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  • Peak Oil Is All About Cheap Oil

    MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones
    Kevin Drum
    30 Sep 2014 | 10:37 am
    Russell Gold writes in the Wall Street Journal that perhaps the idea of peak oil is a myth. After all, technology keeps getting better and better, allowing us to extract more oil from old fields. Of course, it's expensive to do business this way: When the oil industry overcomes an obstacle and boosts oil production, costs typically increase. That opens the door for a better and cheaper energy source that will eventually displace crude oil. So at some point, the cost of getting more and more oil likely will get so high that buyers can't—or won't—pay....Already, economics is…
  • Mitt Romney's Latest Excuse for His 47 Percent Remarks Is a Doozy

    MoJo Articles | Mother Jones
    David Corn
    30 Sep 2014 | 9:15 am
    Mitt Romney explains his 47 percent remark, Take 23. During a recent sit-down with the New York Times' Mark Leibovich, the former GOP presidential nominee—who seems to be almost flirting with the possibility that he just might consider pondering a presidential run in 2016, maybe—took yet one more stab at explaining the comments that put his political career in jeopardy. And this time he's blaming the rich guy who posed the question. But first, let's look at Romney's evolving explanations for why he told a private gathering of $50,000-or-more donors that nearly half of Americans…
  • Peak Oil Is All About Cheap Oil

    Kevin Drum Feed | Mother Jones
    Kevin Drum
    30 Sep 2014 | 10:37 am
    Russell Gold writes in the Wall Street Journal that perhaps the idea of peak oil is a myth. After all, technology keeps getting better and better, allowing us to extract more oil from old fields. Of course, it's expensive to do business this way: When the oil industry overcomes an obstacle and boosts oil production, costs typically increase. That opens the door for a better and cheaper energy source that will eventually displace crude oil. So at some point, the cost of getting more and more oil likely will get so high that buyers can't—or won't—pay....Already, economics is…
  • New Mexico AG Opens Criminal Investigation Into Missing Susana Martinez Emails

    Political Mojo | Mother Jones
    Andy Kroll
    30 Sep 2014 | 9:57 am
    The New Mexico Attorney General's office is opening a criminal investigation into missing and/or destroyed emails covering part of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's tenure as a district attorney and also the tenure of Martinez's successor, Amy Orlando, a close friend of the governor. Complicating the investigation is the fact that New Mexico's AG, Democrat Gary King, is Martinez's opponent in this year's gubernatorial race.  The investigation was triggered by an internal report released last week by the district attorney in New Mexico's Third…
  • It's Now Illegal to Kill Wolves in Wyoming

    Blue Marble Feed | Mother Jones
    Maddie Oatman
    24 Sep 2014 | 10:24 am
    For the past two years, killing a wolf in Wyoming was pretty simple. In a trophy game area near the border of Yellowstone, licensed hunters were allowed to take a certain number of gray wolves. In the rest of the state, or about 80 percent of Wyoming's land, anyone could kill a limitless number of them on sight. Read "10 Reasons We Need Wolves" But that's about to change. A judge ruled Tuesday that the animals' delisting in 2012, which handed management of the species over to the Wyoming government, was "arbitrary and capricious," and that the state isn't ready to manage wolf populations on…
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    MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones

  • Peak Oil Is All About Cheap Oil

    Kevin Drum
    30 Sep 2014 | 10:37 am
    Russell Gold writes in the Wall Street Journal that perhaps the idea of peak oil is a myth. After all, technology keeps getting better and better, allowing us to extract more oil from old fields. Of course, it's expensive to do business this way: When the oil industry overcomes an obstacle and boosts oil production, costs typically increase. That opens the door for a better and cheaper energy source that will eventually displace crude oil. So at some point, the cost of getting more and more oil likely will get so high that buyers can't—or won't—pay....Already, economics is…
  • New Mexico AG Opens Criminal Investigation Into Missing Susana Martinez Emails

