MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/rss/blogs_and_articles/fee http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en Trump Takes a Big Bite Out Of His Voters' Food Stamps http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/05/these-maps-show-red-states-will-be-most-affected-cuts-food-stamps <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>President Donald Trump is expected to unveil his 2018 budget today, with <a href="http://m.startribune.com/the-latest-trump-budget-would-cut-food-stamps-by-25-percent/423521743/" target="_blank">$1.7 trillion</a> in cuts over the next 10 years to government programs such as Medicaid, farm subsidies, affordable housing, and other anti-poverty programs.&nbsp;</p> <p>As the <a href="http://m.startribune.com/the-latest-trump-budget-would-cut-food-stamps-by-25-percent/423521743/" target="_blank">Associated Press reported</a>, the budget is expected to include $193 billion in cuts over a decade to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps&mdash;25 percent of the program's budget. About 44 million people benefit from food stamps in the US, especially poorer states in the Southeast. For example, one out of every five people in Louisiana receives food stamps in a given month, according to a <a href="http://www.cbpp.org/research/a-closer-look-at-who-benefits-from-snap-state-by-state-fact-sheets" target="_blank">report</a> by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.</p> <p>Trump's proposed cuts to food stamps will by and large hit his own voters the hardest. Louisiana voted overwhelmingly for Trump, as did its Southeast counterparts Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, and Georgia. Out of the ten states with the highest food stamp-use by population, seven voted Republican in last year's presidential election (see more details in the list below).&nbsp;</p> <p>Other supplemental nutrition programs such as Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) will receive cuts, according to a budget leaked by centrist think tank <a href="http://www.thirdway.org/newsroom/press-releases/third-way-statement-on-the-leaked-may-8-trump-budget" target="_blank">Third Way</a>. The program <a href="https://www.nwica.org/blog/weekly-wic-policy-update-75#.WSNmExMrLOQ" target="_blank">received</a> $6.35 billion in 2017 and will receive $5.15 billion in 2018.</p> <p>These maps show state populations that were enrolled in SNAP in a given month in 2016 and which states voted for Trump.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="400" id="datawrapper-chart-dR2PV" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" scrolling="no" src="//datawrapper.dwcdn.net/dR2PV/4/" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">if("undefined"==typeof window.datawrapper)window.datawrapper={};window.datawrapper["dR2PV"]={},window.datawrapper["dR2PV"].embedDeltas={"100":562,"200":454,"300":427,"400":427,"500":400,"600":400,"700":400,"800":400,"900":400,"1000":400},window.datawrapper["dR2PV"].iframe=document.getElementById("datawrapper-chart-dR2PV"),window.datawrapper["dR2PV"].iframe.style.height=window.datawrapper["dR2PV"].embedDeltas[Math.min(1e3,Math.max(100*Math.floor(window.datawrapper["dR2PV"].iframe.offsetWidth/100),100))]+"px",window.addEventListener("message",function(a){if("undefined"!=typeof a.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var b in a.data["datawrapper-height"])if("dR2PV"==b)window.datawrapper["dR2PV"].iframe.style.height=a.data["datawrapper-height"][b]+"px"});</script><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="354" id="datawrapper-chart-59QDC" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" scrolling="no" src="//datawrapper.dwcdn.net/59QDC/4/" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">if("undefined"==typeof window.datawrapper)window.datawrapper={};window.datawrapper["59QDC"]={},window.datawrapper["59QDC"].embedDeltas={"100":463,"200":381,"300":381,"400":354,"500":354,"600":354,"700":354,"800":354,"900":354,"1000":354},window.datawrapper["59QDC"].iframe=document.getElementById("datawrapper-chart-59QDC"),window.datawrapper["59QDC"].iframe.style.height=window.datawrapper["59QDC"].embedDeltas[Math.min(1e3,Math.max(100*Math.floor(window.datawrapper["59QDC"].iframe.offsetWidth/100),100))]+"px",window.addEventListener("message",function(a){if("undefined"!=typeof a.