MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en How White is "Rural America"? <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Over at Vox, Sean Illing writes about <a href="" target="_blank">how we think of rural America:</a></p> <blockquote> <p><strong>The media often conflates rurality and whiteness in this country.</strong> But this is a false &mdash; and misleading &mdash; narrative.</p> <p><strong>Roughly one-fifth of rural residents in this country are people of color, and their interests and political views are as diverse as they are.</strong> When coverage of rural areas dismisses or otherwise ignores this fact, actual political consequences follow: The specific concerns of certain communities simply fall out of view.</p> </blockquote> <p>Illing talks about this with Mara Casey Tieken, as professor at Bates College, who says this:</p> <blockquote> <p>I think policymakers that represent white communities have disproportionately more power than policymakers representing rural communities of color....I think the problem also becomes self-perpetuating because <strong>what gets covered is rural white America,</strong> so that shapes how people think about rural America, and those are the stories that get told over and over again.</p> </blockquote> <p>I want to offer up a guess about one reason why "rural" is so associated with whiteness. <a href="" target="_blank">Here it is:</a></p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_rural_america_media_3.gif" style="margin: 15px 0px 15px 0px;" width="630"></p> <p>When the media reports on rural America, the stories are usually about Ohio or Missouri or Indiana or Pennsylvania or Nebraska. When we talk about "rural" we usually mean the Midwest and the Rust Belt. And as you can see on the map, those places really are mostly white.</p> <p>As Tieken says, this becomes self-perpetuating. The Midwest and the Rust Belt are politically interesting, so rural areas there get lots of coverage. That means we largely see rural America as white, and that in turn means that news items about non-white areas usually end up getting coded as something else: In the Deep South they become "race and the lingering effects of slavery" stories, and in the Southwest they become "Hispanic immigration and the changing demographics of America" stories.</p> <p>Does this happen because of implicit bias among reporters and the rest of us? Or because the Midwest and the Rust Belt really are the interesting areas when it comes to politics (big populations, loud voices, plenty of swing voters)? Maybe both.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 24 Apr 2017 22:33:03 +0000 Kevin Drum 331171 at Lunchtime Photo <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>This is a composite beanbag photo. It's a <em>beanbag</em> photo because I set the camera on my beanbag (<a href="" target="_blank">see here</a> for explanation), which sat on the concrete ledge of an overpass. This allowed me to aim the camera precisely where I wanted and to keep it nice and stable even with an exposure time of one second. There was no way a tripod could have fit where I needed it to.</p> <p>It's a <em>composite</em> photo because I took a lot of shots from precisely the same spot (thanks to the beanbag). Then I chose the best freeway shot and used Photoshop to lay it on top of the best sunset shot. If you look very closely, you might be able to tell where the two shots merge, but you have to be pretty eagle-eyed.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_lunchtime_sunset_freeway_streaky.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 15px 0px 0px 0px;" width="630"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 24 Apr 2017 19:30:07 +0000 Kevin Drum 331121 at How Many People Actually Oppose Obamacare? <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Here's some interesting polling news. However, the interesting part isn't immediately obvious. First up is the <a href=";aRange=twoYear" target="_blank">Kaiser tracking poll</a>, which asks if people have a favorable or unfavorable view of Obamacare:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_kaiser_obamacare_2013_2017.gif" style="border: 1px solid #cccccc; margin: 15px 0px 15px 0px;" width="630"></p> <p>Got it? Now here is today's PPP poll, which asks if people <a href="" target="_blank">support or oppose Obamacare:</a></p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_ppp_obamacare_2017_04_24.gif" style="margin: 15px 0px 15px 50px;" width="500"></p> <p>Kaiser and PPP agree precisely on support for Obamacare: it's at 47 percent. But they produce way different results on opposition: Kaiser has it at 46 percent and PPP has it at 31 percent. The difference is that PPP shows a large number of people who aren't sure.</p> <p>Why? Is this the difference between "view unfavorably" and "oppose"? Or a difference between Kaiser and PPP? It's too big to be a mere statistical blip.</p> <p>The most obvious interpretation is that there are lots of people who have unfavorable views of Obamacare but don't outright oppose it. If that's true, it seems like a pretty obvious opportunity for Democrats.