    Andy Kroll
    30 Sep 2014 | 9:57 am
    The New Mexico Attorney General's office is opening a criminal investigation into missing and/or destroyed emails covering part of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's tenure as a district attorney and also the tenure of Martinez's successor, Amy Orlando, a close friend of the governor. Complicating the investigation is the fact that New Mexico's AG, Democrat Gary King, is Martinez's opponent in this year's gubernatorial race.  The investigation was triggered by an internal report released last week by the district attorney in New Mexico's Third…
  • We Are In Love With War

    Kevin Drum
    30 Sep 2014 | 9:29 am
    I'm going to make this short because I simply don't have a thousand-word essay in me about war fever. But the more I think about our campaign against ISIS, the more dismayed I become. I always figured that if the time ever came when a president wanted to bomb Iran, it would be pretty easy to whip up the usual war frenzy over it. That's been baked into the cake for a long time. But Iraq? And without even a very big push from President Obama? I mean, for all that I'm not happy over his decision to go back to war in Iraq, he's been relatively sober about the whole thing. But it barely matters.
  • This Stunning Drone Footage Reveals Just How Massive Hong Kong's Protests Really Are

    James West
    30 Sep 2014 | 9:26 am
    Protests in Hong Kong show no sign of stopping, as hundreds of thousands of demonstrators continue to demand greater autonomy from the government in Beijing. This video, featured on Storyful, by Nero Chan, (uploaded to his Facebook account on September 29), offers a glimpse into the magnitude of the movement. Tomorrow is National Day, a public holiday across China. Activists say there's a chance the protests could swell even beyond what you can see in this video.
  • Mitt Romney's Latest Excuse for His 47 Percent Remarks Is a Doozy

    David Corn
    30 Sep 2014 | 9:15 am
    Mitt Romney explains his 47 percent remark, Take 23. During a recent sit-down with the New York Times' Mark Leibovich, the former GOP presidential nominee—who seems to be almost flirting with the possibility that he just might consider pondering a presidential run in 2016, maybe—took yet one more stab at explaining the comments that put his political career in jeopardy. And this time he's blaming the rich guy who posed the question. But first, let's look at Romney's evolving explanations for why he told a private gathering of $50,000-or-more donors that nearly half of Americans…
 
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    MoJo Articles | Mother Jones

  • Mitt Romney's Latest Excuse for His 47 Percent Remarks Is a Doozy

    David Corn
    30 Sep 2014 | 9:15 am
    Mitt Romney explains his 47 percent remark, Take 23. During a recent sit-down with the New York Times' Mark Leibovich, the former GOP presidential nominee—who seems to be almost flirting with the possibility that he just might consider pondering a presidential run in 2016, maybe—took yet one more stab at explaining the comments that put his political career in jeopardy. And this time he's blaming the rich guy who posed the question. But first, let's look at Romney's evolving explanations for why he told a private gathering of $50,000-or-more donors that nearly half of Americans…
  • An Aid Worker Tweeted the Location of an ISIS Camp. Now They're Hunting for Him.

    Jenna McLaughlin
    30 Sep 2014 | 3:00 am
    Oscar Bergamin handing out food to Syrian refugees. Ash-Sham CARE/Oscar Bergamin Last Friday, Oscar Bergamin, a Swiss humanitarian aid worker helping refugees in northern Syria, wrote a tweet that included 18 digits. They were the coordinates of a bunker near the Turkey-Syria border that had been seized by members of ISIS, the self-proclaimed Islamic State that's terrorizing large chunks of Iraq and Syria. The tweet caught the eye of ISIS-affiliated accounts on Twitter, which sent out a barrage of threatening messages to Bergamin, warning that they were "coming for Mr. Aid Worker," and that…
  • Melting Antarctic Ice Is Causing an Actual Shift in Gravity

    Eric Holthaus
    30 Sep 2014 | 3:00 am
    This story originally appeared in Slate and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Gravity—yes, gravity—is the latest victim of climate change in Antarctica. That's the stunning conclusion announced Friday by the European Space Agency. "The loss of ice from West Antarctica between 2009 and 2012 caused a dip in the gravity field over the region," writes the ESA, whose GOCE satellite measured the change. Apparently, melting billions of tons of ice year after year has implications that would make even Isaac Newton blanch. Here's the data visualized. To be…
  • Police Want to Get Rid of Their Pentagon-Issued Combat Gear. Here's Why They Can't.

