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  • How the World Series Might Just Help the GOP Win the Senate

    MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones
    Patrick Caldwell
    21 Oct 2014 | 3:23 pm
    Kansas City sports fans aren't used to celebrating. The town's NFL team, the Chiefs, hasn't won a playoff game since 1994. The Royals, the other major sports franchise in town, hadn't made a playoff appearance since 1985. But local baseball fans are experiencing a rare bit of jubilation this year. Not only did the Royals sneak into the playoffs as a wild card, they won the AL pennant last week and are hosting the San Francisco Giants in game one of the World Series Tuesday night. That's an exciting development for any millennial-aged sports fan from Kansas City who has lived a full life…
  • How the World Series Might Just Help the GOP Win the Senate

    MoJo Articles | Mother Jones
    Patrick Caldwell
    21 Oct 2014 | 3:23 pm
    Kansas City sports fans aren't used to celebrating. The town's NFL team, the Chiefs, hasn't won a playoff game since 1994. The Royals, the other major sports franchise in town, hadn't made a playoff appearance since 1985. But local baseball fans are experiencing a rare bit of jubilation this year. Not only did the Royals sneak into the playoffs as a wild card, they won the AL pennant last week and are hosting the San Francisco Giants in game one of the World Series Tuesday night. That's an exciting development for any millennial-aged sports fan from Kansas City who has lived a full life…
  • Housekeeping Note

    Kevin Drum Feed | Mother Jones
    Kevin Drum
    20 Oct 2014 | 5:00 am
    No blogging today, I'm afraid. I've been having lower back problems for several months, and on Friday night it got a lot worse. Saturday morning I couldn't get out of bed, and had to be transported to the ER. It turns out that I had a compression fracture of one of my lumbar bones. I've been in the hospital ever since. I can walk again, but I'm pretty much bedbound for a while. Beyond that, further tests will tell us what's going on here. Without either oversharing or being coy, there's a chance this could turn out to be pretty serious. We'll know more by the end of the week. In the meantime,…
  • Elizabeth Warren Demands An Investigation Of Mortgage Companies

    Political Mojo | Mother Jones
    Erika Eichelberger
    21 Oct 2014 | 9:12 am
    On Monday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called on the Government Accountability Office to investigate non-bank companies that service Americans' mortgages, noting in a letter co-signed by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) that an increasing number of lawsuits has been filed in recent years against these firms—which are not regulated as strictly as banks. Mortgage servicers, whether they are owned by banks or not, handle mortgages after they've been sold to a customer. That means they take care of administrative business including collecting mortgage payments and dealing with delinquent…
  • Drinking a "Medium" Soda Every Day Can Age You As Much As Smoking Does

    Blue Marble Feed | Mother Jones
    Kiera Butler
    20 Oct 2014 | 11:28 am
    Just as soda companies plunk down millions of dollars to defeat local soda-tax ballot measures, researchers have found a link between regular soda consumption and premature aging. Published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Public Health, a study of 5,300 adults compared the cells of people who drink soda every day to those of their non-soda-drinking counterparts. In the soda group, the ends of the chromosomes—known as telomeres—were shorter, a sign of their cells' diminished ability to regenerate. Our telomeres naturally shorten as we age, but scientists have discovered that a few…
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    MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones

  • How the World Series Might Just Help the GOP Win the Senate

    Patrick Caldwell
    21 Oct 2014 | 3:23 pm
    Kansas City sports fans aren't used to celebrating. The town's NFL team, the Chiefs, hasn't won a playoff game since 1994. The Royals, the other major sports franchise in town, hadn't made a playoff appearance since 1985. But local baseball fans are experiencing a rare bit of jubilation this year. Not only did the Royals sneak into the playoffs as a wild card, they won the AL pennant last week and are hosting the San Francisco Giants in game one of the World Series Tuesday night. That's an exciting development for any millennial-aged sports fan from Kansas City who has lived a full life…
  • Two SWAT Raids. Two Officers Dead. One Defendant Is Black, One White. Guess What Happened.

