MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en This GoPro Video From Inside An F-18 Fighter Jet Is Absolutely Bonkers <!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/clipgif.gif"><div class="caption">ABC News</div> </div> <p>GoPro videos are cool. Fighter jets (<a href="" target="_blank">that aren't the F-35</a>) are cool. GoPro videos from fighter jets are unsurprisingly cool.</p> <p>This one was <a href="" target="_blank">featured on ABC News</a> last year but I only discovered it just now courtesy of Nightline producer <a href="" target="_blank">Meredith Frost on Twitter.</a> (<a href="" target="_blank">Follow her</a>.)</p> <p>You should watch it! Or not. I mean, you don't have to. It takes all sorts to make a world. Maybe you want to leave a comment asking incredulously "why is this news?" Either way, have a great night!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe height="354" scrolling="no" src="" style="border:none;" width="630"></iframe><br><a href="">ABC News Videos</a> | <a href="">ABC Entertainment News</a></p></body></html> Contributor Video Sat, 23 May 2015 03:28:10 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 275766 at Holy Shit. This Is How the Duggars' Homeschooling Curriculum Allegedly Dealt With Sexual Abuse. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>All I can tell you about this tweet is that the Duggars <a href="" target="_blank">are/were fans of Bill Gothard</a> and that this sexual abuse "lesson" <a href="" target="_blank">does appear</a> to have been a part of his curriculum at one time.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">The Duggars use Bill Gothard's Advanced Training Institute for homeschooling. This is how sexual abuse is approached: <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Sarah Galo (@SarahEvonne) <a href="">May 22, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p><a href="" target="_blank">Gothard himself has been the subject of sordid allegations</a>.</p> <p><em><strong>Update</strong></em>: "This is what purity culture does. More than anything else, it silences victims." &mdash;<a href="" target="_blank">Samantha Field</a>, whose <a href="" target="_blank">thoughtful post "how Josh Duggar is getting away with it"</a> served as <a href="" target="_blank">Sarah Galo's source</a> for Gothard's insane sexual abuse counseling sheet. <a href="" target="_blank">Go read the whole thing.</a></p></body></html> Contributor Fri, 22 May 2015 22:11:22 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 275761 at Breaking: California Farmers Agree to Water Cuts <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>As California endures its fourth year of grueling drought, officials are getting more serious about mandatory water cuts.&nbsp;Gov. Jerry Brown imposed the state's first-ever water restrictions <a href="" target="_blank">last month</a>, ordering cities and towns to cut water by 25 percent. But the vast majority of water in California goes not to homes and businesses but to farms, which so far have suffered minimal cuts.</p> <p>Today, the state's Water&nbsp;Board <a href="" target="_blank">approved</a> a deal with farmers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in which some farmers will voluntarily reduce water use by 25 percent in exchange for assurances that they won't suffer reductions later in the growing season. "We're in a drought unprecedented in our times," said Board Chair Felicia Marcus. "The action we're announcing today is definitely unusual, but we are in unusual times."</p> <p>Here's a primer on how farms are using water now, who holds rights to it, and what restrictions may come next.</p> <p><strong>How much water do California farms use?</strong></p> <p>Farms consume about 80 percent of the state's water supply, and use it to grow half of the fruits and veggies that are produced in the United States. Almonds and alfalfa (cattle feed) use more than 15 percent of the state's&nbsp;water.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Alfalfa-water-chart-for-dummies_0_0.gif"></div> <p dir="ltr"><strong>What are water rights?</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Water rights enable individuals, city water agencies, irrigation districts, and corporations to divert water directly from rivers or streams for free. The rights are based on a very old seniority system: "Senior" water rights holders are the first to get water and the last to suffer from cuts. There are two primary types of these senior holders: Those who started using the water before 1914 (when the water permit system was put in place), and "riparians," who own property directly adjacent to streams or rivers. Water rights often, but don't always, transfer with property sales.</p> <p><strong>Who are senior water rights holders?