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var b in a.data["datawrapper-height"])if("59QDC"==b)window.datawrapper["59QDC"].iframe.style.height=a.data["datawrapper-height"][b]+"px"});</script></p> <p>Seven of the 10 states that used food stamps the most in 2016 also favored Trump in the election:<strong> </strong></p> <ul><li>In Louisiana, 20 percent of residents relied on food stamps in 2016. Seventy four percent of these SNAP recipients were families with children. Food stamp dollars put an estimated <a href="http://www.cbpp.org/sites/default/files/atoms/files/snap_factsheet_louisiana.pdf" target="_blank">$1.5 billion</a> back into the state's economy that year. Louisiana voted <a href="http://www.cbpp.org/sites/default/files/atoms/files/snap_factsheet_louisiana.pdf" target="_blank">red</a> last November, with 58 percent of the vote going for Trump, 35 percent for Hillary Clinton.</li> <li>In West Virginia, 20 percent of residents relied on food stamps in 2016. SNAP purchases made with these food stamps pumped <a href="http://www.cbpp.org/sites/default/files/atoms/files/snap_factsheet_west_virginia.pdf" target="_blank">$499 million</a> into the state's economy last year.&nbsp;Just under <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/west-virginia" target="_blank">68 percent</a> of West Virginians voted Republican last November.</li> <li>In Mississippi, 19 percent of residents relied on food stamps in 2016. Twenty two percent of residents live below the poverty line. Just under <a href="http://www.cbpp.org/sites/default/files/atoms/files/snap_factsheet_mississippi.pdf" target="_blank">60 percent</a> voted for Trump.</li> <li>In Alabama, 17 of residents relied on food stamps in 2016. Seventy one percent of the state's food stamp recipients are families with children, compared to 68 percent nationally. More than <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/alabama" target="_blank">60 percent</a> of the state voted for Trump in 2016.&nbsp;</li> <li>In Florida, 17 percent of residents relied on food stamps in 2016, keeping <a href="http://www.cbpp.org/sites/default/files/atoms/files/snap_factsheet_florida.pdf" target="_blank">513,000</a> people out of poverty between 2009 and 2012. Florida's race was close: 48 percent of votes went for Trump, 47.4 for Hillary Clinton (and 2.2 percent for Gary Johnson).</li> <li>In Georgia, 17 percent of residents relied on food stamps in 2016. Fifty-one percent of voters chose Trump.</li> <li>In Tennessee, 17 percent of residents relied on food stamps in 2016. Nearly <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/tennessee" target="_blank">sixty one</a> percent of voters opted for Trump in the presidential election.</li> </ul></body></html> Politics Donald Trump Food Tue, 23 May 2017 10:00:09 +0000 Jenny Luna 333326 at http://www.motherjones.com Lead and Crime in Popular Culture http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/05/lead-crime-update-popular-culture <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Well, this is a kick in the gut. In tonight's season finale of <em>Supergirl</em>, the good guys unearth a weapon originally designed by Lex Luthor as a way of encouraging Superman to self-deport himself by irradiating the atmosphere with kryptonite. At the moment, however, the threat to Earth is from Daxamites, whose weakness isn't kryptonite, but lead:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_supergirl_1.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 15px 0px 0px 0px;" width="310"><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_supergirl_2.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 15px 0px 0px 6px;" width="310"></p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_supergirl_3b.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 0px 0px 0px 0px;" width="310"><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_supergirl_4.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 0px 0px 0px 6px;" width="310"></p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_supergirl_5.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 0px 0px 0px 0px;" width="630"></p> <p>At least Superman has to the good sense to look unhappy about this. On the bright side, if irradiating the atmosphere with lead ends up causing more crime, that's a sort of job security for him, isn't it?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 23 May 2017 06:46:42 +0000 Kevin Drum 333361 at http://www.motherjones.com James Corden Just Delivered an Unscheduled, Heartbreaking Tribute to Manchester http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/05/manchester-attack-james-corden-late-late-show-tribute <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>James Corden, the host of <em>The Late Late Show </em>on CBS, broke into his pre-taped show Monday night to deliver an unscheduled and impassioned tribute to the victims of the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/05/fatalities-manchester-ariana-grande-concert-developing-1" target="_blank">attack</a> on an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester that killed 19 people and injured 50 others.