    Shane Bauer
    21 Oct 2014 | 2:25 pm
    One Friday last May, the sun had not yet risen when a SWAT team ignited a flash-bang grenade outside Marvin Guy's apartment in Killeen, Texas. Officers were trying to climb in through a window when Guy, who had a criminal record and was suspected of possessing cocaine, opened fire. Four officers were hit; one of them was killed. Five months earlier, 100 miles away, a SWAT officer was shot during a predawn no-knock raid on another house. In that case, too, police threw a flash-bang grenade and tried to enter the residence. Henry "Hank" Magee, according to his attorney, grabbed his gun to…
  • The World Just Had its Hottest "Year" on Record

    Eric Holthaus
    21 Oct 2014 | 1:24 pm
    This story originally appeared in Slate and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. A few days ago, I told you that—according to NASA data—we just finished the warmest six-month streak on record. Welp, it just got worse. According to data released Monday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, last month was the warmest September on record globally. What's more—and here's the kicker—the NOAA says the Earth has just completed its warmest 12-month period on record. From the NOAA: The past 12 months—October 2013–September…
  • Voter's Boyfriend to Obama: "Mr. President, Don't Touch My Girlfriend"

    Inae Oh
    21 Oct 2014 | 12:11 pm
    President Barack Obama was in Chicago on Monday to cast an early vote for the midterm elections. He did so while standing next to fellow voter Aia Cooper. Cooper's boyfriend, who was also standing nearby, issued a remarkable warning to the president: "Mr. President, don't touch my girlfriend." With Cooper laughing, but clearly mortified, the exchange that follows is just priceless. (Well played, Mr. President.) Watch below:
  • Judge Rips Alabama for Hiring a Discredited Abortion Foe

    Molly Redden
    21 Oct 2014 | 9:46 am
    Vincent Rue, a marriage therapist best known for his discredited theories about how abortion causes mental illness, has made hundreds of thousands of dollars assembling legal teams to defend extreme anti-abortion bills. But lately, the states that hire him have been getting a raw deal. On Monday, US District Judge Myron H. Thompson skewered Alabama for involving Rue in the defense of a law that requires abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges with a local hospital. Thompson struck down the law, which had threatened to close three of Alabama's five abortion clinics. Notably, Thompson…
 
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    MoJo Articles | Mother Jones

  • How the World Series Might Just Help the GOP Win the Senate

    Patrick Caldwell
    21 Oct 2014 | 3:23 pm
    Kansas City sports fans aren't used to celebrating. The town's NFL team, the Chiefs, hasn't won a playoff game since 1994. The Royals, the other major sports franchise in town, hadn't made a playoff appearance since 1985. But local baseball fans are experiencing a rare bit of jubilation this year. Not only did the Royals sneak into the playoffs as a wild card, they won the AL pennant last week and are hosting the San Francisco Giants in game one of the World Series Tuesday night. That's an exciting development for any millennial-aged sports fan from Kansas City who has lived a full life…
  • Two SWAT Raids. Two Officers Dead. One Defendant Is Black, One White. Guess What Happened.

    Shane Bauer
    21 Oct 2014 | 2:25 pm
    One Friday last May, the sun had not yet risen when a SWAT team ignited a flash-bang grenade outside Marvin Guy's apartment in Killeen, Texas. Officers were trying to climb in through a window when Guy, who had a criminal record and was suspected of possessing cocaine, opened fire. Four officers were hit; one of them was killed. Five months earlier, 100 miles away, a SWAT officer was shot during a predawn no-knock raid on another house. In that case, too, police threw a flash-bang grenade and tried to enter the residence. Henry "Hank" Magee, according to his attorney, grabbed his gun to…
  • The World Just Had its Hottest "Year" on Record

    Eric Holthaus
    21 Oct 2014 | 1:24 pm
    This story originally appeared in Slate and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. A few days ago, I told you that—according to NASA data—we just finished the warmest six-month streak on record. Welp, it just got worse. According to data released Monday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, last month was the warmest September on record globally. What's more—and here's the kicker—the NOAA says the Earth has just completed its warmest 12-month period on record. From the NOAA: The past 12 months—October 2013–September…
  • Judge Rips Alabama for Hiring a Discredited Abortion Foe