</strong></p> <p>Senior water rights holders are the corporations, individuals, or entities who either staked out the water before 1914, when the state started requiring permits and applications for water; those who live directly adjacent to a river or stream; or those who have bought property with senior water rights. This system made sense in the era of pioneers settling the Wild West: As the <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Associated Press</em></a> recently put it, "Establishing an early right to California water was as simple as going ahead and diverting it. Paperwork came later. San Francisco got the Sierra Nevada water that turned its sand dunes into lush gardens by tacking a handwritten notice to a tree in 1902." Today, there are thousands of senior water rights holders; most of them are corporations, many of which are farms. T<span>he holders include utilities company Pacific Gas and Electric, the San Francisco water agency, a number of rural irrigation districts, and Star Trek actor and rancher William <a href="" target="_blank">Shatner</a>.</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>What water cuts were announced today, and what's coming next?</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Today, the Water Board announced that it would accept a voluntary deal in which riparians in the 6,000-acre Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (shown in the map below) would reduce their water use by 25 percent, or fallow 25 percent of their land. In exchange, the Water Board promised them that they wouldn't suffer cuts in the coming year. There are about 1,000 water holders in the area who could be candidates for the deal, which will be enforced by a combination of a complaint system, satellite imagery, and spot checks.</p> <p dir="ltr">In addition, the Board will announce mandatory curtailments to other senior water holders next week for the first time since the 1970s. The Board is still figuring out the location and percentage of these cuts.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/sj-basin-%2B-crops_3.png"></div> <p dir="ltr"><strong>So before today's cuts, farmers were just using as much water as they wanted? </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Well, not exactly. Farmers with "junior" (post-1914) rights in the San Joaquin and Sacramento River basins, home of the normally fertile Central Valley, were ordered to stop using the river's water a month ago. But the regulations are enforced by the honor system and reported complaints; so far, only a <a href=";SECTION=HOME&amp;TEMPLATE=DEFAULT">fifth</a> of junior water holders in the area have confirmed that they are complying.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Department of Water Resources has also made substantial cuts to the state's two major water projects&mdash;a system of aqueducts, dams, and canals across the state that distributes water from water-rich Northern California to the water-poor Central Valley. <span>Growers who use water from the&nbsp;Central Valley Water Project are only receiving 20 percent of their allocated water, and farmers of the&nbsp;State Water Project aren't receiving any at all.</span></p> <p dir="ltr">All of this has led more and more farmers to rely almost exclusively on groundwater, but it's undeniable that the drought has led to less farming overall: Last year, <a href="" target="_blank">five percent</a> of irrigated cropland went out of production, and officials expect that number to rise this year.</p> <p><strong>What is groundwater, and how much of it are farmers using?</strong></p> <p>Groundwater is the water that trickles down through the earth's surface over the centuries, collecting in large underwater aquifers. It's a savings account of sorts&mdash;good to have when it's dry but difficult to refill&mdash;and it&nbsp;wasn't regulated until last year, when Gov. Brown ordered local water agencies to come up with management plans. The water agencies are still in the process of implementing those plans, and in the meantime, no one knows exactly how much groundwater is being used. We do know this: Groundwater usually makes up about 40 percent of the state's total freshwater usage, but lately, the state has been running on it. It made up 65 percent of freshwater use last year, and may make up as much as 75 percent this year. As a result of overpumping, the land is sinking&mdash;as much as a <a href="" style="line-height: 2em;">foot a year</a> in some areas&mdash;and officials are worried that the changing landscape <a href="" style="line-height: 2em;">threatens</a> the structural integrity of infrastructure like bridges, roads and train tracks.