MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en Ben Carson and the Conservative Grift Machine <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>In the <em>LA Times</em> today Joseph Tanfani and Maloy Moore have a great piece about the American Legacy PAC and its 2014 Save Our Healthcare campaign. It was fronted by Ben Carson, who starred in a video denouncing Obamacare and told viewers, "If you want to hold Washington accountable and truly save American health care, join me and sign our petition<iframe align="right" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="228" src="" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;" width="405"></iframe> today." Needless to say, when you called the toll-free number, it turned out that Carson wanted more than just your John Hancock. <a href="" target="_blank">He also wanted your Benjamins:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>When Juanita McMillon saw his name, she was eager to get out her checkbook. &ldquo;I think he is sincere, and I think he is honest, and I think he is exactly what we need,&rdquo; said McMillon, 80, from the small town of De Kalb in northeast Texas. She gave $350....American Legacy raised close to $6 million in 2014 &mdash; and spent nearly all of it paying the consultants and firms that raised the money. <strong>Just 2% was donated to Republican candidates and committees, financial reports show.</strong></p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m really careful who I give money to, but I guess I did not read it close enough,&rdquo; McMillon said, adding that she had never heard of American Legacy. &ldquo;I prefer to give money to individuals, and I assumed, I guess, that Dr. Carson was getting my money.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Though American Legacy didn&rsquo;t raise much money for Obamacare-hating Republicans, it was a success at something else &mdash; finding people willing to give to Carson</strong>....When Carson entered the race, the campaign tapped those donors again. Donnell gave another $250 to the campaign, and McMillon another $450. Of the more than 4,000 donors to American Legacy, more than 25% also ended up giving to the Carson campaign, a <em>Los Angeles Time</em>s analysis showed.</p> </blockquote> <p>This is good reporting, but so far there's nothing all that new here. Conservatives have turned grifting into a high art, and Carson is just the flavor of the month. What makes this piece great is the response from Doug Watts, Carson's campaign spokesman:</p> <blockquote> <p>Watts defended the American Legacy effort and offered assurance to donors. &ldquo;I would say to those people, you did give to Dr. Carson,&rdquo; Watts said. <strong>&ldquo;They participated in the building of a list&rdquo; of donors for the campaign.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Booyah! By giving money to Carson's anti-Obamacare campaign, you identified yourself as a soft touch who would give Carson even more money later on. And that's a big help. Of course, these elderly donors <em>thought</em> they were helping Carson fight Obamacare, because, you know, that's what Carson actually said. But what's the difference? Tomayto, tomahto.</p> <p>Anyway, read the whole thing if you've got the stomach for it.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 28 Nov 2015 20:15:18 +0000 Kevin Drum 290756 at Republican Candidates Are Too Busy This Morning to Denounce Attack on Planned Parenthood Clinic <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>When I went to bed last night, none of the Republican presidential candidates had said anything about the horrific shootings at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado. But that was ten <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_stand_planned_parenthood.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">hours ago, and it's now nearly noon on the East Coast. Anything new?</p> <p>As near as I can tell, no. No tweets, no statements, nothing on Facebook. On Twitter, Donald Trump is still blathering about how much he loves the disabled. Jeb Bush is tweeting about football. Ted Cruz hasn't put up anything new in over a week.<sup>1</sup> Marco Rubio was "sickened" by the killing of Lu&iacute;s Diaz in Venezuela a couple of days ago, but is busy promoting his cold-weather bundle of Rubio gear today. Ben Carson is burnishing his foreign policy credentials by talking to refugees in Jordan. Carly Fiorina has been quiet since Thanksgiving.</p> <p>But it's a holiday weekend, so maybe they've turned off the news to spend more time with their families. All 14 of them. Still, I know they're all resolutely opposed to terrorism and adamantly in favor of law and order, so I'm sure they'll issue uncompromising condemnations sometime soon. After all, we can't allow depraved attacks against health clinics on American soil to be met with silence that could easily be interpreted as backing down in the face of hate. Right?</p> <p><sup>1</sup>Oops. I was fooled by the fact that Cruz has his demand for President Obama to insult him to his face permanently at the top of his feed. But Cruz did indeed tweet something this morning. Here's the full version of his statement <a href="" target="_blank">on Facebook:</a> "My and Heidi's prayers are with the loved ones of those killed in Colorado Springs, with those injured, and with the first responders who bravely got the situation under control." Not exactly a stirring condemnation of violence, but I guess it's a start.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 28 Nov 2015 16:55:25 +0000 Kevin Drum 290751 at The New, Ugly Surge in Violence and Threats Against Abortion Providers <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/pp%20arson_1.jpg"><div class="caption rteleft"><strong>Firefighters battle a blaze at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Washington September 4, 2015. </strong> Photo</div> </div> <p>Three people were shot <a href="" target="_blank">dead</a> and nine others were injured Friday at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic, the first time since 2009 that anyone has been killed in an incident linked to activity at an abortion clinic. The attack comes amid an exponential increase in threats and violence against abortion providers since the release of a series of viral&mdash;and <a href="" target="_blank">widely</a> <a href="" target="_blank">debunked</a>&mdash;videos.</p> <p>While police have not discussed the alleged motives of the suspect, who has been arrested, the attack began at the clinic. According to authorities, the gunman entered the facility Friday afternoon and began shooting. During an hours-long standoff, he exchanged fire with police, killing one officer.</p> <p>Since the release of the Center for Medical Progress' videos that purport to show Planned Parenthood selling fetal issue, harassment, threats, and attacks against abortion providers, their staff, and facilities have surged dramatically across the country, according to new numbers from the National Abortion Federation.