    Molly Redden
    21 Oct 2014 | 9:46 am
    Vincent Rue, a marriage therapist best known for his discredited theories about how abortion causes mental illness, has made hundreds of thousands of dollars assembling legal teams to defend extreme anti-abortion bills. But lately, the states that hire him have been getting a raw deal. On Monday, US District Judge Myron H. Thompson skewered Alabama for involving Rue in the defense of a law that requires abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges with a local hospital. Thompson struck down the law, which had threatened to close three of Alabama's five abortion clinics. Notably, Thompson…
  • The Darker Side of Jason Mraz

    Gabrielle Canon
    21 Oct 2014 | 3:45 am
    It was the early aughts and the American pop scene was closing out the chapter on a decade of boy bands. Singer-songwriters were up to bat, as John Mayer and Jack Johnson crooned their way up the charts and into the hearts of a nation weary of synchronized dance moves and contrived collaborations. Armed with an acoustic guitar and an aptitude for wordplay Jason Mraz fit the profile when he burst onto the scene in 2002—and he came with his own distinctive flavor. Hailing from small town Virginia, he cultivated his talent at a New York City conservatory before rounding out the edges in…
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    Kevin Drum Feed | Mother Jones

  • Housekeeping Note

    Kevin Drum
    20 Oct 2014 | 5:00 am
    No blogging today, I'm afraid. I've been having lower back problems for several months, and on Friday night it got a lot worse. Saturday morning I couldn't get out of bed, and had to be transported to the ER. It turns out that I had a compression fracture of one of my lumbar bones. I've been in the hospital ever since. I can walk again, but I'm pretty much bedbound for a while. Beyond that, further tests will tell us what's going on here. Without either oversharing or being coy, there's a chance this could turn out to be pretty serious. We'll know more by the end of the week. In the meantime,…
  • Friday Cat Blogging - 17 October 2014

    Kevin Drum
    17 Oct 2014 | 11:15 am
    I don't know about you, but I could stand to have catblogging a little earlier than usual this week. What you see here is one of the many cat TVs now installed in our home. This is the dining room TV. There are also cat TVs in the kitchen and the study. The kitchen TV apparently has most of its good shows at night, and it's not clear what those shows are about. But they are extremely entrancing. The dining room TV, by contrast, is sort of our workhorse cat TV. They both love it all day long. Needless to say, this is something new for both Hopper and Hilbert, since they spent the first ten…
  • What World Leader Has Done the Most Damage to the Global Economy?

    Kevin Drum
    17 Oct 2014 | 10:57 am
    Who's worse: Amity Shlaes or Angela Merkel? You have to give the nod to Merkel, of course. Unlike Shlaes, who is limited to cheering on horrifically bad ideas that would immiserate millions, Merkel has the power to actually implement horrifically bad ideas that immiserate millions. And she has. So Merkel it is. Now, if instead the question were how Merkel compares to, say, John Boehner and Paul Ryan, then it would be a tougher choice. I think Merkel would still win, though. When it comes to bullheaded insistence on terrible economic policy, she's hard to top.
  • WHO Admits That It Failed Utterly In Its Response to Ebola

    Kevin Drum
    17 Oct 2014 | 8:39 am
    The Guardian has a fairly chilling story today about an internal report from the World Health Organization that basically concludes WHO completely botched its response to the Ebola outbreak in Africa: The UN health agency acknowledged that, at times, even its own bureaucracy was a problem. It noted that the heads of WHO country offices in Africa are “politically motivated appointments” made by the WHO regional director for Africa, Dr Luis Sambo, who does not answer to the agency’s chief in Geneva, Dr Margaret Chan. ....At a meeting of WHO’s network of outbreak experts…
  • Chart of the Day: Inflation Is Down, Down, Down

    Kevin Drum
    17 Oct 2014 | 7:33 am
    Sometimes it's worth posting the same chart over and over in order to elbow it firmly into the public consciousness. So here's the inflation chart again. This version comes via Matt O'Brien, and it covers four of the biggest economies in the world. The message is simple: inflation is down everywhere. There are blips from month to month, but ignore them. The big picture couldn't be clearer. Bottom line: Nobody knows what will happen in the long term, but for now we simply shouldn't be worrying about inflation. We should be worrying about growth and unemployment. Inflation just isn't a problem.
 