    Molly Redden
    30 Sep 2014 | 3:00 am
    An officer with the Chelan County Sheriff's Department in central Washington is offering me a tank. Three of them, actually. "We really want to get rid of these," Undersheriff John Wisemore says. "We've been trying to get the military to take them back since 2004." The tanks came from a vast Defense Department grant program that has furnished American police arsenals, at no charge, with $4.3 billion worth of combat equipment leftover from two foreign wars. The tanks are amphibious, capable of firing 107-mm mortars—and not remotely useful to Wisemore's rural police department. But the…
  • These Insane Photos Show What the Hell Is Happening in Hong Kong

    James West and Mark Murrmann
    29 Sep 2014 | 12:35 pm
    Hong Kong riot police fire teargas at protesters early on Monday, September 29. Wally Santana/AP   Hong Kong—usually an orderly finance haven—erupted over the weekend as police used teargas and pepper spray to break up a three-day student sit-in that occupied the central business district. Thousands of protesters have deployed umbrellas to protect themselves from the chemical attack—some people are dubbing it the Umbrella Revolution—and have even picked up the hands-up "don't shoot" gesture from protests in Ferguson, Missouri.  The protests were the…
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    Kevin Drum Feed | Mother Jones

  • Peak Oil Is All About Cheap Oil

    Kevin Drum
    30 Sep 2014 | 10:37 am
    Russell Gold writes in the Wall Street Journal that perhaps the idea of peak oil is a myth. After all, technology keeps getting better and better, allowing us to extract more oil from old fields. Of course, it's expensive to do business this way: When the oil industry overcomes an obstacle and boosts oil production, costs typically increase. That opens the door for a better and cheaper energy source that will eventually displace crude oil. So at some point, the cost of getting more and more oil likely will get so high that buyers can't—or won't—pay....Already, economics is…
  • We Are In Love With War

    Kevin Drum
    30 Sep 2014 | 9:29 am
    I'm going to make this short because I simply don't have a thousand-word essay in me about war fever. But the more I think about our campaign against ISIS, the more dismayed I become. I always figured that if the time ever came when a president wanted to bomb Iran, it would be pretty easy to whip up the usual war frenzy over it. That's been baked into the cake for a long time. But Iraq? And without even a very big push from President Obama? I mean, for all that I'm not happy over his decision to go back to war in Iraq, he's been relatively sober about the whole thing. But it barely matters.
  • Intel Community Dusts Itself Off and Casually Shows Obama Who's Boss

    Kevin Drum
    30 Sep 2014 | 7:49 am
    A friend brings to my attention this New York Times piece: By late last year, classified American intelligence reports painted an increasingly ominous picture of a growing threat from Sunni extremists in Syria, according to senior intelligence and military officials. Just as worrisome, they said, were reports of deteriorating readiness and morale among troops next door in Iraq. But the reports, they said, generated little attention in a White House consumed with multiple brush fires and reluctant to be drawn back into Iraq. “Some of us were pushing the reporting, but the White House…
  • Here's Why Obama Fumbled on the Economy Last Night

    Kevin Drum
    29 Sep 2014 | 4:17 pm
    Paul Waldman asks us to imagine what's going to happen the next time there's some kind of Islam-inspired terror attack on American soil: The news media would amp up the fear to levels we haven't seen in the last decade, encouraging everyone to look for sleeper cells lurking down at the Piggly Wiggly. Republicans would of course unite behind President Obama in our time of mourning—kidding! They'd go on TV to denounce him for being so weak that the evildoers struck us in our very heart, and proclaim not only that the blood of the victims is on the hands of every Democrat, but that more…
  • Report: Secret Service Lied About White House Fence Jumper

