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Ho ho ho and merry Thanksgiving! Here is a ranking of twenty Thanksgiving films. What is a "Thanksgiving film"? For the purposes of this post it is a film that is both a) on Wikipedia's list, and b) one I, Ben Dreyfuss, immediately recall seeing and have an opinion about. 1. Hannah and Her Sisters 2. Rocky 3. Scent of a Woman 4. Rocky II 5. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles 6. Home for the Holidays 7. Avalon 8. The Ice Storm 9. The Morning After 10. For Your Consideration 11. Grumpy Old Men...
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Yesterday President Obama threatened to veto a $440 billion package of tax breaks negotiated by a bipartisan group of legislators led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). The bill, a White House spokesperson said, disproportionately benefits businesses over families. The bill excludes a child tax credit for the working poor that had been a top goal for Obama, but makes permanent a group of tax incentives for big businesses that had been provisional. But if Obama does kill the deal, he...
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Last week, President Barack Obama took executive action to protect 5 million undocumented immigrants from immediate deportation, leading to a predictable tide of right-wing outrage. Critics denounced Obama as an emperor, an autocrat, a felon, and a potential instigator of ethnic cleansing. But a public safety officer—yes, a public safety officer—in upstate New York went further than most. In a comment on Rush Limbaugh's Facebook page, he called for Obama to be shot. Last week, ...
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Michelle Flores thought she had everything worked out for Thanksgiving. The 20-year-old San Francisco State junior was planning to join friends this Thursday to make pineapple-crusted ham, a family favorite. But last Friday, the Safeway where Flores works as a part-time cashier informed her that she'd be expected to work during on the holiday. She reluctantly called her friends to cancel their Thanksgiving plans. Flores is well acquainted with the stressful unpredictability of part-time wo...
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When Scott Panetti represented himself in a Texas capital murder case in 1995, wearing a purple cowboy suit and calling himself "Sarge," he called as a witness a veterinarian who once lived across the street from him. Panetti questioned the vet about the time he euthanized Little Blue, Panetti's old dog. The episode had nothing to do with the case. Other witnesses Panetti tried to call to the stand: John F. Kennedy and Jesus. Trial transcripts, medical records, and expert witness testimony...
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After St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch announced Monday that Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted for killing Michael Brown, the county released a collection of documents from the grand jury proceedings. Among them were hundreds of photos from the investigation, depicting everything from the crime scene to Wilson at the hospital after the shooting. Here are just a few (all photos provided by the St. Louis County Prosecutor's Office): Wilson's police SUV...
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This story first appeared on the TomDispatch website. "Iraq no longer exists." My young friend M, sipping a cappuccino, is deadly serious. We are sitting in a scruffy restaurant across the street from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Manhattan's Upper West Side. It's been years since we've last seen each another. It may be years before our paths cross again. As if to drive his point home, M repeats himself: "Iraq just doesn't exist." His is an opinion grounded in exp...
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Moments before a scheduled performance in St. Louis Monday night, Killer Mike of the rap duo Run The Jewels delivered an incredibly forceful speech about the news of a grand jury's decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the Ferguson officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown more than three months ago. "Tonight, I got kicked on my ass when I listened to that prosecutor. You motherfuckers got me. I knew it was coming, I knew when Eric Holder decided to resign, I knew it wasn't g...
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After Monday's announcement that a grand jury would not indict Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown, St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch released the hundreds of pages of evidence that the grand jury considered. Following are six excerpts from the documents: When grabbing Brown, Wilson says he felt like a 5-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan:   dc.embed.loadNote('//www.documentcloud.org/documents/1370883-grand-jury-volume-5-darren-wilsons-testimony/annota...
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On Monday evening, news of a grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown erupted across social media. The announcement was made shortly after 8:20 PM CT and sparked massive protests around the country. The situation was particularly violent in and around the St. Louis area, with more than 60 people arrested overnight. Using the hashtag #Ferguson, Twitter has mapped out how the conversation took place: More from the chaotic...
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The execution of Dennis McGuire on January 16 of this year did not go as planned. Injected with an untested cocktail of drugs, the Ohio death row inmate gasped, choked, and writhed in his restraints. McGuire was declared dead after 26 minutes, having endured the longest execution in the state's history. "To a degree of medical certainty, this was not a humane execution," an anesthesiologist testified in a subsequent federal lawsuit against the state's execution team. The law...
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Remember the holiday formerly known as Thanksgiving? It had a pretty good run for about 390 years—until around 2011, when it began to be replaced with a shopping extravaganza. In the past few years, the traditional dividing line between Thanksgiving and Black Friday, the official start of the holiday retail season, has blurred. At many major retail stores, this Thursday won't be a day of turkey and family time but a mad rush for XBoxes and iPhones. Here's how Black Friday's...