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    Political Mojo | Mother Jones

  • Elizabeth Warren Demands An Investigation Of Mortgage Companies

    Erika Eichelberger
    21 Oct 2014 | 9:12 am
    On Monday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called on the Government Accountability Office to investigate non-bank companies that service Americans' mortgages, noting in a letter co-signed by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) that an increasing number of lawsuits has been filed in recent years against these firms—which are not regulated as strictly as banks. Mortgage servicers, whether they are owned by banks or not, handle mortgages after they've been sold to a customer. That means they take care of administrative business including collecting mortgage payments and dealing with delinquent…
  • Rwanda Hits Back at America's Ebola Paranoia

    Inae Oh
    21 Oct 2014 | 8:40 am
    Rwanda will be begin screening all Americans entering the country for Ebola, regardless if they're exhibiting symptoms or not, government officials in the East African nation announced Tuesday. Coincidence? The new measure comes just days after two Rwandan students were denied enrollment at a New Jersey school over Ebola fears, even though Rwanda has had zero cases of Ebola. The United States, on the other hand, has had three confirmed cases. Rwanda is also more than 2,500 miles from the closest Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The US Embassy in Rwanda explains the situation: On October 19, the…
  • Everything You Need to Know About Ebola in America, in One Fantastic Quote

    Ben Dreyfuss
    20 Oct 2014 | 8:13 pm
    Meet a man made of very stern stuff indeed Peter Pattakos spent 20 minutes Saturday in an Akron bridal shop, getting fitted for a tux for his friend's wedding. Thursday, his friend sent a text message, telling him that Ebola patient Amber Joy Vinson had been in the store around the same time. Pattakos, 36, a Cleveland attorney who lives in Bath Township, called the health department, which told him to call back if he exhibits any Ebola symptoms. He called a doctor, who told him not to worry. "I didn't exchange any bodily fluids with anyone, so I'm not worried about it," he said. "I'm much…
  • Elizabeth Warren Was on Fire This Weekend. Here Were Her 5 Best Lines.

    Sam Brodey
    20 Oct 2014 | 2:21 pm
    It's good to be Elizabeth Warren. The senior senator from Massachusetts spent her weekend campaigning for Democrats in Minnesota, Colorado, and Iowa, and by all accounts, she tore it up, and got more than a few calls to run for president. (Breaking: she still insists she isn't going to.) These were some of her biggest red-meat lines from the campaign trail: 1. "The game is rigged, and the Republicans rigged it. We can whine, we can whimper or we can fight back, and we’re here to fight back. We know what we’re fighting for and what we’re up against. We’ve got our…
  • The 5 Stupidest Paranoid Responses to Ebola

    Inae Oh
    20 Oct 2014 | 1:41 pm
    As President Barack Obama noted in his weekly address Saturday, Ebola is a serious public health issue. But the level of paranoia that has surfaced across the country since Thomas Duncan became the first patient diagnosed with the disease in the United States is not only unwarranted—it's  dangerous. Ripped straight from the headlines, here are just five of the more surreal incidents of Ebola panic. Syracuse University disinvites photographer. Ebola has an incubation period of up to three weeks. If someone hasn't gotten sick within 21 days of exposure, they're in the clear. But News…
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    Blue Marble Feed | Mother Jones

  • Drinking a "Medium" Soda Every Day Can Age You As Much As Smoking Does

    Kiera Butler
    20 Oct 2014 | 11:28 am
    Just as soda companies plunk down millions of dollars to defeat local soda-tax ballot measures, researchers have found a link between regular soda consumption and premature aging. Published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Public Health, a study of 5,300 adults compared the cells of people who drink soda every day to those of their non-soda-drinking counterparts. In the soda group, the ends of the chromosomes—known as telomeres—were shorter, a sign of their cells' diminished ability to regenerate. Our telomeres naturally shorten as we age, but scientists have discovered that a few…
  • Now Congressional Republicans Are Digging Through Scientists' Grant Proposals