</p> <p>The British comedian, visibly shaken, described Manchester as a place with "strong, proud, caring people with community at its core."</p> <p>"It's famous for incredible music&mdash;Oasis and Joy Division. It was the birthplace of the leader of the suffragettes," Corden said. "It's a place full of comedy, curries and character."</p> <p>"We'll all go to bed holding our little ones even tighter this evening," he said.</p> <p>Watch below:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">James offers his thoughts on the tragedy in Manchester. <a href="https://t.co/dj7jtm3TqL">pic.twitter.com/dj7jtm3TqL</a></p> &mdash; The Late Late Show (@latelateshow) <a href="https://twitter.com/latelateshow/status/866855813415129088">May 23, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></body></html> Politics Video Tue, 23 May 2017 03:47:24 +0000 James West 333356 at http://www.motherjones.com Trump Officially Proposes Stripping All Federal Funds From Planned Parenthood http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/05/trump-budget-proposes-unprecedented-exclusion-planned-parenthood-all-federal-fundin <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In an unprecedented move, the White House is set to release a budget proposal that would withhold all federal funds from abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood. The impact would be far-reaching. Federal funds are already prohibited from being used to pay for most abortions; the new proposal, if approved by Congress, would bar health care providers around the country from receiving federal support for things like STD treatment, cancer screenings, and even Zika prevention&mdash;if they also happen to provide abortions.</p> <p>The Trump administration is slated to issue its full 2018 budget request on Tuesday morning, but documents circulated on Monday give a glimpse of what the administration has planned. The budget's executive summary proposes that "certain entities that provide abortions, including Planned Parenthood," be excluded from receiving any federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services through Medicaid and other health programs.</p> <p>In practice, this will mean that Planned Parenthood and other entities that provide abortions would suddenly be excluded from participating in the full array of federally funded health programs, even though it is already illegal for federal money to pay for most abortions, thanks to the Hyde amendment. This includes Medicaid&mdash;low-income patients would be unable to use their Medicaid coverage for non-abortion care at Planned Parenthood clinics. It includes Title X family planning grants, which help fund reproductive health care around the country. It includes Violence Against Women Act grants aimed at sexual assault prevention and Centers for Disease Control grants intended to help prevent breast and cervical cancer. It even includes CDC funding for&nbsp;prevention and education efforts relating to Zika virus, which causes severe birth defects.</p> <p>In 2015, <a href="https://www.plannedparenthood.org/files/2114/5089/0863/2014-2015_PPFA_Annual_Report_.pdf" target="_blank">43 percent</a> of Planned Parenthood's revenue came from government health services grants and Medicaid reimbursement. About <a href="https://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/blog/how-federal-funding-works-at-planned-parenthood" target="_blank">60 percent</a> of the organization's 2.5 million patients rely on Medicaid or Title X to pay for their care at Planned Parenthood facilities. Under the administration's budget proposal, all of these patients would have to find somewhere else to get their care.</p> <p>The budget blueprint also proposes spending cuts and eligibility restrictions on social services aimed at helping families and low-income parents, including food stamps, temporary assistance for needy families, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Child Tax Credit. The proposal also includes six weeks of paid leave for new mothers and fathers following the birth or adoption of a child. The summary does not include full details of the program, but it says that the leave program will be funded via unemployment insurance and that states will each work out leave specifics for themselves.</p> <p>The budget "guts programs designed to help women and their families put food on the table, get the medical care they need, and make ends meet," said Dawn Laguens, the executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "From day one, women's health has been squarely in the crosshairs of this administration. If passed, this budget would undo decades of progress for women when it comes to their ability to access health care, their economic advancement, and their ability to lead safe, productive lives."