</p></body></html> Environment Climate Change Climate Desk Econundrums Food and Ag Fri, 22 May 2015 21:14:05 +0000 Julia Lurie 275636 at These Are the Jobs Robots Will Take From Humans, According To Researchers With Jobs…For Now <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The coming robot invasion is suddenly a hot topic again. This week, Fresh Air interviewed <a href="" target="_blank">Martin Ford</a>, whose book <em>Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future </em>was <a href="" target="_blank">just reviewed</a> in the <em>New York Times</em> by Barbara Ehrenreich. The <em>Harvard Business Review</em> published <a href=";utm_source=Socialflow&amp;utm_medium=Tweet" target="_blank">a long article</a> with advice for protecting your career from super-smart robots. And NPR's Planet Money has been producing a series of stories on how machines are getting really good at doing tasks from <a href="" target="_blank">serving food</a> and <a href=";;utm_medium=social" target="_blank">writing news articles</a> to <a href="" target="_blank">reading emotions</a>.</p> <p>As <em>MoJo</em>'s Kevin Drum, who's been following this rapidly emerging trend for while, <a href="" target="_blank">explains</a>, by 2030 or 2040 we could see a major economic shift in which robots and computers start to make significant chunks of the human workforce obsolete: "When the robot revolution finally starts to happen, it's going to happen fast, and it's going to turn our world upside down."</p> <p>So just how worried should you be that a bot or app is about to force you into early retirement? Planet Money made <a href="" target="_blank">a nifty tool</a> that spits out the chances that your job may soon be done by robots or computers. Some selected results:</p> <blockquote> <p>Telemarketers: <strong>99.0% chance of being automated</strong></p> <p>Umpires and referees: <strong>98.3% </strong></p> <p>Cooks: <strong>96.3%</strong></p> <p>Manicurists and pedicurists: <strong>94.5%</strong></p> <p>Roofers: <strong>89.7%</strong></p> <p>Janitors: <strong>66.3%</strong></p> <p>Massage therapists: <strong>54.1%</strong></p> <p>Programmers: <strong>48.1%</strong></p> <p>Historians:<strong> 43.9%</strong></p> <p>Judges: <strong>40.1%</strong></p> <p>Actors: <strong>37.4%</strong></p> <p>Dancers: <strong>12.7%</strong></p> <p>Writers: <strong>3.8%</strong></p> <p>Chief executives: <strong>1.5%</strong></p> <p>Foresters: <strong>0.8%</strong></p> <p>Preschool teachers: <strong>0.7%</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>The numbers,&nbsp;based on <a href="" target="_blank">a 2013 study</a> by an economist and a machine-learning prof from Oxford, are all over the board. In general, jobs that require negotiation, creativity, and people skills tend to have a lower chance of being done by a robot. So dancers and preschool teachers can sleep easy. As can CEOs, who will no doubt find a way to provide essential oversight of the new 24-7, benefit- and bathroom break-free workforce.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p>Some of the findings seem to push the bounds of what we're currently willing to let machines do. Robocalling people during dinnertime, sure. But will we really see a robot ump calling the 2040 World Series? In theory, a computer can call a strike more accurately than a person, but what's the fun in shouting "Get your vision algorithm debugged!" at a camera behind home plate?&nbsp;</p> <p>Only a mindless machine would read these as precise probabilities. "The researchers admit that these estimates are rough and likely to be wrong," Planet Money concedes. Now if only there were a machine that was good at analyzing data to make reliable estimates&hellip;</p></body></html> Politics Economy Labor Tech Fri, 22 May 2015 20:09:40 +0000 Dave Gilson 275736 at These Photos of Sea Creatures Soaked by Oil in California Will Break Your Heart <!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/beach_3.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Volunteers fill buckets with oil near Refugio State Beach. </strong>Michael A. Mariant/AP</div> </div> <p>On Tuesday, an <a href="" target="_blank">oil pipeline burst</a> near Refugio State Beach west of Santa Barbara, California, sending an estimated 105,000 gallons of oil onto the beach. Up to a fifth of that oil is believed to have reached the ocean, Reuters reports.</p> <p>Now, volunteers and private contractors are racing to clean up the oil. About 6,000 gallons have been collected so far, according to the <a href="" target="_blank">AP</a>. But damage has already been done. At least two pelicans have been <a href="" target="_blank">found dead</a>, and five more pelicans and one sea lion were sent for rehabilitation. Biologists have also found <a href="" target="_blank">many dead fish and lobsters</a>. Local officials have closed the beach at least through Memorial Day, and possibly for <a href="" target="_blank">"many weeks"</a> after that, one scientist at the scene said.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/sea-lion.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>A young female sea lion affected by the Santa Barbara oil spill receives treatment from the SeaWorld California animal rescue team. </strong>Rex Features/AP</div> </div> <p>The company that owned the pipeline, Plains All American, has one of the country's <a href="" target="_blank">worst environmental safety records</a>. An analysis by the <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Los Angeles Times</em></a> found that the company's rate of incidents per mile of pipeline is more than three times the national average. A spokesperson said the company deeply "regrets this release," but it remains unclear what penalties it could face for this latest accident.