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Here is Darren Wilson's testimony before the St. Louis County grand jury (h/t St. Louis Public Radio), starting on page 195. (His account of his encounter with Michael Brown begins on page 206.) Follow our coverage on what's happening in Ferguson here.   DV.load("//www.documentcloud.org/documents/1370883-grand-jury-volume-5-darren-wilsons-testimony.js", { width: 630, height: 550, sidebar: false, container: "#DV-viewer-1370883-grand-jury-volume-5-darren-wilsons-testimony" }); Gr...
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After weeks of rising tension in Ferguson and the broader St. Louis region, the St. Louis County grand jury reviewing the death of Michael Brown has decided not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Brown on August 9. Reported leaks during the grand jury proceedings suggested there would be no indictment—and that outcome fits a long-standing pattern. Few police officers who shoot and kill citizens in St. Louis have been investigated by a grand jury, let alon...
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The weather pattern known as El Niño could be stunting kids' growth—even years after the extreme storms abate, a new study finds. Researchers at Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health, led by assistant professor of medicine and international health William Checkley, say they have conducted the first study on the long-term health consequences of El Niño weather systems. According to the paper published today in BioMed Central, children born around the time...
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NWS Weather Prediction Service This story originally appeared in Slate and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. If you've ever wanted to make post-stuffing snow angels, this year could be your chance. Forget for a moment that Monday will feature near-record highs on the East Coast. (However, if you're in Washington or New York City, you should bask in this afternoon's highs in the low to mid-70s, if you can swing it.) Forget, too, that in my post on Fri...
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There's little the Washington-centric political-media universe loves more than the story of a fallen star. The defenestration of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has reporters and pundits in a schadenfreude-driven tizzy. Was he fired? Was he in over his head? OMG, look at how the White House is dumping on him, as he departs! Who's passing nasty notes in class about him? The presumably forced resignation of Hagel is indeed big news. The Obama administration is confronting a host of new na...
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Scientists and science journalists like to say that one of the best ways to tell that climate change is real is to take a look at the changes we can already see: This year is on track to be the hottest ever recorded, and glaciers, corn, and even grizzly bears are responding to the warming. But all those shifts won't be enough to convince most conservative climate skeptics, a new study in Nature Climate Change finds. A growing body of recent research suggests a person's political ideol...
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President Barack Obama is expected to announce the resignation of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday. The New York Times reports that the president's decision to ask Hagel to step down follows a series of meetings, which concluded that a change in leadership was needed in order to deal with international threats including the Islamic State. Candidates for Hagel's replacement reportedly include former Undersecretary of Defense Michelle Flournoy, former Deputy Secretary of Defense ...
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When Republicans took control of both houses of Congress earlier this month, they won an important new power: They can change how Congress does math. Seriously. Republicans, led by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), their budget guru, are considering altering the way Congress calculates the costs of tax cuts—a move that could make big tax cuts for the rich appear less costly than they really are. Here's how it would work. In January, Republicans will be in charge of Congress. And that include...
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In recent years, more and more big-box retailers have begun forcing their employees to work on Thanksgiving Day. Now, some Ohio state legislators have had enough. They're introducing bills that would give workers the right to refuse to punch in on Thanksgiving, and, if they do agree to show up on the holiday, to receive substantial overtime pay. "Thanksgiving Day is supposed to be a day when we retreat from consumerism," says Cleveland's Democratic state Rep. Mike Foley, the author of...
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Illustration by Chris Philpot Thanksgiving turkeys are one of America's oldest holiday traditions. But with their giant size, stooped frame, and limited mobility, today's birds bear little resemblance to their early counterparts. So how did we end up with these modern megabirds? According to Suzanne McMillan, senior director of the farm animal welfare campaign of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, it wasn't by accident. Up until the the 1950s, turkey...
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The rat king is a haunting image from European folklore: a bevy of rats, tangled together by their tails and thought to grow together as a bunch. (Rat king characters also make appearances in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle comics and the animated show Adventure Time.) Then there's RATKING, a left-field hip-hop group that's one of the most exciting recent acts to come out of New York City. The mythical metaphor is apt. In an age of hypersleek solo rappers like Drake and Kanye, the thr...
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In most states, a major barrier to bringing the perpetrators of rape and sexual assault to justice is baked into the law. Nationwide, 34 states and Washington, DC, have statutes of limitations on filing rape or sexual-assault charges, ranging from 3 to 30 years. In New Hampshire, charges must be filed within six years of a crime; in Connecticut, it's five years. In Minnesota, it's three. Some states tie the statute of limitations to reporting deadlines. If a survivor in Illinois comes...
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"There are only three ways to get land," said Tony Cerda, chairman of the Costanoan Rumsen Carmel Tribe, in 2010. "You can buy it, have it given to you, or steal it." It's clear which one of those applies to his people, the Ohlone, who lived in the central California coastal region for thousands of years prior to the arrival of Spanish missionaries in the 1700s. The Ohlone once numbered as many as 15,000 on lands stretching from the San Francisco Bay to Big Sur. But following years of ens...