</p></body></html> Politics Reproductive Rights Tue, 23 May 2017 02:01:31 +0000 Hannah Levintova 333351 at http://www.motherjones.com Trump Asked the NSA and DNI to Repudiate the Russia Investigation http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/05/trump-asked-nsa-and-dni-repudiate-russia-investigation <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>According to the <em>Washington Post</em>, James Comey wasn't the only person that President Trump pressured <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-asked-intelligence-chiefs-to-push-back-against-fbi-collusion-probe-after-comey-revealed-its-existence/2017/05/22/394933bc-3f10-11e7-9869-bac8b446820a_story.html" target="_blank">regarding the FBI's Russia investigation:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, <strong>urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.</strong></p> <p>Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the requests, which they both deemed to be inappropriate, according to two current and two former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private communications with the president....Trump&rsquo;s conversation with Rogers was documented contemporaneously in an internal memo written by a senior NSA official, according to the officials. It is unclear if a similar memo was prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to document Trump&rsquo;s conversation with Coats.</p> <p>....In addition to the requests to Coats and Rogers, <strong>senior White House officials sounded out top intelligence officials about the possibility of intervening directly with Comey to encourage the FBI to drop its probe of Michael Flynn</strong>....&ldquo;Can we ask him to shut down the investigation? Are you able to assist in this matter?&rdquo; one official said of the line of questioning from the White House.</p> </blockquote> <p>This. Is. Nuts. Trump is not only corrupt, he's an unbelievable moron. He <em>personally</em> asked the NSA director and the overall director of national intelligence to publicly weigh in on an ongoing investigation. Not only that, he basically asked them to lie, since they weren't privy to what the FBI was doing. In what universe did Trump think that either of them would respond positively to such a blunt request? Or that this kind of thing wouldn't leak?</p> <p>What's more, in addition to directly asking Comey to shut down the FBI investigation, he apparently had some of his aides call senior intelligence officers to ask them to intervene with Comey. There are two big questions here:</p> <ul><li>What is Trump afraid the investigation will find? Whatever it is, apparently <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/05/michael-flynn-fifth-amendment-congress-subpoena-trump-russia" target="_blank">Michael Flynn is afraid of it too.</a></li> <li>When do the impeachment proceedings begin?</li> </ul><p>If there really are contemporaneous memos from Comey, Rogers, and maybe Coats, and if all three can be called to testify about their conversations with Trump, then what more do we need? This is Nixon-level stuff.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 22 May 2017 23:22:11 +0000 Kevin Drum 333336 at http://www.motherjones.com Suspected Terror Attack Leaves 22 Dead, 59 Injured at UK Ariana Grande Concert http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/05/fatalities-manchester-ariana-grande-concert-developing-1 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>At least 22 people have been killed and 59 others injured after an explosion rocked Manchester Arena in the United Kingdom, where thousands of fans had flocked to see American pop superstar Ariana Grande.</p> <p>Police officials said they believed the attack was carried out by one man carrying an <a href="https://twitter.com/gmpolice/status/866905693810569216" target="_blank">"improvised explosive device"</a> who died at the arena. Hours later, authorities also confirmed the arrest of a 23-year-old man in connection to the attack.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">With regards to last night&rsquo;s incident at the Manchester arena, we can confirm we have arrested a 23-year-old man in South Manchester.</p> &mdash; G M Police (@gmpolice) <a href="https://twitter.com/gmpolice/status/866970384033251328">May 23, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>"We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack," UK Prime Minister Theresa May said in a statement released around 2:20 a.m. local time.