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Bagged oil on Refugio Beach <a href="">#SantaBarbaraOilSpill</a> <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Max Ufberg (@Max_Uf) <a href="">May 20, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>It could be years before the full impact is truly understood, since damage to the ecosystem can sometimes take a while to manifest. Five years after the <a href="" target="_blank">Deepwater Horizon spill</a> in the Gulf of Mexico, biologists are still tallying the damage.</p> <p>Here are some of the latest images coming in from the scene:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/beach2.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Refugio State Beach </strong>Santa Barbara News-Press/ZUMA</div> <div class="caption">&nbsp;</div> </div> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/crab_0.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>A small crab covered in oil </strong>Troy Harvey/ZUMA</div> <div class="caption">&nbsp;</div> </div> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/whales.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Two whales surfaced near an oil slick off Refugio State Beach. </strong>Michael A. Mariant/AP</div> <div class="caption">&nbsp;</div> </div> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/lobster.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>A dead lobster covered in oil on the shoreline </strong>Troy Harvey/ZUMA</div> <div class="caption">&nbsp;</div> </div> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/octopus.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Clean-up workers remove a dead octopus from the beach. </strong>Mike Eliason/ZUMA</div> <div class="caption">&nbsp;</div> </div> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/crew.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Crews from Patriot Environmental Services collect oil-covered seaweed and sand. </strong>Michael A. Mariant/AP</div> <div class="caption">&nbsp;</div> <div class="caption"> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/boats.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>A helicopter coordinates ships below pulling booms to collect oil from the spill. </strong>Michael A. Mariant/AP</div> </div> </div> <div class="caption">&nbsp;</div> </div> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/site.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Clean-up workers monitor the site of the underground oil pipeline break. </strong>Michael A. Mariant/AP</div> <div class="caption">&nbsp;</div> </div> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="">@KTLA</a> <a href="">@FoxNews</a> <a href="">@KEYTNC3</a> volunteers doing what we could before being kicked off the beach. <a href="">@KEYTNC3Senerey</a> <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Animal Tracks, Inc. (@AnimalTracksInc) <a href="">May 20, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></body></html> Environment Photo Essays Animals Climate Change Climate Desk Energy Top Stories Infrastructure Fri, 22 May 2015 20:00:12 +0000 Tim McDonnell 275731 at For the First Time Ever, Social Conservatives No Longer Outnumber Social Liberals in America <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><a href="" target="_blank">Via Ed Kilgore,</a> here's an interesting chart <a href="" target="_blank">from the good folks at Gallup:</a></p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_gallup_liberal_conservative_1.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 15px 55px;"></p> <p>What's interesting about this is that the change is due almost entirely to Democrats and Democratic leaners. Since 1999, that group has gone from 35 percent socially liberal to 53 percent, and from 20 percent socially conservative to 14 percent conservative.</p> <p>Republicans and Republican leaners, by contrast, have barely budged. In the 2015 polling there's a slight dip in conservative ID and a slight spike in moderate ID, but it's probably just noise. Generally speaking, the lines are pretty flat over the past couple of decades.</p> <p>So why have Democrats changed so much? Perhaps it's the impact of Millennials. Perhaps it's the impact of gay marriage, which Democrats have been far more willing to accept than Republicans. Maybe MSNBC and liberal blogs have had a bigger impact than I would have guessed. I'm not sure. But the increase has been steady enough that it can't be blamed on any specific event, like the Bush presidency or the financial crisis.