</p> <p>The clinic attacked on Friday is part of the Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains affiliate, which was featured in the Center for Medical Progress' videos.</p> <p>"Since the series of highly edited, misleading anti-abortion videos was released in July, we have seen an unprecedented increase in hate speech and threats against abortion providers," says Vicki Saporta, the president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, which has been <a href="" target="_blank">tracking</a> violence against providers since the 1970s.</p> <p>"We have been quite worried that this increase in threats would lead to a violent attack like we saw" on Friday, she added.</p> <p>The Federation is suing Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress for allegedly setting up a sham biomedical organization and misrepresenting their identities in order to gain access to and record a federation meeting.</p> <p>Abortion providers have grappled with harassment and threats for years, but the tide of vitriol began rising dramatically in July, after the first video was released. Soon after that, an anonymous reader posted a message on Fox Nation's website.</p> <p>"I'll pay ten large to whomever kills Dr. Deborah&nbsp;Nucatola. [She] should be summarily executed. I'll do it myself if no one else does." A month later, another physician, Dr.&nbsp;Savita&nbsp;Ginde, came home to find 50 people protesting outside her door. They left fliers around her neighborhood that said, "Savita&nbsp;Ginde&nbsp;Murders Children."</p> <p>Nucatola and Ginde&nbsp;both work for Planned Parenthood and were featured in videos surreptitiously recorded by the Center for Medical Progress. They are among a handful of abortion providers who have been&nbsp;catapulted into the public eye by the group and its public face, David Daleiden. But harassment&nbsp;has not been limited to the providers spotlighted in the series&mdash;the first video of which has received more than 3 million views on YouTube.</p> <h3 class="subhed">Clinics targeted</h3> <p>Violence against reproductive health clinics dates back to at least <em>Roe v. Wade</em>, when anti-abortion animus swelled in reaction to the 1973 landmark Supreme Court case. In 1982, an Illinois-based provider and his wife were <a href="">kidnapped</a>, and three clinics in Florida and Virginia were bombed in the same year. In 1984 there were more than 25 cases of bombings and arson attacks across the country.</p> <p>Coordinated attacks reached a fever pitch in the early 1990s. Anti-abortion activists, led by Operation Rescue&mdash;a group whose president, Troy Newman, is also currently the <a href="http://" target="_blank">secretary</a> of the Center for Medical Progress&mdash;created large-scale human blockades in major cities across the United States. These protests prevented anyone from leaving or entering clinics, which led to hundreds of arrests by law enforcement.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the number of violent incidents also increased, and in 1993 Dr. David Gunn was shot and <a href="">killed</a> in the parking lot of a clinic he worked at in Pensacola, Florida. Gunn had been the subject of wanted-style posters distributed by Operation Rescue. In 1994, an abortion doctor, a clinic escort, and two receptionists were <a href="" target="_blank">killed </a>in two separate incidents.</p> <p>Congress enacted the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act in 1994, making it a <a href="">federal crime</a> to injure, intimidate, or interfere with abortion providers or those seeking their care. But in January 1998, an abortion clinic security guard was killed during a <a href="" target="_blank">bombing</a> at his workplace. And in October, abortion doctor Barnett Slepian was murdered in his home.</p> <p>Two weeks after Dr. Slepian&rsquo;s death, Attorney General Janet Reno <a href="">created</a> the Task Force on Violence Against Health Care Providers, led by the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and staffed by investigators from the FBI and other federal agencies. Violence plummeted in the years following the clinic access law and the creation of the task force. <a href="">According</a> to the FBI, in 2012 violations of the clinic access act made up only 2 percent of the bureau's civil rights cases.</p> <h3 class="subhed">A new surge</h3> <p>But harassment, threats of violence, and attacks against clinics have gone up again following the release of the Center for Medical Progress' videos in July, according to recent<strong>&nbsp;</strong>National Abortion Federation<strong> </strong>court<strong> </strong>filings. That month, incidents of harassment against Planned Parenthood facilities increased ninefold compared with June, and those numbers continued to rise through August.</p> <p>In the four months following the release of the videos, there have been at least <a href="">four</a> suspected arsons that targeted abortion clinics, compared with just one in all of 2014 and none in 2013. There have been <a href="">at</a> <a href="">least</a> <a href="">five</a> cases of vandalism since August. In comparison, there were 12 total cases of clinic vandalism in all of 2014 and just five cases in 2013, according to federation figures.</p> <p>In one of the recent vandalism cases, a young man entered a Planned Parenthood in New Hampshire and destroyed medical equipment, phones, and computers. This month, an unidentified person smashed the windows of Kentucky&rsquo;s only full-time abortion provider, twice in three weeks.</p> <p>Anne, the executive director of the clinic, who declined to give her last name for security reasons, <a href="">told</a> <em>Insider Louisville</em> that in its 20 years of operation, the clinic had never before been vandalized.</p> <p>The deaths of three people at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood on Friday were&nbsp;the first slayings linked to an abortion clinic in six years. The last was in 2009, when the abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was murdered at his church in Wichita, Kansas. Scott Roeder, who was found guilty of Tiller's murder, <a href="" target="_blank">said</a> he shot the doctor because "preborn children's lives were in imminent danger."</p> <p>The FBI has also reported an increase in the number of attacks on reproductive health care facilities across the country since the videos were released in July. A spokesperson from the FBI was not immediately available for comment.</p> <p>"It's a concerning time," says duVergne Gaines,&nbsp;director of the National Clinic Access Project.</p> <p>The project, which is a program of the Feminist Majority Foundation, has trained clinic escorts and helped clinics increase security with surveillance cameras, alarm systems, bulletproof glass, and vests. When Gaines spoke with <em>Mother Jones</em> earlier this month, she said "the trifecta of efforts excoriating, and inspiring individuals to go out and target providers by demonizing them" leaves providers vulnerable, and that they were lucky no one had yet been hurt.</p> <p>"But we fear that may be around the corner," Gaines said at the time.