</p> <p>US law enforcement officials briefed on the rapidly unfolding police investigation in the UK have told <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-security-manchester-suicide-idUSKBN18J03T?il=0" target="_blank">several</a> <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/22/europe/live-blog-manchester-arena/" target="_blank">news</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/MaddowBlog/status/866831134146953216" target="_blank">outlets</a> that early<span id="article-text"><span class="article-prime"> evidence points to a possible suicide bomber outside the venue as the cause of the explosion. </span></span>US officials <a href="https://twitter.com/ZekeJMiller/status/866840306553147393" target="_blank">said</a> they had no information indicating any current threats against music venues in the US.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Western LEO tells CNN a male at the scene in Manchester has been identified as probable suicide bomber, per <a href="https://twitter.com/evanperez">@evanperez</a> &amp; <a href="https://twitter.com/PamelaBrownCNN">@PamelaBrownCNN</a></p> &mdash; Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) <a href="https://twitter.com/jaketapper/status/866827481059385344">May 23, 2017</a></blockquote> <p>If confirmed as an act of terror, it would be the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/22/world/europe/ariana-grande-manchester-police.html?hp&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;clickSource=story-heading&amp;module=a-lede-package-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">deadliest in the UK since the 2005 bombings of the London subway</a>.</p> <p>Police first responded to reports of an explosion at the arena around 10:35 p.m. local time. There, they were met with a scene of pandemonium as tactical units and ambulances surrounded the venue. Police are still warning the public to stay away.</p> <p>Witnesses inside the arena reported a loud bang and then mayhem as concert-goers attempted to flee.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Latest statement on incident at Manchester Arena <a href="https://t.co/BEpLOan3dY">pic.twitter.com/BEpLOan3dY</a></p> &mdash; G M Police (@gmpolice) <a href="https://twitter.com/gmpolice/status/866808564316344321">May 23, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>The venue said via Twitter that the incident occurred "in a public space" while fans were just leaving the concert:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="und"><a href="https://t.co/cPwkQbrYp2">pic.twitter.com/cPwkQbrYp2</a></p> &mdash; Manchester Arena (@ManchesterArena) <a href="https://twitter.com/ManchesterArena/status/866808098798927873">May 23, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">UK police: "A number of fatalities" after reports of an explosion at Ariana Grande concert. <a href="https://t.co/RgYcXGZ7q6">https://t.co/RgYcXGZ7q6</a></p> &mdash; The Associated Press (@AP) <a href="https://twitter.com/AP/status/866792364244963328">May 22, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Police statement on incident at Manchester Arena <a href="https://t.co/gaKASukx9a">pic.twitter.com/gaKASukx9a</a></p> &mdash; G M Police (@gmpolice) <a href="https://twitter.com/gmpolice/status/866786909544230912">May 22, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>The arena holds around 20,000 fans, there to see Grande, who is in the midst of her multi-city <em>The Dangerous Woman Tour. </em></p> <p>On social media, people have been tagging posts with #roomformanchester to offer room and support for victims of the attack.</p> <p><em>This is a developing story and will be updated.</em></p></body></html> Politics Mon, 22 May 2017 23:13:54 +0000 James West 333331 at http://www.motherjones.com What's the Best Way to Measure Inflation? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/05/whats-best-way-measure-inflation <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>This post is long and wonky and probably not worth your time to read. You have been warned! But it's something I've been wrestling with for a while, and this is basically a way of getting my thoughts in order so that I can continue pondering it.</p> <p>The subject is inflation. Specifically, what's the best way to measure inflation? I'm talking here about the best <em>general</em> index, not specialized things like CPI-X (an attempt to measure inflation for the elderly) or core PCE (useful to the Fed as a way of judging the strength of the economy). The most common measure of inflation is the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and that's what you see in the headlines each month when the BLS reports a new inflation number.</p> <p>But CPI has its problems, and lots of people prefer the Personal Consumption Expenditure index (PCE). Scott Winship has led the charge on this, and you can read a <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottwinship/2015/06/15/debunking-disagreement-over-cost-of-living-adjustment/" target="_blank">pretty readable explanation of his views here.