</p> <p>In any case, this really is a milestone. For a long time, one of the rocks of political analysis in America has been the simple fact that conservatives outnumber liberals. That's been true since at least the 60s, and probably for the entire postwar period&mdash;and it's been a perpetual millstone around Democratic necks. They couldn't win national elections just by getting the liberal vote and a little bit of the center-right vote. They had to get a <em>lot</em> of the center-right vote.</p> <p>But it now looks like that era is coming to an end. With social issues increasingly defining politics, a social liberal is, for all practical purposes, just a plain old liberal&mdash;and the trend of <a href="" target="_blank">increasing liberal ID is already underway.</a> It's still got a ways to go, but the liberal-conservative gap is definitely closing. This probably goes a long way toward explaining why Hillary Clinton and other Democrats seem much more willing to move left than in the past. It's because they no longer think they have to capture a huge chunk of the moderate vote to win. They still need some moderates in their camp, but they no longer need to capture two-thirds or more of them. Like Republicans, they can make do with half or even a bit less.</p> <p><strong>UPDATE:</strong> The headline initially just said "liberal" and "conservative" without mentioning that it was about <em>social</em> liberals and conservatives. Too much shorthand. Sorry about that. I've changed the headline and a few words of the text to make everything clear.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 22 May 2015 16:40:29 +0000 Kevin Drum 275726 at Friday Cat Blogging Counterpoint: I Don't Care About Your Cute Cat <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><em>While Kevin Drum is <a href="" target="_blank">focused on getting better</a>, we've invited some remarkable writers, thinkers, and Friends of Kevin to contribute posts and keep the conversation going. Today, in the spirit of open debate, we interrupt our regularly scheduled <a href="" target="_blank">cat blogging</a> for a counterpoint by <a href="" target="_blank">writer</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">editor</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">podcaster</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">speaker</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">chartisan</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">newsletterer</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">former </a></em><a href="" target="_blank">MoJo</a><em><a href="" target="_blank">er</a></em><em> <a href="" target="_blank">Ann Friedman</a>.</em></p> <p>I don't like cats. And it's even worse than you think: I don't like dogs, either. In fact, I have virtually no interest in animals at all&mdash;even eating them. I am really happy that you are comforted by the presence of your dog. I am thrilled that you and your cat "rescued each other." But, no, I do not want to cuddle with or even see photos of your pet. And please don't bother sending me that video of <a href="">baby red pandas</a> cuddling each other or a <a href="">lion reuniting</a> with its long-lost human pal.</p> <p>I feel nothing.</p> <p>On this point, especially among my feminist peers on the internet, I am in the minority. In honor of the man who <a href="">pioneered Friday cat blogging</a>, I'm going to reckon with the fact that I am just not very interested in furry creatures. The last time I wrote about this was seven years ago, in ancient internet times when I was a blogger for <em>Feministing</em> and <a href="">dared</a> to do some "Friday anti-catblogging." The commenters weren't having it. "I honestly think that there is a valuable conversation to be had about the correlation of cat-hating with misogyny," one wrote.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/kevin-drum/2015/05/cats-dogs-pets-pandas-whatever"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Kevin Drum Animals Top Stories Fri, 22 May 2015 16:34:47 +0000 Ann Friedman 275621 at Kansas Republicans Have Come Up with a Disgraceful New Way to Screw the Poor <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Starting in July, a new law in Kansas will restrict the amount of cash a welfare recipient can take out of ATM's to just $25 a day&mdash;a move that critics say introduces a whole new host of financial burdens&mdash;including high ATM fees and travel costs&mdash;when they access cash.</p> <p>Max Ehrenfreund at the <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Washington Post </em></a>explains:</p> <blockquote> <p>Since&nbsp;most banking machines&nbsp;are stocked only with $20 bills, the $25 limit is effectively a $20 limit.&nbsp;A family seeking to withdraw even $200 in cash would have to&nbsp;visit an&nbsp;ATM 10 times a month, a real burden for a parent&nbsp;who might not have a car and might not live in a neighborhood where ATMs are easy to find.</p> </blockquote> <p>The law, backed by a GOP-dominated Kansas legislature and Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, will benefit the pockets of large banks while taking money from poor families who rely on food stamps.