</p> <p>The violence is intended to silence providers and drive them away from their jobs, but officials from the National Abortion Federation and the National Clinic Access Project say women should feel safe going to clinics. Law enforcement agencies are aware of the issue, they added.</p> <p>Indeed, the number of abortion providers <a href="" target="_blank">decreased</a> 38 percent between 1982 and 2000 and continues to decline today.<strong> </strong><a href="" target="_blank">According</a> to research from an anti-abortion group, the number of surgical abortion clinics dropped to 582 in 2013, down from more than 2,000 clinics in the early 1990s. And in the last two years, surgical abortion clinics have been closing at a <a href="" target="_blank">rate</a> of 1.5 clinics every week.</p> <p>And though it's hard to pinpoint every cause for the decline, "stigma and fear of violence&hellip;are powerful barriers to abortion provision," according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.</p> <p>For some abortion doctors, violence only deepens their resolve to provide abortion care. LeRoy Carhart quit doing surgery and opened his abortion practice in 1991 after a massive fire on his family's 65-acre Nebraska farm. The day after the fire, Carhart <a href="" target="_blank">said</a> he received a letter that said the abortions made his property a target for the fire.<strong> </strong>No one was ever convicted.</p> <p>The physician now operates a clinic in Nebraska and travels to Maryland each week to perform abortions. For security reasons, he <a href="" target="_blank">says</a> he avoids staying in the same hotel twice and tries to take different routes to work.</p> <p>"After the fire, it totally changed everything. That's when we decided to just do abortions full time," Carhart said, "It was my way of getting back." &nbsp;</p></body></html> Politics Health Care Reproductive Rights Sat, 28 Nov 2015 11:00:11 +0000 Nina Liss-Schultz 290136 at Don’t Feel Bad About the Guy(s) You Fucked Last Night <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>A few years ago, New York City-based stand-up comedian <a href="" target="_blank">Corinne Fisher</a>, 30, was going through a personal slump: She'd just been dumped unexpectedly by the man she thought she was going to marry, in a Panera Bread of all places. "I had what I would describe as a nervous breakdown," she says. "I lost 20 pounds, my hair was falling out because I wasn't eating properly." She spent hours sobbing on the shoulder of her friend and fellow comic <a href="" target="_blank">Krystyna Hutchinson</a>, 27. But amid the moping, Fisher got an idea for a new project: She would take the <em>High Fidelity </em>approach and interview all of her ex-boyfriends and lovers to figure out what went wrong.</p> <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src=";color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>Hutchinson&mdash;who, like Fisher, is unabashedly horny and not shy about sharing her sexual escapades&mdash;was on board, but for a slightly different reason. She'd become frustrated by the "notion of shame around women who have a lot of sex and enjoy it." So in December 2013, the duo, collectively known as Sorry About Last Night, launched <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Guys We Fucked: The Anti-Slut Shaming Podcast</em></a>.</p> <p>Every episode begins with an update on each woman's sex life, but the podcast quickly evolved away from its focus on past paramours. There's still plenty of chatter about threesomes and sex toys, but the show also takes on touchy topics like pedophilia, pimps, and sexual violence in frank conversations with comedians, actors, sex workers, and activists. Guests have included the likes of sex columnist Dan Savage, <em>Daily Show </em>creator Lizz Winstead, and female pornographer Stoya. Two years into its run, <em>Guys We Fucked</em> began to pick up speed, and it now boasts more than a half million listeners. In August, it became the top comedy podcast on iTunes for a stint. It's still i<a href="" target="_blank">n the top 10</a>&mdash;despite initially being blocked by Apple due to its profane title. I caught up with Fisher and Hutchinson to talk about Miley Cyrus, capitalism in the bedroom, and "no bullshit feminism."</p> <p><strong>Mother Jones: </strong>What made you decide you were comfortable airing your sexual exploits and questions to hundreds of thousands of listeners?</p> <p><strong>Corinne Fisher:</strong> Nothing. Because we didn't know that was going to happen. And now sometimes I'm like, "Damn."</p> <p><strong>Krystyna Hutchinson:</strong> Corinne and I are really good friends and we've been working together for four or five years now, so our chemistry is really good. I say, "Okay, I'm just going to talk to Corinne"&mdash;and I can forget the fact that 100,000 people are about to hear me talk about my pussy.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>Have you experienced any negative side effects of being so open about your sex lives?</p> <p><strong>CF: </strong>The negative side effects are very directly to my personal life. Being single and talking about being "a big old whore," is not going to be the best sell for yourself for dating. But to play devil's advocate, I don't really want to date somebody who's not comfortable with everything I'm saying.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>What's the best reaction you've gotten to the show so far?</p> <p><strong>CH:</strong> A couple credited us with them being able to conceive!</p> <p><strong>KF:</strong> The first email we got that blew my mind was from a girl in India who was raped by a member of her family, and then she started listening to the podcast. She said, "For the first time in my life I can look at myself as a sexual being." We did one with Wendi Starling about the night she was raped. After that aired, we were inundated with emails from girls that experienced almost the exact same thing, with someone familiar. It really pushed home the message that this happens way too much. We're opening up topics that not a lot of people are comfortable talking about. It's exciting to know that at least it helps some people.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>Why did you include "anti-slut-shaming" in the title?</p> <p><strong>KH: </strong>Just having a vagina made me want to include that in the title. There's this shame around women who have a lot of sex and enjoy it. It's one of the huge parts about being a woman that's really frustrating. I really wanted to speak to that, and talk about our experiences with men who have been assholes, with men who have been great. Because that's the one common denominator between all of my friends and me: We all have stories of a time that we were sexually harassed.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>There are plenty of sex podcasts out there already. What was the void you hoped to fill?</p> <p><strong>CF: </strong>The one in my soul.