</a> Long story short, Winship makes a good case for the problems with CPI, but I'm not thrilled with PCE either. I'm usually interested in measuring the lived experience of people&mdash;especially the non-rich&mdash;and in my opinion <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/07/yes-we-should-raise-minimum-wage" target="_blank">PCE uses a weighting system that obscures this.</a></p> <p>So what's the best index? First off, there are plenty of times when it doesn't matter. Here's a chart showing CPI and PCE over the last ten years:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_cpi_pce_2006_2016.gif" style="border: 1px solid #cccccc; margin: 15px 0px 15px 0px;" width="630"></p> <p>They're nearly identical. If you're comparing something to last year, or even to ten years ago, just go ahead and use CPI. It doesn't really make any difference. Here's a comparison over 20 years:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_cpi_pce_1996_2016.gif" style="border: 1px solid #cccccc; margin: 15px 0px 15px 0px;" width="630"></p> <p>There's a little more difference, but still not that much. Obviously this difference might be important in an academic or professional economic setting, but for everyday journalistic use, you can use CPI for a comparison of anything between a year and 20 years ago. It's going to be fine.</p> <p>But what if you want to go back further? Here are both indexes going back to 1978:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_cpi_pce_1978_2016.gif" style="border: 1px solid #cccccc; margin: 15px 0px 15px 0px;" width="630"></p> <p>Now we're up to a difference of 21 percent. That's enough to really matter. Luckily, the BLS has created a series called CPI-U-RS that's become pretty popular. I like it because it seems to hit the right sweet spot between fixing the problems with CPI but retaining better weightings than PCE. In terms of the actual things that people use and buy, I think that CPI-U-RS is probably the best measure we have.</p> <p>Unfortunately, it only goes back to 1978. However, before then there's only a tiny difference between CPI and PCE. Here they are from 1929 to the present:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_cpi_pce_1929_2016_1.gif" style="border: 1px solid #cccccc; margin: 15px 0px 15px 0px;" width="630"></p> <p>So the best index to use is PCE (indexed to 1978=104) from 1929-1977 and CPI-U-RS from 1978-present. It would be nice if BLS would merge the two series and give the result a snazzy name like CPI-A1, but they don't. Until then we'll just have to <a href="https://www.motherjones.com/files/cpi_pce_and_cpiurs.xls" target="_blank">home brew it ourselves.</a></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 22 May 2017 22:55:30 +0000 Kevin Drum 333321 at http://www.motherjones.com Texas Goes After Trans Kids With Its Latest Bathroom Bill http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/05/texas-goes-after-trans-kids-with-latest-bathroom-bill <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Earlier today the Texas House voted overwhelmingly to give final approval to<em><strong> </strong></em><a href="http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/amendments/faspdf/SB02078H22.PDF" target="_blank">legislation</a> that would force transgender students in public schools and public charter schools to use the bathroom that corresponds to their sex assigned at birth or a bathroom that's separate from other students&mdash;ultimately prohibiting them from using the facility that best matches their gender identity.</p> <p>The move comes in the final days of a tense legislative session that ended as it began: debating the economic, moral,<strong> </strong>and personal stakes of a so-called "bathroom bill." And it seemed, as recently as last week, as though the session might end without passing the long-debated legislation, prompting Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to threaten to force a special session if lawmakers failed to pass the bill.