    Kevin Drum
    29 Sep 2014 | 1:41 pm
    Omar Gonzalez, the White House fence-jumper from earlier this month, apparently surprised the guard at the front door because a nearby alarm box had been muted: After barrelling past the guard immediately inside the door, Gonzalez, who was carrying a knife, dashed past the stairway leading a half-flight up to the first family’s living quarters. He then ran into the 80-foot-long East Room, an ornate space often used for receptions or presidential addresses. Gonzalez was tackled by a counter-assault agent at the far southern end of the East Room. The intruder reached the doorway to the…
 
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    Political Mojo | Mother Jones

  • New Mexico AG Opens Criminal Investigation Into Missing Susana Martinez Emails

    Andy Kroll
    30 Sep 2014 | 9:57 am
    The New Mexico Attorney General's office is opening a criminal investigation into missing and/or destroyed emails covering part of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's tenure as a district attorney and also the tenure of Martinez's successor, Amy Orlando, a close friend of the governor. Complicating the investigation is the fact that New Mexico's AG, Democrat Gary King, is Martinez's opponent in this year's gubernatorial race.  The investigation was triggered by an internal report released last week by the district attorney in New Mexico's Third…
  • Chart: Half of All Income Goes to the Top 10 Percent

    Dave Gilson
    30 Sep 2014 | 3:15 am
    We'll be posting a new chart on the current state of income inequality every day for the next couple of weeks. Our last installment looked at stagnating middle-class incomes. Today, we look at both sides of the income split and how they've traded places. For the first time in a century, the top 10 percent of Americans control more than half of all income. If this trend persists, predicts economist Thomas Piketty, their share will rise to 60 percent by 2030. Source: Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty (Excel)  Illustrations and infographic design by Mattias Mackler​
  • Chart: You're Working More But Earning Less

    Dave Gilson
    26 Sep 2014 | 3:00 am
    We'll be posting a new chart on the current state of income inequality every day for the next couple of weeks. Yesterday's chart looked at the history of the 1 percent, from ancient Rome to today. Today, another look at how middle-class incomes have been stuck in neutral while the rest of the economy has grown. In 2012, the median household income (adjusted for inflation) was the same as it was in 1996. Sources: Household income: US Census; economic growth: St. Louis Fed; 1 percent: Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty (Excel); corporate profits: St. Louis Fed  Illustrations and infographic…
  • Sam Brownback's Administration Is Auctioning Off Some Incredibly NSFW Sex Toys

    Patrick Caldwell
    25 Sep 2014 | 2:16 pm
    Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback drove his state into the gutter with a string of income tax cuts that were among the largest in history. As I explained in my story on Brownback's struggling campaign, many typical Republican voters turned against the governor after it became clear that his trickle-down promises of wild economic growth looked a lot more like a sop to the state's richest denizens, such as Charles Koch. Read more about how Sam Brownback's red-state experiment could turn Kansas purple. State revenues have regularly come in below projections this year. The state legislature's nonpartisan…
  • Elizabeth Warren: Democratic Women Need a Seat at the Governing Table

    Inae Oh
    25 Sep 2014 | 12:25 pm
    Ahead of the upcoming midterm elections, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) issued a rallying call this week reminding progressives to back Democratic women. “If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu," Warren told the largely female audience at an event on Monday for Emily's List, a group supporting pro-choice candidates nationally. "Washington works for those who have power. And no one gives up power easily, no one…Nobody’s just going to say ‘women have arrived and let’s just move over'…We have a chance but we have to…
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    Blue Marble Feed | Mother Jones

  • It's Now Illegal to Kill Wolves in Wyoming

    Maddie Oatman
    24 Sep 2014 | 10:24 am
    For the past two years, killing a wolf in Wyoming was pretty simple. In a trophy game area near the border of Yellowstone, licensed hunters were allowed to take a certain number of gray wolves. In the rest of the state, or about 80 percent of Wyoming's land, anyone could kill a limitless number of them on sight. Read "10 Reasons We Need Wolves" But that's about to change. A judge ruled Tuesday that the animals' delisting in 2012, which handed management of the species over to the Wyoming government, was "arbitrary and capricious," and that the state isn't ready to manage wolf populations on…
  • Carbon Emissions Are Higher Than Ever, and Rising