</p> <p><strong>KH:</strong> One of the voids that we didn't set out to fill but I feel like we are filling is no-bullshit feminism. We want to talk about the shitty stuff. We want to talk about what we're bad at. We talk about how women are physically weaker than men. Some people don't want to say that, but it's true. Why can't we just talk about it? And just scrape all the bullshit away. I respond to that type of feminism so much better. And I think it's something that men can really get on board with, too.</p> <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src=";color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>Some people think sex motivates pretty much every decision we make, what we wear, who we talk to, everything we do all day. So why don't women talk about it more?</p> <p><strong>KH:</strong> It all comes back to shame. The reason I don't wear tops that show cleavage, because I have giant tits, is because one time in the eighth grade this girl accused me of sticking out my boobs to get boys to like me. These little tiny scarring things. I think you just get inside your head, and because no one else is talking about it, you stay inside your head and you think you're alone in this kind of struggle to be open about your sexuality. That's pretty much the core.</p> <p><strong>CF:</strong> There's a lot more value on the sexuality of a woman than a man. If there's too much sex on the market, the value of the item decreases. If you're a woman who's giving away your sexuality, even if you feel good about it, men look at you as something that has a lower value. I think we somehow got that into our heads that that is true. When really it's just a mechanism of control.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>So really your podcast is about trying to rethink capitalism?</p> <p><strong>CF:</strong> Kind of.</p> <p><strong>KH:</strong> Exactly.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>A lot of your listeners are teens and college kids. Do you feel a sense of responsibility?</p> <p><strong>KH:</strong> We feel a huge sense of responsibility when someone young writes us. And we are very clear that we are not doctors. If we give you anything medical, it's because we Googled it. The last thing we'd want to do is give anybody the wrong info, especially someone who's impressionable.</p> <p><strong>MJ:</strong> You have a very lighthearted rapport about some pretty serious issues. Do listeners ever take offense?</p> <p><strong>CF:</strong> We always have to keep reminding the listeners: This is not a sex podcast. This is a comedy podcast where we talk about sex. Anyone who knows anything about comedians knows that we are <em>very morbid people</em>. We can find humor in pretty much anything.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>Apple was censoring your podcast for a while. Did you ever figure out why?</p> <p><strong>KH:</strong> iTunes has third-party censors that kind of comb through everything to make sure nothing was missed. In our podcast the word "fucked" was not bleeped, because we were never told it had to be, and they just eliminated it from all search fields and charts. All the fans tweeting at iTunes podcast is actually what got Apple to call us personally to sort it out. And they were very cooperative and understanding and they apologized&mdash;so that was nice.</p> <p><strong>CF:</strong> But then they just bleeped out the word "titties." I don't understand that. There's way worse words in our titles than "titties." Apple is a notoriously conservative company, as are a ton of big companies. It's not surprising&mdash;it's just disappointing.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>Is part of your strategy to lure people in talking about boobs and threesomes, and then subtly school them about safe sex and female empowerment?</p> <p><strong>CF:</strong> Would you want to listen to a podcast called "Sex Is Like Really Cool When We Consent?" or would you want to listen to a podcast called "Guys We Fucked"? I want to listen to "Guys We Fucked." Those girls seem fun.</p> <p><strong>KH:</strong> So much of the sex talk is so clinical and boring and dull. I think what keeps people listening is that we are funny, and we do tackle some interesting topics.</p> <p><strong>CF:</strong> It was very specifically called "Guys We Fucked." Yes, it's crude, but the women hold the power in that title. Most times, a guy says, "Yeah, I fucked that girl." No, no, no. This is guys <em>we </em>fucked. We did the fucking!</p> <p><strong>KH:</strong> It's taking ownership of your sex life.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>Journalist Rachel Hills had a book come out this year called <em>The Sex Myth</em>. She said, "We internalize this idea of sex as something that is constantly available and that everyone is doing, and if you're not doing it, there's something wrong with you." Do you think our culture today is oversexualized?</p> <p><strong>CF:</strong> We can only speak to our own libidos. We just both coincidentally are hypersexual people. But we've had people on that are more vanilla, as we call them. There's nothing wrong with that. We had a man well into his 30s who was a virgin, and there's nothing wrong with that either. But yeah, of course we're oversexed. We always talk about how we need crazier porn to get off, or a bigger vibrator. We're an oversexualized society. But it's also mind-blowing that in this oversexualized society, we're also so ashamed of sex. We're getting very mixed messages.</p> <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src=";color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p><strong>KH:</strong> I think what society is obsessed with is comparing themselves with everybody else. Everybody needs to relax. Stop comparing yourself to everybody. You walk down the street in New York and see billboards with beautiful women, and it's like, yeah, they're beautiful women. You don't have to be that thin. You don't have to be that beautiful. They're nice to look at. The end.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>If you could interview any celebrity or politician about his or her sex life, who would it be?</p> <p><strong>KH:</strong> [<em>Assumes a high-pitched Southern drawl</em>.] Beyonc&eacute;, because I love her. She is my Jesus. No, but really: Beyonc&eacute;.</p> <p><strong>CF:</strong> Miley Cyrus. She's someone who's made to look like an idiot. But if you really follow her online and listen to the things she says, she's doing her own thing and being herself in the most basic way. Like yeah, you shaved your hair off and you sing in your backyard and you smoke weed and you're sexual. Great! Do whatever the fuck you want. You're an artist. That's what you're supposed to be doing.</p> <p><strong>KH:</strong> She deserves a lot more respect. Everyone loves to roll their eyes at her. The same way everyone loves to roll their eyes at Kim Kardashian. Who cares? She is not interrupting your life. It astounds me how people can hate certain celebrities so much. When, honestly, 99 times out of 100, it's just because they hate something about themselves.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>If you were moderating one of the debates, what would you ask the candidates?