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 24 Apr 2017 18:45:16 +0000 Kevin Drum 331161 at Obama Lays Out Plans in His First Post-Presidency Public Appearance <!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>In his first public appearance since leaving the White House, former President Barack Obama said that empowering young people to take on leadership roles would be the "single most important" issue in his post-presidency life.</p> <p>"What I'm convinced of is that although there are all kinds of issues I care about, and all kinds of issues I can work on, the single most important thing I can do is to help prepare the next generation of leadership to take up the baton and to take their own crack at changing the world," Obama said at a panel discussion on civic engagement that he led at the University of Chicago on Monday.</p> <p>Obama made no direct mention of President Donald Trump or the 2016 presidential election, but he pointed to the divisive nature of US politics as the most significant barrier to progress on a host of problems, from flaws in the criminal justice system to climate change.</p> <p>Obama's return to Chicago marked his reemergence in public life following a three-month vacation. His remarks echoed previous statements in which he's hinted at focusing on community organizing efforts as a private citizen.</p> <p>The free-form panel discussion featured several moments of levity from the former president, including an acknowledgement that panel members were given questions ahead of the event&mdash;a subtle reference to Trump's complaints that Hillary Clinton had an unfair advantage during the presidential debates.</p> <p>Aside from a brief <a href="" target="_blank">statement in support of protesters</a> against Trump's proposed Muslim ban, Obama has avoided publicly criticizing his successor. Trump, on the other hand, has frequently lashed out at his predecessor. Most notably, in March, he accused Obama of ordering illegal surveillance of him and his associates.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> Politics Obama Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:57:31 +0000 Inae Oh 331146 at James Comey Wrap-up: Benghazi and the Press Were to Blame Too <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Many of you only read this blog on weekdays. That's OK. I understand that my random musings may be better than filling out yet another TPS report but not as good as doing actual fun stuff. However, sometimes this means you miss some good posts.</p> <p>For example: James Comey. On Saturday, in a very long post, I made the case that Comey was the decisive factor in Hillary Clinton's loss, not Clinton herself or her campign. <a href="" target="_blank">You should read it!</a> And <a href="" target="_blank">this too.</a></p> <p>Right after I wrote that, the <em>New York Times</em> published a detailed story about why Comey did what he did. My take on the <em>Times</em> piece was simple: "At every step of the way, Comey demonstrated either his fear of crossing Republicans or his concern over protecting his own reputation from Republican attack." <a href="" target="_blank">You should read this too!</a></p> <p>Today, to wrap things up, I want to highlight a couple of additional points. Several people suggested that although Comey screwed up, I should have also mentioned the role the press played in this. I don't want to relitigate the entire campaign, but Nate Silver makes a pithy point about how the press handled the Comey letter:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet tw-align-center" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">These were the lead news stories (per <a href="">@memeorandum</a>) over the final 19 days of last year's campaign. Anything stand out? <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) <a href="">April 24, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>From the time Comey's letter went public to the time he (once again) exonerated Hillary Clinton, Clinton's emails were the top news story in 12 out of 14 news cycles <em>even though there was zero evidence that the emails were either new or incriminating or interesting in any way.</em> Even after years of being taken for a ride on this stuff, the press just couldn't get enough. All you had to do was breathe something about new emails and they went nuts.</p> <p>Second, Mike Tomasky makes a point about Comey that I only touched on because my posts were already so long. <a href="" target="_blank">Here it is:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Fear of political fallout seems to have motivated almost everything he did. Kevin Drum made this point over the weekend. But Drum didn&rsquo;t emphasize what is to me the most telling thing, <strong>which is that there is one group Comey appears not to have feared at all: Democrats.</strong></p> <p>....The <em>Times</em> talked to 30 people, <strong>and apparently the idea that Comey may have feared how the Democrats would react to any action of his just wasn&rsquo;t brought up. Amazing.</strong> Remember what the guy did: He excoriated Clinton&rsquo;s ethics; he announced a reopening of an investigation 11 days before the election with no evidence that there was any reason to think Anthony Weiner&rsquo;s laptop would revealing a smoking gun (it did not, as Comey subsequently announced); and finally, he kept from the public the fact that his bureau was also investigating the other presidential candidate.