    Tim McDonnell
    17 Oct 2014 | 2:22 pm
    When scientists across the country need money for research projects, one place they often turn is the National Science Foundation. The NSF is an independent federal agency with an annual budget of about $7 billion, which it doles out to fund about a quarter of all federally supported science research. Of course, the agency doesn't just give money away to anyone who asks. Proposals have to survive a rigorous review process that includes close scrutiny by a panel of top scientists in the relevant field. Competition is fierce: Of the 49,000 proposals submitted in 2013, only a fifth were…
  • Hurricane Gonzalo Is Going to Slam Bermuda Today

    Tim McDonnell
    17 Oct 2014 | 8:47 am
    The photo above was taken yesterday by an astronaut on the International Space Station. It shows Hurricane Gonzalo barreling across the Atlantic Ocean toward Bermuda. Gonzalo, currently a Category 3 hurricane, is expected to make landfall in Bermuda this afternoon before veering back out to sea and away from the US East Coast. AccuWeather.com meteorologists are warning that the damage could be severe, with "a large and life-threatening storm surge [that] could exceed 10 feet and cause a major rise in water levels over coastal areas and causeways." Stay safe, Bermudans.
  • People Are Trying to Sell Cinnamon Bark as an Ebola Cure

    Kiera Butler
    16 Oct 2014 | 12:57 pm
    Marion Nestle reports that several supplement manufacturers are selling vitamins that promise to prevent or treat Ebola. The claims caught the attention of the FDA, which has issued warning letters to three of the manufacturers: Natural Solutions Foundation, Young Living, and DoTERRA International LLC. The agency lists specific claims it finds worrisome; for example, on a Young Living consultant's website, "Ebola Virus can not live in the presence of cinnamon bark." Here's a screenshot from Natural Solutions Foundations' website: An article on the Natural Solutions site talks about "the…
  • Sorry, California. Winter Isn't Going to Fix Your Drought.

    Tim McDonnell
    16 Oct 2014 | 11:32 am
    NOAA California's crippling drought is not expected to improve over the winter, according to new forecast data released today by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Nearly 60 percent of the state is experiencing exceptional drought—the worst category—NOAA reported. The map above shows that the northern California coast could see some improvement. But in the Central Valley, a critical source of fruits, nuts, and vegetables for the whole country, conditions won't be getting better any time soon. A little rain is expected, NOAA forecaster Mike Halpert said in a…
 
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    Politics | Mother Jones

  • How the World Series Might Just Help the GOP Win the Senate

    Patrick Caldwell
    21 Oct 2014 | 3:23 pm
    Kansas City sports fans aren't used to celebrating. The town's NFL team, the Chiefs, hasn't won a playoff game since 1994. The Royals, the other major sports franchise in town, hadn't made a playoff appearance since 1985. But local baseball fans are experiencing a rare bit of jubilation this year. Not only did the Royals sneak into the playoffs as a wild card, they won the AL pennant last week and are hosting the San Francisco Giants in game one of the World Series Tuesday night. That's an exciting development for any millennial-aged sports fan from Kansas City who has lived a full life…
  • Two SWAT Raids. Two Officers Dead. One Defendant Is Black, One White. Guess What Happened.

    Shane Bauer
    21 Oct 2014 | 2:25 pm
    One Friday last May, the sun had not yet risen when a SWAT team ignited a flash-bang grenade outside Marvin Guy's apartment in Killeen, Texas. Officers were trying to climb in through a window when Guy, who had a criminal record and was suspected of possessing cocaine, opened fire. Four officers were hit; one of them was killed. Five months earlier, 100 miles away, a SWAT officer was shot during a predawn no-knock raid on another house. In that case, too, police threw a flash-bang grenade and tried to enter the residence. Henry "Hank" Magee, according to his attorney, grabbed his gun to…
  • Judge Rips Alabama for Hiring a Discredited Abortion Foe