</p> <p><strong>KH:</strong> My question would be around the Planned Parenthood videos. Every single [GOP] candidate was really using propaganda at its finest. I was so frustrated that no one called them out to say, "No, Planned Parenthood is getting consent from the mother of that fetus to extract fetal cells to donate for research." It's so different. What's happening is that all these idiots watching the debate, a lot of them are impressionable, and it's kind of dangerous. They're going to hop on this train of, "They're selling baby parts for money? Fuck that." And now everyone wants to defund Planned Parenthood.</p> <p><strong>CF:</strong> Mine would be&mdash;no bullshit, "Why do you want to be president?" But it's just full of fake answers and bullshit. I like who I like, Hillary Clinton! I am not really holding out for a hero to help change the world. I'm going to change the world my fuckin' self as much as I possibly can. I can't be waiting around for other people to do it.</p> <p><strong>KH:</strong> Insert slow clap.</p> <p><strong>MJ:</strong> What inspires you about Hillary?</p> <p><strong>CF: </strong>I love a hard worker. She's fucking put in the time. I don't think there is in history someone who's wanted and tried to be president more. Give her a shot. I think she's really shown up and she's going to give it her all.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>Who are you hoping to talk to in future episodes of the podcast?</p> <p><strong>KH:</strong> People who have had something really dark happen to them and want to talk about it. Or sex workers. There are so many people whose jobs are related to sex that we'd love to talk to. And comedians we really admire who are comfortable talking openly about their sex life. Models. We have a dream list of guests. It's very long.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>So, you won't be interviewing many people that you've slept with anymore?</p> <p><strong>CF:</strong> Honestly, I talk about sex so much now that I've become more conservative in my personal life. I'm not as into it anymore. That sounds terrible, but it's like my job.</p></body></html> Media Interview Sex and Gender Sat, 28 Nov 2015 11:00:10 +0000 Maddie Oatman 290106 at Donald Trump and the Politics of Resentment <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>As you surely know by now, the latest round of Republican campaign cretinism came a few days ago when Donald Trump <a href="" target="_blank">mocked a reporter</a> with chronic arthrogryposis, which restricts the movement of his arms <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_trump_kovaleski.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">and hands. Today Josh Marshall posted a brief but spot-on explanation of why Trump is not only not apologizing for this, <a href="" target="_blank">but going on the offensive over it:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>If you're surprised that Donald Trump isn't apologizing for mocking a reporter's physical handicap and doesn't seem to be paying any price for it, let me help. Half of rightwing politics is about resentment over perceived demands for apologies. <strong>Apologies about race, about fear of Muslims, about not being politically correct, about not liking the losers and the moochers, about Christmas, about being being white.</strong> This will hurt Trump about as much as going after Megyn Kelly did. Remember: his biggest applause line at the first GOP debate came for calling Rosie O'Donnell a fat slob.</p> <p>About half the juice of far-right politics in this country is rooted in refusing to apologize when 'elites' or right thinking people reprove you for not being 'politically correct.'</p> </blockquote> <p>The thing about Trump is that he talks as if he's sitting at home with a couple of his buddies. In settings like that, lots of us make casually derisive remarks that we wouldn't make in public.<sup>1</sup> But Trump <em>does</em> say it in public, and to his supporters that's great. He's finally saying the stuff that they're quite sure <em>everybody</em> says in private.</p> <p>The giveaway was this bit from Trump about Kovaleski: "He should stop using his disability to grandstand and get back to reporting for a paper that is rapidly going down the tubes." That's what Trump's fans think is going on all over the place. The blacks, the Hispanics, the disabled, the immigrants, the poor: sure, they've got problems, but who doesn't? They're just making a big deal out of it in order to gain sympathy and government bennies that the rest of us have to pay for. And the worst part is that you <em>know</em> what everyone else is already thinking about this claptrap, but you get in trouble if you <em>say</em> it. Republican candidates have tapped this vein of resentment for years, but usually in coded ways that won't get them in too much hot water. Trump just dives in. Other politicians may have paved the way, but it's Trump who's finally figured out how to turn it into electoral gold.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>Yes, I do it too, and no, for obvious reasons I'm not going to tell you what my sore spots are.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 27 Nov 2015 23:50:32 +0000 Kevin Drum 290746 at Updated: Everything We Know About the Planned Parenthood Shootings <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><em><strong>Update, 11/28/15, 11:22 a.m.: </strong></em><em>In a <a href="" target="_blank">statement</a> released Saturday morning, President Barack Obama condemned Friday's violence and called for stricter gun control measures, while praising local law enforcement for their work. "This is not normal," he said. "We can&rsquo;t let it become normal. If we truly care about this&mdash;if we&rsquo;re going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience&mdash;then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough."</em></p> <p><em>Colorado Springs Police have confirmed that the suspect in custody for Friday's shooting is Robert Lewis Dear. The 57-year-old suspect is being held at the El Paso county jail without bond and will appear in court on November 30. Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told </em><a href="" target="_blank"><em>the</em> Denver Post</a><em> on Saturday morning that the identities of the two civilians who were killed would likely be released later Saturday or Sunday.</em></p> <p><strong><em>Update, 11/27/15, 6:05 p.m.:&nbsp;</em></strong><em>A Colorado Springs police officer confirmed that two civilians and one police officer were killed during the shooting on Friday. The officer was employed by the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. Nine others were injured during the shooting.</em></p> <p><em style="line-height: 2em;"><strong>Update, 11/27/15, 5:05 p.m.:&nbsp;</strong>Police arrested the alleged gunman Friday afternoon after an hours-long <a href="" target="_blank">standoff</a> with law enforcement. Eleven people were taken to the hospital with injuries, including five police officers.