</p> <p>And through it all, he was worried about what Republicans would do to him, <strong>but apparently never concerned about how Democrats would react to anything he did.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>I spent a lot of time mocking the Republican Benghazi obsession, but this is where it paid off. After four years of this stuff, <em>of course</em> Comey was afraid he'd be the target of endless hearings if Clinton won and it later turned out there was something in the emails. But if Trump won and there was nothing in the emails? People like me would write some critical blog posts. Democrats here and there would mutter about Comey interfering in the election. But that would be it. Republicans had a well-developed reputation as ravening pit bulls. Democrats had a well-developed reputation as occasionally irritable poodles. Everybody wrings their hands over this, but it worked out pretty well for Republicans, didn't it?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:34:54 +0000 Kevin Drum 331156 at The Kinder, Gentler National Front Has Made Only a Small Gain This Year <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>I don't really have any point to make about this, but I was curious about how Marine Le Pen's National Front has done over the past few decades in elections for president of France. <a href="" target="_blank">Here it is:</a></p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_national_front_first_round_voting_0.gif" style="border: 1px solid #cccccc; margin: 15px 0px 15px 0px;" width="630"></p> <p>Since taking over the National Front, Marine Le Pen's strategy has been to sell a softer, less overtly racist version of the party her father founded. This, combined with the nationalist fervor supposedly taking over Europe, has produced a result 4.5 percentage points higher than her lunatic dad received in 1997 and 3.5 points higher than Marine herself received in 2012.</p> <p>Is that a lot? A little? I'm not sure. It doesn't seem like a huge swing to me, and it's a sharp drop from the vote share the party received in recent elections for regional councils and the European Parliament. I don't know enough about French politics to venture an opinion, but it doesn't seem like strong evidence in favor of a big European swing to the nationalist right.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 24 Apr 2017 16:15:41 +0000 Kevin Drum 331151 at A Conservative Muses About the Past <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Conservative writer Jay Nordlinger <a href="" target="_blank">engages in some nostalgia today:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Remember when we knocked President Obama for spending so much time on the golf course? Not all of us did, but many of us did. Donald Trump, for example, was unrelenting in his criticism.</p> <p>You don&rsquo;t hear that anymore. Conservatives don&rsquo;t knock the president for spending so much time on the golf course.</p> <p>....Remember how we counted up the times Obama said &ldquo;I&rdquo; and &ldquo;me&rdquo; in a speech? That was fun. It was kind of a conservative pastime. We don&rsquo;t do that anymore.</p> <p>....I was looking at Sarah Palin, Ted Nugent, and Kid Rock in the White House. What a trio! Striking poses in front of Hillary&rsquo;s portrait and so on. I flashed back to the Clinton &rsquo;90s.</p> <p>Two showbiz women, Markie Post and Linda Thomason, were jumping on the bed in the Lincoln Bedroom. A photo circulated. <em>Man</em>, did we hate it. You have no idea what a big deal this was (to us)!</p> </blockquote> <p>Good times.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 24 Apr 2017 15:15:05 +0000 Kevin Drum 331141 at Trump Slams New Polls as "Fake News"—Except for the Stuff That's Good for Him <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>President Donald Trump lashed out on Sunday at two new polls that showed a majority of Americans are dissatisfied with the president's first 100 days in office.</p> <p>However, unlike previous times the president has criticized similar surveys and the media as "fake," Trump made sure to highlight the bits of positive news the polls contained for his administration, including an <a href="" target="_blank">ABC/<em>Washington Post</em></a> trend that showed that 96 percent of Trump voters do not regret their decision. Here he is trying to have it both ways:</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">New polls out today are very good considering that much of the media is FAKE and almost always negative. Would still beat Hillary in .....</p> &mdash; Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="">April 23, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">...popular vote. ABC News/Washington Post Poll (wrong big on election) said almost all stand by their vote on me &amp; 53% said strong leader.</p> &mdash; Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="">April 23, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">The two fake news polls released yesterday, ABC &amp; NBC, while containing some very positive info, were totally wrong in General E. Watch!