    Tim McDonnell
    22 Sep 2014 | 11:34 am
    Yesterday was a good day for the climate movement, as over 300,000 people—according to the event's organizers—descended on Manhattan for the biggest climate change march in history. The record-breaking turnout was a powerful sign that climate change is gaining traction in mainstream consciousness. But even as the marchers were marching, new science was released that underscores how just how little time the world has left to break its addiction to fossil fuels. Global carbon emissions are the highest they've ever been, and are on the rise, according to a new climate study published…
  • World Leaders Have Failed to Seriously Confront Climate Change. Could That Change Next Week?

    Tim McDonnell
    16 Sep 2014 | 11:14 am
    Break out your protest sign materials and take your polar bear costume to the dry cleaner, boys and girls: This coming weekend marks the kickoff of Climate Week NYC 2014, a flurry of meetings and protests about climate action. It all starts with the People's Climate March in Columbus Circle on Sunday. Organizers are already calling it the biggest climate march in history, with over 100,000 folks expected to turn up. But the week's main event is on Tuesday at the United Nations, where Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will preside over a confab of heads of state (including President Obama),…
  • BP Lashes Out at Journalists and "Opportunistic" Environmentalists

    Tim McDonnell
    4 Sep 2014 | 10:36 am
    News of this morning's federal court decision against BP broke as I was aboard a 40-foot oyster boat in the Louisiana delta, just off the coast of Empire, a suburb of New Orleans. The reaction: stunned silence. Then a bit of optimism. "This is huge," said John Tesvich, chair of the Louisiana Oyster Task Force, his industry's main lobby group in the state. "They are going to have to pay a lot more." Standing on his boat, the "Croatian Pride," en route to survey oyster farms, he added: "We want to see justice. We hope that this money goes to helping cure some of the environmental issues in this…
  • BP Was Just Found Grossly Negligent in the Gulf Oil Spill Disaster. Read the Full Ruling.

    James West
    4 Sep 2014 | 8:49 am
    In a blunt ruling handed down on Thursday, a federal judge in New Orleans found that the biggest oil spill in US history, the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster, was caused by BP's "willful misconduct" and "gross negligence." On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, killing 11 people and spilling millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf over the next several months. According to Bloomberg, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit include "the federal government, five Gulf of Mexico states, banks, restaurants, fishermen and a host of others." The case also includes two other…
 
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    Politics | Mother Jones

  • This Stunning Drone Footage Reveals Just How Massive Hong Kong's Protests Really Are

    James West
    30 Sep 2014 | 9:26 am
    Protests in Hong Kong show no sign of stopping, as hundreds of thousands of demonstrators continue to demand greater autonomy from the government in Beijing. This video, featured on Storyful, by Nero Chan, (uploaded to his Facebook account on September 29), offers a glimpse into the magnitude of the movement. Tomorrow is National Day, a public holiday across China. Activists say there's a chance the protests could swell even beyond what you can see in this video.
  • Mitt Romney's Latest Excuse for His 47 Percent Remarks Is a Doozy

    David Corn
    30 Sep 2014 | 9:15 am
    Mitt Romney explains his 47 percent remark, Take 23. During a recent sit-down with the New York Times' Mark Leibovich, the former GOP presidential nominee—who seems to be almost flirting with the possibility that he just might consider pondering a presidential run in 2016, maybe—took yet one more stab at explaining the comments that put his political career in jeopardy. And this time he's blaming the rich guy who posed the question. But first, let's look at Romney's evolving explanations for why he told a private gathering of $50,000-or-more donors that nearly half of Americans…
  • Chart: Half of All Income Goes to the Top 10 Percent

    Dave Gilson
    30 Sep 2014 | 3:15 am
    We'll be posting a new chart on the current state of income inequality every day for the next couple of weeks. Our last installment looked at stagnating middle-class incomes. Today, we look at both sides of the income split and how they've traded places. For the first time in a century, the top 10 percent of Americans control more than half of all income. If this trend persists, predicts economist Thomas Piketty, their share will rise to 60 percent by 2030. Source: Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty (Excel)  Illustrations and infographic design by Mattias Mackler​
  • An Aid Worker Tweeted the Location of an ISIS Camp. Now They're Hunting for Him.