&nbsp;</em></p> <p><em>An investigation is underway and authorities say the gunman left behind items, <a href="" target="_blank">according</a> to the </em>Colorado Independent.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Colorado Springs police department <a href="" target="_blank">is reporting </a>that three officers and an as-yet-undetermined number of other people were shot earlier today outside a Planned Parenthood clinic. The department says the shooter is contained to a specific area but has not yet been apprehended. The department warned residents and reporters to stay away from the area of the shooting. Police have closed Centennial Boulevard in both directions and ordered nearby stores and restaurants to keep customers inside.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20Shot%202015-11-27%20at%203.46.20%20PM.png"></div> <p>According to the <em><a href="" target="_blank">New York Times</a></em>, a local TV affiliate reported earlier today that the gunman was shooting at passing cars from the Planned Parenthood parking lot. <span class="message_body">Colorado Springs was recently the scene of <a href="" target="_blank">a mass shooting on October 31,</a> when three people were killed by a gunman before he died after a shootout with police.</span></p> <p><em>This is a breaking story. Come back here for updates as news develops.</em></p></body></html> Politics Guns Top Stories Fri, 27 Nov 2015 21:14:10 +0000 Hannah Levintova, Nina Liss-Schultz, and Becca Andrews 290741 at Friday Cat Blogging - 27 November 2015 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>I am an idiot. Yesterday, in a fit of bad timing, my camera chose to tell me its memory card was getting full. I had already transferred all the photos to my PC, so I went ahead and deleted everything on the card. Today, I went looking for a terrific Thanksgiving-themed picture of Hilbert that I took a couple of weeks ago, and....I really don't have to finish this story, do I? It turned out I had transferred everything except for about 50 pictures taken two weeks ago. For some reason, I missed those. File recovery restored a bunch of deleted photos, but not the Hilbert pics.</p> <p>It was a really great picture, too. But I guess you'll never see it. Luckily, my sister-in-law came up for dinner yesterday and brought her dogs. So today you get a very special edition of Friday catblogging starring Rupert the dog. Isn't he cute? There are no Thanksgiving pictures of the cats available because they were both upstairs hiding under the bed. They're such brave little furballs.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_rupert_2015_11_27_0.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 115px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 27 Nov 2015 19:13:20 +0000 Kevin Drum 290736 at The Fabulous Memory of Donald Trump <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><a href="" target="_blank">Donald Trump</a> on the reporter he mocked a few days ago:</p> <blockquote> <p>Serge Kovaleski must think a lot of himself if he thinks I remember him from decades ago&nbsp;&mdash; <strong>if I ever met him at all, which I doubt I did.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Serge Kovaleski</a> on Donald Trump:</p> <blockquote> <p>In an interview on Thursday, <strong>Mr. Kovaleski said that he met with Mr. Trump repeatedly</strong> when he was a reporter for <em>The Daily News</em> covering the developer&rsquo;s business career in the late 1980s, before joining <em>The Post</em>. &ldquo;Donald and I were on a first-name basis for years,&rdquo; Mr. Kovaleski said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve interviewed him in his office,&rdquo; he added. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve talked to him at press conferences. All in all, I would say around a dozen times, I&rsquo;ve interacted with him as a reporter while I was at <em>The Daily News</em>.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Donald Trump again:</a></p> <blockquote> <p><strong>I have the world's greatest memory.</strong> It's one thing everyone agrees on.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Donald Trump yet again,</a> during the third Republican debate on October 28:</p> <blockquote> <p>BECKY QUICK: You had talked a little bit about Marco Rubio. I think you called him "Mark Zuckerberg&rsquo;s personal senator" because he was in favor of the H-1B visas.</p> <p>&nbsp;DONALD TRUMP: <strong>I never said that. I never said that.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>In fact, Trump had said exactly that in his own immigration plan <em>six weeks earlier</em>. There are legions of examples like this. Perhaps Trump's memory isn't quite as infallible as he thinks? Or maybe his memory is great but he's a serial liar? Decisions, decisions.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 27 Nov 2015 18:20:42 +0000 Kevin Drum 290731 at My Annual Black Friday Post — This Year With Global Updates! <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 10px 0px 5px 1px;"></p> <p>According to the retail industry, "Black Friday" is the day when retail profits for the year go from red to black. Are you skeptical that this is really the origin of the term? You should be. After all, the term <em>Black ___day</em>, in other contexts, has always signified something terrible, like a stock market crash or the start of the Blitz. Is it reasonable to think that retailers deliberately chose this phrase to memorialize their biggest day of the year?</p> <p>Not really. But to get the real story, we'll have to trace its origins back in time. Here's a 1985 article from the <em>Philadelphia Inquirer</em>:</p> <blockquote> <p>[Irwin] Greenberg, a 30-year veteran of the retail trade, says it is a Philadelphia expression. "It surely can't be a merchant's expression," he said. A spot check of retailers from across the country suggests that Greenberg might be on to something.</p> <p>"I've never heard it before," laughed Carol Sanger, a spokeswoman for Federated Department Stores in <strong>Cincinnati</strong>&hellip;"I have no idea what it means," said Bill Dombrowski, director of media relations for Carter Hawley Hale Stores Inc. in <strong>Los Angeles</strong>&hellip;From the National Retail Merchants Association, the industry's trade association in <strong>New York</strong>, came this terse statement: "Black Friday is not an accepted term in the retail industry&hellip;"</p> </blockquote> <p>Hmm. So as recently as 1985 it wasn't in common use nationwide. It was only in common use in Philadelphia. But why? If we go back to 1975, the <em>New York Times</em> informs us that it has something to do with the Army-Navy game. The <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 20px 15px 30px;">gist of the story is that crowds used to pour into Philadelphia on the Friday after Thanksgiving to shop, they'd stay over to watch the game on Saturday, and then go home. It was the huge crowds that gave the day its bleak name.