    Molly Redden
    21 Oct 2014 | 9:46 am
    Vincent Rue, a marriage therapist best known for his discredited theories about how abortion causes mental illness, has made hundreds of thousands of dollars assembling legal teams to defend extreme anti-abortion bills. But lately, the states that hire him have been getting a raw deal. On Monday, US District Judge Myron H. Thompson skewered Alabama for involving Rue in the defense of a law that requires abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges with a local hospital. Thompson struck down the law, which had threatened to close three of Alabama's five abortion clinics. Notably, Thompson…
  • Man Who Believes God Speaks to Us Through "Duck Dynasty" Is About to Be Texas' Second-in-Command

    Tim Murphy
    21 Oct 2014 | 3:30 am
    As a Texas state senator, Dan Patrick has conducted himself in a manner consistent with the shock jock he once was. Patrick—who is now the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor—has railed against everything from separation of church and state to Mexican coyotes who supposedly speak Urdu. He's even advised his followers that God is speaking to them through Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson. A former sportscaster who once defended a football player who'd thrown a reporter through a door (Patrick believed it wasn't the journalist's job to do "negative reporting"), Patrick…
  • Texas Just Won the Right to Disenfranchise 600,000 People. It's Not the First Time.

    Erika Eichelberger
    21 Oct 2014 | 3:15 am
    On Saturday morning, the Supreme Court ruled that Texas' harsh voter ID law could remain in effect for the upcoming midterm elections, potentially disenfranchising some 600,000 mostly black and Latino voters. In her dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote that the law may be "purposefully discriminatory" and warned that it "likely imposes an unconstitutional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters." And Ginsburg noted that Texas' 2011 law falls in line with the state's long history of discriminatory voting laws. Here is a look at that…
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    Environment | Mother Jones

  • The World Just Had its Hottest "Year" on Record

    Eric Holthaus
    21 Oct 2014 | 1:24 pm
    This story originally appeared in Slate and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. A few days ago, I told you that—according to NASA data—we just finished the warmest six-month streak on record. Welp, it just got worse. According to data released Monday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, last month was the warmest September on record globally. What's more—and here's the kicker—the NOAA says the Earth has just completed its warmest 12-month period on record. From the NOAA: The past 12 months—October 2013–September…
  • The 5 Stupidest Paranoid Responses to Ebola

    Inae Oh
    20 Oct 2014 | 1:41 pm
    As President Barack Obama noted in his weekly address Saturday, Ebola is a serious public health issue. But the level of paranoia that has surfaced across the country since Thomas Duncan became the first patient diagnosed with the disease in the United States is not only unwarranted—it's  dangerous. Ripped straight from the headlines, here are just five of the more surreal incidents of Ebola panic. Syracuse University disinvites photographer. Ebola has an incubation period of up to three weeks. If someone hasn't gotten sick within 21 days of exposure, they're in the clear. But News…
  • Why Did Top Scientific Journals Reject This Dr. Bronner's Ad?

    Tom Philpott
    20 Oct 2014 | 3:00 am
    David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, presides over a company with famously wacky product labels. Sample sentence, from the 18-in-1 Hemp PEPPERMINT soap bottle: "Each swallow works hard to be perfect pilot-provider-teacher-lover-mate, no half-true hate!" But Bronner himself, grandson of the founder (the one with the elaborate prose style), has emerged as a serious, though fun-loving, activist, particularly around pesticides and genetically modified crops, as Josh Harkinson's recent Mother Jones profile shows. Read "How Dr. Bronner's Turned Activism Into Good Clean Fun" But…
  • Will Cambodia Flood a Sacred and Biodiverse Valley for a Dubious Dam?

