably <a href="http://articles.mcall.com/2001-11-11/entertainment/3382677_1_assassination-attempt-skin-color-poison" target="_blank">apocryphal</a>.)</p> <p>The point is, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington loved peas. If avocados had even been around when they were president, they would have made pea guacamole. And they would have loved that, too. Pea hold these shoots to be self-evident.</p></body></html> MoJo Food and Ag Thu, 02 Jul 2015 15:31:44 +0000 Tim Murphy 278921 at http://www.motherjones.com