</p> &mdash; Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="">April 24, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>In recent days, Trump appears to be increasingly fixated on how his first 100 days in office will be evaluated, even preemptively calling out the media for negatively covering the benchmark before it arrives:</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">No matter how much I accomplish during the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days, &amp; it has been a lot (including S.C.), media will kill!</p> &mdash; Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="">April 21, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></center></body></html> Politics Donald Trump Mon, 24 Apr 2017 15:04:50 +0000 Inae Oh 331136 at John Oliver Explains Why Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner Aren't Going to Save the White House <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>On the latest <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Last Week Tonight,</em></a><em> </em>John Oliver challenged the popular belief that President Donald Trump's closest advisers, his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner, are moderating forces in the White House. According to Oliver, Americans should be concerned, because despite the incredible level of power the couple wields within the administration, the two have little to no actual political experience.</p> <p>He began by specifically calling out Ivanka's history of publicly supporting progressive issues, such as paid maternity leave and climate change, while standing by her father, as his administration sets out to defund Planned Parenthood and limit the role of science and evidence-based policies in government.</p> <p>"The assumption that many of us have that she disagrees with him isn't actually based on much," Oliver said.</p> <p>Oliver then questioned what qualifications Kushner may or may not have to merit his increasingly stacked White House duties, which range from reforming veteran care to brokering peace in the Middle East.</p> <p>"If they are the reason you are sleeping at night, you should probably still be awake."</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> Media Media Mon, 24 Apr 2017 12:09:55 +0000 Mother Jones New York Bureau 331131 at A Loss in the Courts Won't Stop Missouri's Anti-Abortion Wave <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>For decades, Missouri has embarked on a quest to eliminate abortion access. Earlier this year, state legislators <a href="" target="_blank">filed</a> some 14 anti-abortion proposals before the start of the session, making it a prominent example of emboldened efforts on the state level in the Trump era. Those measures were dealt a blow last week when a federal judge <a href="" target="_blank">suspended</a> two longstanding abortion restrictions in the state,<strong> </strong>but with the GOP controlling every level of the state&rsquo;s government, state lawmakers are undeterred in their efforts to restrict abortion access.</p> <p>Today, a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis is the state's sole abortion provider licensed to serve approximately 1.2 million women of reproductive age, many of whom would face a 370 mile drive to access services, a process further protracted by a mandatory 72-hour waiting period. "People are driving hours to St. Louis, or they&rsquo;re crossing over the state line into Kansas or other states in order to access services," says Laura McQuade, the President and CEO of Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, one of the Planned Parenthood affiliates that filed a lawsuit last year challenging the Missouri restrictions.</p> <p>As a leader in restricting abortion access, Missouri passed laws more than a decade ago that required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals and abortion clinics to meet the same structural requirements as ambulatory surgical centers. These laws were subsequently also passed in Texas, where they were challenged and <a href="" target="_blank">finally struck down</a> by the Supreme Court in a 5-3 ruling in <em>Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt </em>in 2016.</p> <p>Last week, in response to a <a href="" target="_blank">challenge</a> filed last fall by two Planned Parenthood affiliates with Missouri clinics, US District Court Judge Howard Sachs agreed to enjoin Missouri's version of the restrictions. Sachs first announced his decision in an <a href="" target="_blank">April 3 memo</a> sent to the parties involved in the case. In his decision, Sachs noted that the restrictions had negatively affected women in the state and failed to comply with the Supreme Court's ruling. "The abortion rights of Missouri women, guaranteed by constitutional rulings, are being denied on a daily basis, in irreparable fashion," he said. "The public interest clearly favors prompt relief." The restrictions will be halted while the effort to permanently strike down the laws moves through the courts.