</p> <p>Part of the hold up in the House was the sweeping nature of the Senate's bathroom bill, <a href="https://www.texastribune.org/2017/03/14/texas-senate-signs-so-called-bathroom-bill/" target="_blank">passed back in March</a>, which aims to prohibit transgender people from using the bathroom most appropriate for them in all public buildings <em>and</em> public schools, while simultaneously prohibiting localities from passing nondiscrimination ordinances. Conservative lawmakers in the House bristled at the legislation not out of concern for civil rights, but for state finances. The Texas Association of Businesses estimated the initial proposal could lose the state <a href="http://www.statesman.com/news/dan-patrick-unveils-texas-transgender-bathroom-bill/aC1uoDoDysOLYW0MwVFWQO/" target="_blank">$8.5 billion per year</a>. When North Carolina passed legislation barring transgender people from using the bathroom that best matches their gender identity and nullifying local nondiscrimination ordinances, businesses relocated and major revenue-generating events were rescheduled in other states. So, instead of voting on the more extreme Senate legislation, SB 6, Texas's House amended a bill focused on school emergency operations, SB 2078. To become law, their amendment focused solely on schools. Now it's kicked back to the Senate for approval.</p> <p>Even still, narrowing the scope of the bill did little to placate Democrats, who say this legislation is about a lot more than bathrooms. "White. Colored. I was living through that era&hellip;bathrooms divided us then, and it divides us now," said Rep. Senfronia Thompson<strong> </strong>(D-Houston), a black woman, according to the <em><a href="https://www.texastribune.org/2017/05/21/amid-special-session-threat-house-eyes-bathroom-restrictions-schools/">Texas Tribune</a></em>. "America has long recognized that separate but equal is not equal at all."</p> <p>Many Republicans, including the representative who authored the amendment, reject that assessment and insist the legislation isn't discriminatory. "There is absolutely no intent, and I would argue nothing in this language discriminates against anybody," said Rep. Chris Paddie (R-Marshall). "We want to make sure we provide definitive guidance to our school districts."</p> <p>Beyond fears for students' civil rights, the bill's opponents also point out that this kind of legislation is dangerous for transgender youth, who are at a <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-truth-about-exercise-addiction/201612/why-transgender-people-experience-more-mental-health">heightened risk</a> for having depression, having anxiety, or attempting suicide compared to the general population, something linked to the <a href="https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/press/press-releases/28-jan-201/">discrimination</a> they face. Access to the appropriate facilities plays a role in mental health outcomes: a 2016 study in the <em><a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00918369.2016.1157998?journalCode=wjhm20&amp;">Journal of Homosexuality</a></em> found that being denied access to housing and bathrooms that match one's gender identity in college increased a transgender person's risk for suicide.</p> <p>It's also clear that separate, segregated facilities are not equivalent to being able to use the appropriate bathroom. The bleak reality for trans students has been driven home by a five-year-old transgender girl and her mom, who have become the public faces of the Texas fight and profiled by several media outlets. Kai Shappley had an accident when the gender-neutral bathroom she was supposed to use in the nurse's office was locked. "As a mom, you don't want your kid to become bitter and jaded, and so you tell them it's not your fault and it happens," her mother said in an interview with <a href="http://fusion.kinja.com/she-was-an-ultraconservative-texas-christian-then-kai-1793859323" target="_blank"><em>Fusion</em></a> earlier this year. "But in your head, you're like &lsquo;What the hell? Nobody could get her to a potty?'" (The school says there's no evidence the accident happened.)</p> <p>"There is no moral middle ground on discrimination," said Texas Freedom Network president Kathy Miller in a statement. "Either you discriminate, or you don't. This amendment, if it becomes law, would leave transgender students even more vulnerable to being stigmatized and bullied simply because they are different."</p></body></html> Politics Gay Rights Human Rights Sex and Gender Mon, 22 May 2017 22:15:47 +0000 Ashley Dejean 333296 at http://www.motherjones.com Trump Learns that Arabs Want a Palestinian Peace Deal http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/05/trump-learns-arabs-want-palestinian-peace-deal <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In some ways, it's sort of entertaining to have a president who's literally learning the most basic facts of the world <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/22/world/middleeast/trump-israel-visit.html" target="_blank">on the job:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>President Trump began a two-day visit to Israel on Monday with a blunt assessment for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: If Israel really wants peace with its Arab neighbors, <strong>the cost will be resolving the generations-old standoff with the Palestinians</strong>....