</p> <p>But how old is the expression? When did it start? If we go back yet another decade we can find a Philly reference as early as 1966. An advertisement that year in the<em> American Philatelist</em> from a stamp shop in Philadelphia starts out: "'Black Friday' is the name which the Philadelphia Police Department has given to the Friday following Thanksgiving Day. It is not a term of endearment to them. 'Black Friday' officially opens the Christmas shopping season in center city, and it usually brings massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks as the downtown stores are mobbed from opening to closing."</p> <p>But it goes back further than that. A couple of years ago I got an email from a Philadelphia reader who recalled the warnings she got from the older women at Wanamaker's department store <a href="" target="_blank">when she worked there in 1971:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>They warned me to be prepared for the hoards of obnoxious brats and their demanding parents that would alight from the banks of elevators onto the eighth floor toy department, all racing to see the latest toys on their way to visit Santa. The feeling of impending doom sticks with me to this day. <strong>The experienced old ladies that had worked there for years called it "Black Friday."</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>"For years." But how many years? Ben Zimmer collects some evidence that the term was already in common use by 1961 (common enough that Philly merchants were trying to change the term to "Big Friday"), and passes along an interview with Joseph Barrett, who recounted his role in popularizing the expression <a href="" target="_blank">when he worked as a reporter in Philadelphia:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>In 1959, the old <em>Evening Bulletin</em> assigned me to police administration, working out of City Hall. Nathan Kleger was the police reporter who covered Center City for the Bulletin. In the early 1960s, Kleger and I put together a front-page story for Thanksgiving and we appropriated the police term "Black Friday" to describe the terrible traffic conditions. Center City merchants complained loudly to Police Commissioner Albert N. Brown that drawing attention to traffic deterred customers from coming downtown. I was worried that maybe Kleger and I had made a mistake in using such a term, so I went to Chief Inspector Albert Trimmer to get him to verify it.</p> </blockquote> <p>So all the evidence points in one direction. The term originated in Philadelphia, probably sometime in the 50s, and wasn't in common use in the rest of the country until decades later. And it did indeed refer to something unpleasant: the gigantic Army-Navy-post-Thanksgiving day crowds and traffic jams, which both retail workers and police officers dreaded. The retail industry originally loathed the term, and the whole "red to black" fairy tale was tacked on sometime in the 80s by an overcaffeinated flack trying to put lipstick on a pig that had gotten a little too embarrassing for America's shopkeepers. The first reference that I've found to this usage <a href="" target="_blank">was in 1982,</a> and by the early 90s it had become the official story.</p> <p>And today everyone believes it, which is a pretty good demonstration of the power of corporate PR. But now you know the real story behind Black Friday.</p> <p><strong>UPDATE:</strong> Last year, the future of Black Friday was global domination. This year, the future of Black Friday is....<a href="" target="_blank">better decorum?</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Last year, British retail chains embraced Black Friday as a way to get a jump-start on the holiday shopping season. What followed was, as the Brits would say, a shambles....Now, retailers are following a different tack. Some are simply abandoning the shopfest. Others will still do Black Friday, despite the frenzy, because shoppers will be buying....But the day will be a bit more subdued. More refined. More, well, British.</p> <p>Walmart&rsquo;s Asda chain was among the first British merchants to adopt Black Friday in 2013, and it&rsquo;s leading the retreat. Its decision to drum up publicity at one London store last year backfired spectacularly when camera crews filmed hordes of shoppers barging through the doors and fighting over an inadequate number of cheap smartphones and video games. To prevent a repeat of the unseemly drama, Asda canceled Black Friday this year and will spread its discounting from November into January. &ldquo;Black Friday in its current guise has gone,&rdquo; says Asda Chief Executive Officer Andy Clarke. &ldquo;It will be interesting to see how many retailers continue it next year.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>I feel certain this is just a temporary setback. America may lead the world in displays of unfettered greed, but it's a universal human aspiration. It's just that it takes a little while to get used to an annual spectacle based on huge mobs of people trampling widows and orphans in order to get good deals on smartphones. But the Romans got used to it,<sup>1</sup> and it helped them forge an empire.</p> <p>Elsewhere, the American tradition of post-Thanksgiving shopping mobs is being imported as&nbsp;<em>Vendredi Noir</em>, <em>Viernes Negro</em>, and plain old English Black Friday. It has now made its way into Colombia, Bolivia, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, South Africa, Nigeria, Lebanon, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Brazil, Costa Rica, Panama, Australia, India, and Mexico. Its foothold is still tentative, possibly because in these countries today is just another Friday. It's not even a day off work, as God intended. But fear not. Like Halloween, Black Friday is yet another vulgar American holiday that will soon wrap its clammy tentacles around households throughout the world.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>Though in their case, it was mobs of people rushing the&nbsp;<em>Mercatus Traiani</em> for Saturnalia deals on dormouse pie with oyster sauce.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 27 Nov 2015 13:00:14 +0000 Kevin Drum 290726 at A Massive Climate Summit Is About to Happen in Paris. Here's What You Need to Know. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>On Monday, roughly 40,000 heads of state, diplomats, scientists, activists, policy experts, and journalists will descend on an airport in the northern Paris suburbs for the biggest meeting on climate change since at least 2009&mdash;or maybe ever. The summit is organized by the United Nations and is primarily aimed at producing an agreement that will serve as the world's blueprint for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the impacts of global warming. This is a major milestone in the climate change saga, and it has been in the works for years. Here's what you need to know:</p> <p><strong>What's going on at this summit, exactly? </strong>At the heart of the summit are the core negotiations, which are off-limits to the public and journalists. Like any high-stakes diplomatic summit, representatives of national governments will sit in a big room and parse through pages of text, word by word. The final document will actually be a jigsaw puzzle of two separate pieces. The most important part is the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). These are commitments made individually by each country about how they plan to reduce their carbon footprints. The United States, for example, has <a href="" target="_blank">committed to cut</a> its greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, mostly by going after carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. Nearly every country on Earth has submitted an INDC, together covering about 95 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. (You can explore them in detail <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.) The video above, from Climate Desk partner <em>Grist</em>, has a good rundown of how this all really works.