    Jenna McLaughlin
    30 Sep 2014 | 3:00 am
    Oscar Bergamin handing out food to Syrian refugees. Ash-Sham CARE/Oscar Bergamin Last Friday, Oscar Bergamin, a Swiss humanitarian aid worker helping refugees in northern Syria, wrote a tweet that included 18 digits. They were the coordinates of a bunker near the Turkey-Syria border that had been seized by members of ISIS, the self-proclaimed Islamic State that's terrorizing large chunks of Iraq and Syria. The tweet caught the eye of ISIS-affiliated accounts on Twitter, which sent out a barrage of threatening messages to Bergamin, warning that they were "coming for Mr. Aid Worker," and that…
  • Police Want to Get Rid of Their Pentagon-Issued Combat Gear. Here's Why They Can't.

    Molly Redden
    30 Sep 2014 | 3:00 am
    An officer with the Chelan County Sheriff's Department in central Washington is offering me a tank. Three of them, actually. "We really want to get rid of these," Undersheriff John Wisemore says. "We've been trying to get the military to take them back since 2004." The tanks came from a vast Defense Department grant program that has furnished American police arsenals, at no charge, with $4.3 billion worth of combat equipment leftover from two foreign wars. The tanks are amphibious, capable of firing 107-mm mortars—and not remotely useful to Wisemore's rural police department. But the…
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    Environment | Mother Jones

  • Melting Antarctic Ice Is Causing an Actual Shift in Gravity

    Eric Holthaus
    30 Sep 2014 | 3:00 am
    This story originally appeared in Slate and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Gravity—yes, gravity—is the latest victim of climate change in Antarctica. That's the stunning conclusion announced Friday by the European Space Agency. "The loss of ice from West Antarctica between 2009 and 2012 caused a dip in the gravity field over the region," writes the ESA, whose GOCE satellite measured the change. Apparently, melting billions of tons of ice year after year has implications that would make even Isaac Newton blanch. Here's the data visualized. To be…
  • Is 2014 the "Tipping Point" for the GMO Labeling Movement?

    Josh Harkinson
    29 Sep 2014 | 4:00 am
    Is this the year that voters will finally insist on knowing which supermarket foods contain genetically modified organisms? Activists in Oregon say the momentum is on their side for a GMO labeling initiative on the November ballot. "The electorate in Oregon has a greater awareness of this issue than in other states," says Sandeep Kaushik, a spokesman for Yes On 92, as the initiative is known. "We are approaching a tipping point." Read "How Dr. Bronner's Turned Activism Into Good Clean Fun" In 2002, Oregon became first state to try and pass a GMO labeling initiative—Measure 27 lost by a…
  • Naomi Klein: Fossil Fuels Threaten Our Ability to Have Healthy Children

    Indre Viskontas
    29 Sep 2014 | 3:00 am
    ClaudioVentrella/Thinkstock It's self-evident that embryos, fetuses, and babies are vulnerable. We have strict laws protecting children because they cannot fend for themselves. And yet, too often, we ignore the impact that environmental disasters have on the very earliest stages of life. In her new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, Naomi Klein examines the effect that our reliance on fossil fuels has on the most helpless members of the animal kingdom—as well as on our own children. "In species after species, climate change is creating pressures that are…
  • How Australia Became the Dirtiest Polluter in the Developed World

    Will Oremus and Ariel Bogle
    26 Sep 2014 | 3:00 am
    This story originally appeared in Slate and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Australians like to think of themselves as green. Their island country boasts some 3 million square miles of breathtaking landscape. They were an early global leader in solar power. They've had environmental regulations on the books since colonial times. And in 2007 they elected a party and a prime minister running on a "pro-climate" platform, with promises to sign the Kyoto Protocol and pass sweeping environmental reforms. All of which makes sense for a country that is already suffering…
  • Is Farm Aid Still Relevant?