</p> <blockquote> <p>In Kansas's system, every withdrawal incurs a $1 fee, and if the beneficiary doesn't have a bank account, they will have to pay the ATM fee, too. Those fees might be worth it for some families, though, because the card issued by the&nbsp;state of&nbsp;Kansas isn't like a debit card from&nbsp;an ordinary bank. Ordinary debit cards allow their holders to make purchases for free in stores.&nbsp;In Kansas, beneficiaries get two free purchases a month. After that, they pay 40 cents&nbsp;every time they&nbsp;use the card&nbsp;to buy something.</p> </blockquote> <p>The ostensible rationale for this redistribution of wealth is to minimize waste and prevent low income residents from spending their money on non-essentials like alcohol and the much-feared <a href=";_ylt=A2KLqID3R19Voj8AGCQsnIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTByZWc0dGJtBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDBGdwb3MDMQ--?p=Jon+Stewart+Welfare+Lobster&amp;vid=18b18abf873d9a1be0d926b9b75785fa&amp;l=4%3A46&amp;;;tit=Jon+Stewart+slams+Kansas+for+welfare+hypocrisy+and+gun+insanity+%5BFULL+HD%5D&amp;c=0&amp;sigr=11bm6l0bl&amp;sigt=129lccqen&amp;sigi=12141uhgf&amp;age=1428684620&amp;fr2=p%3As%2Cv%3Av&amp;fr=yhs-mozilla-001&amp;hsimp=yhs-001&amp;hspart=mozilla&amp;tt=b" target="_blank">lobster feast</a>. This is the demonizing-the-poor trope that Republican lawmakers frequently deploy to justify punitive control over how low income people spend their money. In addition to the limit on withdrawals, the state's new law carries restrictions to ludicrous levels by prohibiting spending on items such as <a href="" target="_blank">swimming pools and fortune telling sessions.</a></p> <p>As <em>Mother Jones </em>has written in the past, such <a href="" target="_blank">concerns</a> are wildly misplaced and seriously hurt the poor. President Obama recently addressed this conservative characterization, calling out Fox News for portraying the poor as <a href="" target="_blank">lazy "leeches"</a> eager to waste government funds.</p> <p>Fortunately, Kansas' controversial new provision may actually turn out to be <a href="" target="_blank">illegal,</a> violating federal law that mandates welfare recipients "have adequate access to their cash assistance" without enduring high fees.<br> &nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Economy Income Inequality Fri, 22 May 2015 16:19:19 +0000 Inae Oh 275716 at Friday Cat Blogging - 22 May 2015 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>One of the reasons we got a pair of sibling cats last year is because I've always wanted a couple of cats who would sleep together in an adorable little kitty pile. And that's worked out pretty well. Is there anything cuter than Hilbert and Hopper snoozing together in the picture below? I don't think so. I really don't.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hilbert_hopper_2015_05_21.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 40px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 22 May 2015 16:00:12 +0000 Kevin Drum 275711 at Don't Panic: Health Insurance Rates Aren't About to Rise by 50 Percent <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Here's the latest Fox News bait <a href="" target="_blank">from the <em>Wall Street Journal</em>:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Major insurers in some states are proposing hefty rate boosts for plans sold under the federal health law, setting the stage for an intense debate this summer over the law&rsquo;s impact.</p> <p>In New Mexico, market leader Health Care Service Corp. is asking for an average jump of 51.6% in premiums for 2016. The biggest insurer in Tennessee, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, has requested an average 36.3% increase. In Maryland, market leader CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield wants to raise rates 30.4% across its products. Moda Health, the largest insurer on the Oregon health exchange, seeks an average boost of around 25%.</p> <p><strong>All of them cite high medical costs incurred by people newly enrolled under the Affordable Care Act.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Well, of course they do. It's a handy excuse, so why not use it?</p> <p>In any case, we've all seen this movie before. Republicans will latch onto it as evidence of how Obamacare is destroying American health care and it will enjoy a nice little run for them. Then, a few months from now, the real rate increases&mdash;the ones approved by state and federal authorities&mdash;will begin to trickle out. They'll mostly be in single digits, with a few in the low teens. The average for the entire country will end up being something like 4-8 percent.</p> <p>So don't panic. Sure, it's possible that the Obamacare shit has finally hit the fan, but probably not. Check back in October before you worry too much about stories like this.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Health Care Fri, 22 May 2015 14:53:32 +0000 Kevin Drum 275721 at