</p> <p>The INDCs will be plugged in to a <a href="" target="_blank">core agreement</a>, the final text of which will be hammered out during the negotiations. It will likely include language about how wealthy nations should help pay for poor nations' efforts to adapt to climate change; how countries should revise and strengthen their commitments over time; and how countries can critically evaluate each other's commitments. While the INDCs are unlikely to be legally binding (that is, a country could change its commitment without international repercussions), certain elements of the core agreement may be binding. There's <a href="" target="_blank">some disagreement</a> between the United States and Europe over what the exact legal status of this document will be. A formal treaty would need the approval of the Republican-controlled US Senate, which is almost certainly impossible. It's more likely that President Barack Obama will sign off on the document as an "executive agreement," which doesn't need to go through Congress.</p> <p>Meanwhile, outside the negotiating room, thousands of business leaders, state and local officials, activists, scientists, and others will carry out a dizzying array of side events, press conferences, workshops, etc. It's basically going to be a giant party for the world's climate nerds.</p> <p><strong>But what about the terrorist attacks in Paris? </strong>Of course, all of this will be happening while the French capital is still reeling from the bombings and shootings that left 129 dead on November 13. Shortly after the attacks, French officials affirmed that the summit would still happen. But it <a href="" target="_blank">will be tightly controlled</a>, with loads of additional security measures. As my colleague James West has reported, many of the major rallies and marches that activists had planned <a href="" target="_blank">will be canceled</a> at the behest of French authorities. So the festive aspects of the summit are likely to be toned way down, with attention focused just on the formal events needed to complete the agreement. The summit could also direct a lot of attention to the <a href="" target="_blank">links between climate change, terrorism, and national security</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Is this actually going to stop climate change? </strong>Short answer, no. The <a href="" target="_blank">latest estimate</a> is that the INDCs on the table will limit global warming to about 2.7 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. As I <a href="" target="_blank">wrote</a> in October, "That's above the 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) limit <a href="" target="_blank">scientists say</a> is necessary to avert the worst impacts&mdash;but it's also about 1 degree C less warming than would happen if the world continued on its present course." No one expects that this summit will be the end of the battle to stop climate change. As technology improves and countries get more confident in their ability to curb greenhouses gases, they'll be able to step up their action over time. That's why it's essential for the agreement to include a requirement for countries to do so. In any case, even if the whole world stopped burning all fossil fuels right now, warming from existing greenhouse gas emissions would continue for decades, so adaptation is also a crucial part of the agreement.</p> <p>Some environmentalists have criticized that incremental approach as not urgent enough, given the scale of the problem. They could be right. But the fact is that right now, there's no international agreement at all. The Paris talks will lay an essential groundwork for solving this problem over the next couple of decades. And there's a pretty good chance the talks will be successful. At the last major climate summit, in 2009 in Copenhagen, negotiations crumbled because officials couldn't agree on a set of global greenhouse gas limits that would hold most countries to the same standard despite differences in their resources and needs. That's why, this time around, the approach is bottom-up: Because countries have already worked out their INDCs, there's no ambiguity about what they're willing to do and no need to agree on every detail.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the mere existence of the talks has already spurred a wave of <a href="" target="_blank">new investment in clean energy</a>, new commitments from cities and states around the globe, and other actions that aren't part of the core agreement.<em> </em>And the international peer pressure around the INDCs has already made it clear that simply ignoring climate change isn't a realistic geopolitical option, even for countries like Russia or the oil-producing Gulf states. That's a significant change from what would be happening in the absence of the talks. In other words, it's safe to say that the Paris summit has already been somewhat successful, and now we have the opportunity to see how far that success can go.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>So everything is peaches and cream? </strong>Not quite. There are some big remaining questions about how much money the United States and other wealthy countries will commit to help island nations, Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and other places that are highly vulnerable to global warming. The international community is&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">still far short</a> of its goal of raising $100 billion annually by 2020 to fund adaptation. The legal status of the agreement remains unclear. We don't know whether countries can agree on a long-term target date (say, 2100) to fully cease all greenhouse gas emissions. And it's unclear how much tension there will be between juggernauts such as the United States, China, and the 43-country-strong negotiating bloc of highly vulnerable developing nations.</p> <p>At Climate Desk, we'll have an eye on all these questions, and more&mdash;both from the ground in Paris and from our newsrooms in the United States. So stay tuned.</p> <p><em>This story has been revised.</em></p></body></html> Environment Climate Change Climate Desk Foreign Policy International Top Stories Fri, 27 Nov 2015 11:00:17 +0000 Tim McDonnell 290661 at