    Tom Philpott
    24 Sep 2014 | 3:00 am
    Farm Aid, the annual, roving concert anchored by Willie Nelson and Neil Young, launched in 1985, amid the steepest US farm crisis since the Great Depression. Twenty-nine years later, is it still relevant? Last week, on a muggy day in Raleigh, NC, I got the chance to investigate. The event, at the outdoor Walnut Creek Amphitheater, on the outskirts of town, started with the most star-studded press conference I've ever attended. Arrayed in chairs on the stage before us were the headliners: Nelson, wizened face framed by a black baseball cap and those eternal red, frizzy ponytails; Young, somber…
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    Culture | Mother Jones

  • Portraits of 11 of the Americana Music Festival's Most Intriguing Acts

    Jacob Blickenstaff
    29 Sep 2014 | 3:00 am
    The Americana Music Association, which just wrapped up its 15th Americana Music Festival, is not so much about defining a genre as it is about circling the wagons around a wide variety of roots-influenced styles and staging a big-tent meeting for the faithful. The music spans roughly three generations of artists, from the likes of Loretta Lynn and Billy Joe Shaver, who helped define classic country music; to musicians like Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal, who during the '70s combined reverence for the past with rock and roll; to young artists like Robert Ellis, The Milk Carton Kids, and others who…
  • Why Bother Going Out When the Show Comes Straight to Your Living Room?

    Jenna McLaughlin
    29 Sep 2014 | 3:00 am
    Practically everything about the Washington, DC-based band Paperhaus is homemade: its recording studio, its music venue (the Paperhaus), its business, its songs, its sound—even its Chinese food: "Why order it when you can make it yourself?" Alex Tebeleff explains when I arrive at the band's northwestern DC home and venue on a recent Monday evening. As Tebeleff soaks his chicken in a deep fryer, a small black cat named Widget weaves around the amps and drum kits and guitars occupying the room. She arrived one night during a show and never left; Widget and Alex have lived here the…
  • The Creepy Language Tricks Taco Bell Uses to Fool People Into Eating There

    Kiera Butler
    29 Sep 2014 | 3:00 am
    What can you tell about a restaurant from its menu? A lot more than what's cooking. That's what linguist Dan Jurafsky reveals in his new book, The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu. Dan Jurafsky Photo by Kingmond Young Jurafsky, a professor of linguistics at Stanford, looked at hundreds of examples of food language—from menus to marketing materials to restaurant reviews. Along the way, he uncovered some fascinating patterns. For example: In naming foods, he explains, marketers often appeal to the associations that we already have with certain sounds. Crackers and other crispy…
  • Bluesman Gary Clark Jr. Is the Guitar Hero for Our Time

    Jon Young
    29 Sep 2014 | 3:00 am
    Gary Clark Jr.Live Warner Bros. A guitar hero for the modern era, Gary Clark Jr. plays bluesy rock with a blistering urgency that makes the hoariest conventions feel brand new. For all his flashy expertise, the muscular solos and buzzing riffs never feel gratuitous, while Clark's terse, tough singing nicely complements his fretwork. This 15-track, 97-minute feast is the perfect showcase for his brilliance, mixing versions of standards like "Three O’Clock Blues" (popularized by B.B. King) and "Catfish Blues" (also covered by Jimi Hendrix) with pungent originals, from sleek boogie…
  • In "Pen and Ink," People Tell the Fascinating Stories Behind Their Tattoos

    Maddie Oatman
    26 Sep 2014 | 3:00 am
    Illustrator Wendy MacNaughton has no shame in asking our server about the tattoo peeking out from under her right armpit. We're at Magnolia Brewery, a pub in San Francisco with a soft glow and a hint of an edgy past. The petite, bespectacled waitress explains that the hen and chicks inked on her inner bicep come from a kid's book her grandma used to read to her at the childhood farm. After the server disappears to retrieve our fries, MacNaughton says: "If someone is choosing to permanently mark their body, there is a story behind it." She should know. MacNaughton has spent much of the…
 
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