    Kalyanee Mam
    19 Oct 2014 | 10:19 am
    On September 15, Cambodian police detained 11 environmental activists for blocking a convoy of government vehicles headed for Areng Valley, the site of the controversial Stung Cheay Areng hydro dam project. The activists were released, but 12 Royal Cambodian Armed Forces officers are now stationed at the makeshift roadblock where villagers have been protesting the dam since March. Nothing now stands in the way of Sinohydro Resources, the Chinese company that the Cambodian government has contracted to construct the dam. Earlier this year, my film crew and I traveled to Areng Valley to document…
  • EPA: Those Bee-Killing Pesticides? They're Actually Pretty Useless

    Tom Philpott
    18 Oct 2014 | 3:00 am
    So, there's this widely used class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, marketed by chemical giants Bayer and Syngenta, that have emerged as a prime suspect in honeybee collapse, and may also be harming birds and water-borne critters. But at least they provide benefits to farmers, right? Well, not soybean farmers, according to a blunt economic assessment released Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency (PDF). Conclusion: "There are no clear or consistent economic benefits of neonicotinoid seed treatments in soybeans." Wait, what? The report goes on: "This analysis provides evidence…
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    Culture | Mother Jones

  • The Darker Side of Jason Mraz

    Gabrielle Canon
    21 Oct 2014 | 3:45 am
    It was the early aughts and the American pop scene was closing out the chapter on a decade of boy bands. Singer-songwriters were up to bat, as John Mayer and Jack Johnson crooned their way up the charts and into the hearts of a nation weary of synchronized dance moves and contrived collaborations. Armed with an acoustic guitar and an aptitude for wordplay Jason Mraz fit the profile when he burst onto the scene in 2002—and he came with his own distinctive flavor. Hailing from small town Virginia, he cultivated his talent at a New York City conservatory before rounding out the edges in…
  • Numero Group Releases a Stellar Retrospective

    Jon Young
    20 Oct 2014 | 3:00 am
    UnwoundNo EnergyNumero Group Part three of Numero Group's stellar Unwound retrospective picks up with the 1995 album The Future of What, followed by 1996's Repetition, and includes eight singles sides and some previously unreleased recordings. What's most immediately striking about these 33 tracks is how little interest the Olympia, Washington, trio has in repeating itself. While Justin Trosper (vocals, guitar), Vern Rumsey (bass) and Sara Lund (drums) still draw on deep roots in punk and hard rock, they often seem to be navigating uncharted territory. The songs are dark and jagged, more…
  • Sallie Ford, the Exhilarating Provocateur

    Jon Young
    20 Oct 2014 | 3:00 am
    Sallie FordSlap Back Vanguard Raucous, profane, and unapologetic, Sallie Ford relishes playing the provocateur. On the exhilarating Slap Back, the Portland, Oregon-based singer-songwriter debuts her new all-female backing band, sounding like the early, badass Elvis Costello who fronted the Attractions. Buoyed by waves of punky garage rock, Ford addresses urgent issues like romance and lust in her usual blunt language ("Give Me Your Lovin'"), while illuminating her own struggles ("So Damn Low") and pausing for moments of surprising tenderness, observing, "Loves may come and lovers may go. But…
  • Why Jessie Ware Hates Encores But Loves Condom Ads

    Patrick Caldwell
    20 Oct 2014 | 3:00 am
    Jessie Ware's music manages to walk a fine line between the despair of heartbreak and the soothing of emotional wounds, all paired with a sheen of pop ethos that compels you to dance through the pain. The 30-year-old British singer started off following in her father's footsteps as a journalist, but ditched writing when a successful stint doing guest vocals for the UK dubstep band SBTRKT pushed her down the music path. In 2012, she released her debut album, Devotion, a mixture of soul, R&B, and pop that climbed the British charts and earned her glowing reviews. Her new album, Tough…
  • This Quirky Indie Rocker Can Help You Win at Scrabble

    Rebecca Cohen
    18 Oct 2014 | 1:26 am
    Stephin Merritt, the singer for the Magnetic Fields, refuses to play Scrabble with me. I can't help but be a tiny bit disappointed. The ubiquitous word game, after all, is the reason I'm sitting down with him in this San Francisco bakery-cafe. Merritt is in town promoting 101 Two-Letter Words, a collection of poems—illustrated by the loveably oddball New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast—that he wrote to help himself remember the shortest words in Scrabble's official dictionary. But when I challenge him to a match, Merritt shakes his head. "The last time I attempted Scrabble with an…
 
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