&ldquo;I was deeply encouraged by my conversations with Muslim world leaders in Saudi Arabia, including King Salman, who I spoke to at great length. King Salman feels very strongly and, I can tell you, would love to see peace with Israel and the Palestinians.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>It's an open question whether a Palestinian peace deal would really produce comity with the rest of the Arab world, but it's certainly a prerequisite and has been for decades. But I guess Trump hadn't really considered that a serious obstacle until he heard it face-to-face from the king.</p> <p>Anyway, we all know where this is going, right? Benjamin Netanyahu wants to stay on good terms with Trump, and Trump wants a peace deal. Everyone on the planet knows perfectly well that Netanyahu has no interest in this, but he'll string Trump along anyway. A "peace process" will be set up, Jared Kushner will preside over a meeting or two, and Netanyahu will settle back and wait for some kind of bombing or other terror attack to declare that he tried but the Palestinians just can't be dealt with. Every neocon in America will immediately jump on the bandwagon and insist that this is the final straw. Things were so hopeful thanks to Trump's goodwill, but they bombed innocent women and children while Israel was earnestly trying to make peace! They're savages! Netanyahu will ask Trump for a statement of support, and of course Trump will provide it because terrorists are bad. And that will be that.</p> <p>The whole thing will be a ridiculous charade, and everyone except Trump will know it.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 22 May 2017 21:22:53 +0000 Kevin Drum 333311 at http://www.motherjones.com Chris Christie Warned Trump Against Hiring Michael Flynn Last Fall http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/05/chris-christie-warned-against-hiring-michael-flynn-last-fall <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie advised Donald Trump against hiring Michael Flynn, both before the November election and afterward, Christie said on Monday. This warnings came when Christie served as chairman of Trump's transition team and before the team was made aware that Flynn, who served briefly as Trump's national security adviser, was under federal investigation.</p> <p>"I didn't think that he was someone who would bring benefit to the president or to the administration," Christie <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/05/22/chris-christie-i-wouldnt-let-general-flynn-in-the-white-house-let-alone-give-him-a-job/?tid=sm_tw&amp;utm_term=.5f02ee7b16c8" target="_blank">said at a news conference</a>. "And I made that very clear to candidate Trump, and I made it very clear to President-elect Trump. That was my opinion, my view."</p> <p>Christie made clear that he did not believe Flynn was a suitable choice. "If I were president-elect of the United States, I wouldn't let General Flynn in the White House, let alone give him a job," he said.</p> <p>Shortly after the election, Vice President Mike Pence took over the transition team from Christie. Christie was recently named the head of a White House commission to combat drug addiction, and he has been mentioned as a potential addition to the White House staff. Flynn was forced to resign in February after it became public that he had lied to Pence about his contact with the Russian ambassador.</p> <p>Christie reportedly clashed with Flynn, who was an adviser to Trump during the campaign last year. According to <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/u-s-official-donald-trump-s-body-language-claim-doesn-n644856" target="_blank">NBC News</a>, both men were present at Trump's first intelligence briefing last August.</p> <blockquote> <p>Meanwhile, four people with knowledge of the matter told NBC News that one of the advisers Trump brought to the briefing, retired general Mike Flynn, repeatedly interrupted the briefing with pointed questions.</p> <p>Two sources said Christie, the New Jersey governor and Trump adviser, verbally restrained Flynn&mdash;one saying Christie told Flynn to shut up, the other reporting he said, "Calm down." Two other sources said Christie touched Flynn's arm in an effort get him to calm down and let the officials continue.</p> </blockquote> <p>Both Christie and Flynn denied this at the time. But if it's true, it would help explain why Christie on Monday said that Flynn was "not my cup of tea" and that they "didn't see eye to eye."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> Politics Donald Trump Investigations Mon, 22 May 2017 20:07:16 +0000 Pema Levy 333301 at http://www.motherjones.com