</p> <p>Sachs&rsquo; ruling could have an immediate impact on abortion access in the state. Shortly after the decision was announced, the Missouri Planned Parenthood affiliates <a href="" target="_blank">released a joint statement</a> confirming their desire to increase the number of local abortion providers by expanding services to four additional Planned Parenthood locations. But Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has <a href="" target="_blank">promised</a> to appeal the decision, saying that it was "wrong" with the dire consequence that laws that "protect the health and safety of women who seek to obtain an abortion" can no longer be enforced.&nbsp;</p> <p>Last week&rsquo;s ruling, however, is unlikely to deter state legislators from pursuing further abortion restrictions. Around the same time that Sachs issued the April 3 memo announcing his intent to grant the injunction, two Republican state Senators, frustrated that they were unable to block a St. Louis nondiscrimination <a href="" target="_blank">ordinance</a> protecting women that are pregnant, use birth control, or have had an abortion, took time during a discussion of tax hikes benefiting the state zoo to <a href="" target="_blank">joke</a> that women should go to the St. Louis Zoo for abortions, suggesting that it was "safer" and better regulated than the state&rsquo;s lone abortion provider.</p> <p>Meanwhile<strong>,</strong> shortly after Republicans in Congress <a href="" target="_blank">moved</a> to defund Planned Parenthood, state Republican Rep. Robert Ross proposed an amendment to <a href="" target="_blank">House Bill 11</a>&mdash;an appropriations bill for the Missouri Department of Social Services&mdash;that would allow the state to prevent "abortion services" providers from receiving state family planning funding. This could&nbsp;potentially include any group that provides even abortion referrals upon request.&nbsp; Allison Dreith, the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri characterized the amended bill as having the potential to create "a public health crisis in our state, if family planning clinics, hospitals, and Planned Parenthood are defunded from Medicaid reimbursement." The measure <a href=";year=2017&amp;code=R" target="_blank">passed</a> the House on a 107-39 vote and is now with the Senate.</p> <p>Missouri lawmakers have faced some unintended consequences in their zeal to cut back on family planning services<strong>. </strong>In 2016,<strong> </strong>the state <a href="" target="_blank">rejected</a> the federal family planning funding it had received through Extended Women&rsquo;s Health Services, a Medicaid program for low-income women funded by both the state and federal governments. Federal law already prevents Medicaid from reimbursing providers for the costs of most abortions, but Missouri legislators hoped to go further by completely cutting off funding to groups like Planned Parenthood by rejecting some $8.3 million dollars in federal funds, opting to create a state-funded program that<strong> </strong>would no longer have to abide by federal rules mandating that patients have the ability to choose their health care provider.<strong> </strong></p> <p>In the months leading up to the measure taking effect, Missouri has moved to block all abortion providers, including hospitals, from receiving family planning funding. But to the consternation of Missouri conservatives, many Planned Parenthood clinics in the state remained eligible for the program<strong> </strong>because they are not permitted to provide abortions. "Despite that being a simple amendment last year, apparently [the Department of Social Services] was confused," Ross <a href="" target="_blank">said</a> when discussing his proposed amendment earlier this month, according to reports from the Missouri House of Representatives newsroom. Ross' HB 11 amendment would change things by ensuring that even those who provide information about or referrals for abortions are excluded from the funding program.</p> <p>"They have defined 'abortion services' so broadly that it is going to basically decimate the entire family planning network across the state of Missouri," says Michelle Trupiano, the executive director of the Missouri Family Health Council, which allocates funding to 71 clinics in the state under the federal government&rsquo;s Title X family planning program.</p> <p>Trupiano notes that under the conditions of Title X, many of the state&rsquo;s family planning providers are required to offer abortion referrals upon request, a mandate that could open them up to losing funding should HB 11 be adopted. "There wouldn&rsquo;t be a single provider that could participate in [the program]," she adds. With less than a month remaining in Missouri&rsquo;s legislative session, advocates have begun lobbying lawmakers in hopes of defeating the amendment.</p> <p>But given the history, advocates say, some lawmakers in Missouri will do anything to restrict abortion, even if it means an overall reduction in access for women to health care options in the process. "Responsible legislators want to move forward to other issues," McQuade says. "But this is what Missouri is choosing to spend its time on right now. It&rsquo;s deeply disheartening."</p></body></html> Politics Reproductive Rights Mon, 24 Apr 2017 10:00:11 +0000 P.R. Lockhart 331056 at