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This story first appeared on the TomDispatch website. Admit it. You don't know where Chad is. You know it's in Africa, of course. But beyond that? Maybe with a map of the continent and by some process of elimination you could come close. But you'd probably pick Sudan or maybe the Central African Republic. Here's a tip. In the future, choose that vast, arid swath of land just below Libya. Who does know where Chad is? That answer is simpler: the US military. Recent contracting...
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Here's the most sobering statistic you'll see today: American-Indian and Alaskan Native children experience PTSD at the same rate at veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to a new report from a Department of Justice advisory committee, 22 percent of American-Indian and Alaskan Native juveniles have PTSD—three times higher than the national rate. Among other proposals, the committee recommends Congress grant tribes the ability to prosecute non-Indians who abuse ...
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"Do you think some people treat you unfairly because you're white?" "Do you feel you're missing out on an important job, school, or other opportunity because you're white?" These questions were included in a recent casting call for an MTV documentary in Washington DC. It swiftly raised eyebrows across the internet: Do white people really need yet another medium to showcase, well, white people problems?  But when it came out that the man behind the documentary was actual...
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President Barack Obama, who has issued fewer executive orders than any president since Grover Cleveland, issued a set of directives this week to protect 5 million undocumented residents from deportation. The new executive actions will allow undocumented parents of US citizens to stay in the country, and allow children who were brought to the United States by their parents to apply for employment visas. It also, according to various Republican critics, cements Obama's status as a dictator, ...
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Goodmorning. Here is something stupid: Winnie the Pooh has been banned from a Polish playground because of his “dubious sexuality” and “inappropriate” dress. The much-loved animated bear was suggested at a local council meeting to decide which famous character should become the face of the play area in the small town of Tuszyn. But the idea soon sparked outrage among more conservative members, with one councillor even denouncing poor Pooh as a “hermaphrodite&rdquo...
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Food Chains opens at the break of dawn, as tomato pickers in Immokalee, Florida, hustle onto buses and out to the fields where they spend long hours trying to pick enough fruit to survive. Late in the evening they return to cramped trailers, with barely enough wages to purchase groceries for a family meal. Though Florida's rich soil generates hundreds of millions of dollars worth of tomatoes, those harvesting them make around $12,000 a year. And the worst part, as tomato picker Gerardo Rey...
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Last week, Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas set off a firestorm of ridicule when he took to Twitter in an attempt to mock the concept of net neutrality: "Net Neutrality" is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government. — Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) November 10, 2014 The comparison, so stupid on so many levels that it isn't worth debunking, is not just an isolated example of partisan idiocy. In recent weeks, Republican operatives have ...
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Malaria has long bedeviled those who have sought to eradicate it, particularly in Africa. According to the World Health Organization, in 2012, the disease caused an estimated 627,000 deaths—the majority of those were African children. But now scientists are focusing on a promising new line of research: genetically manipulating the mosquitoes that carry the deadly illness. On this week's Inquiring Minds podcast, George Church—a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and...
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Last week, a federal grand jury indicted former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship for allegedly conspiring to violate mine safety standards in the run-up to the 2010 explosion that killed 29 workers at the Upper Big Branch Mine. The four-count indictment describes a culture of negligence under Blankenship's watch, in which essential safety measures were ignored as the company sought to squeeze every last cent out of the ground. Blankenship, who left Massey in 2010, pleaded not guilty Thurs...
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Over the past four to five years, the United States has been resegregated—politically. In states where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans and presidential races can be nail-biters, skillful Republican operatives have mounted racially-minded gerrymandering efforts—the redrawing of congressional and state legislative districts—that have led to congressional delegations stacked with GOP members and yielded Republican majorities in the state legislatures. In North Carolina...
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On Thursday evening, President Barack Obama announced his hotly anticipated executive action on immigration, which will keep nearly 5 million undocumented residents from being deported. Even though the sweeping measure has elicited threats of retaliation from congressional Republicans, Obama said he moved forward because comprehensive immigration reform is unlikely to go anywhere in the GOP-dominated Congress next year. "I know some of the critics of this action call it amnesty," the preside...
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While you're waiting for the speech to start, read about the three expected takeaways from President Obama's executive action on immigration, or about how some prominent conservatives are already calling for his impeachment.
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MoJo's Prashanth Kamalakanthan visits the 3rd annual Ohlone Big Time Gathering in the Presidio, San Francisco.
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The New York Times indicated today that it's getting close to a round of forced layoffs of its journalists. The newsroom-wide email sent Thursday morning, obtained by Mother Jones, details responses to employee questions about a scheduled buyout program from Janet Elder, a deputy executive editor at the company. The email states that, "the most frequently asked question is about scale and whether or not there will be enough buyouts to avoid layoffs. Given that the buyout window i...
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Almost as soon as President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping announced their landmark climate deal last week, there was a torrent of criticism that the pact let China off the hook. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) complained that "the agreement requires the Chinese to do nothing at all for 16 years." The argument goes like this: The US committed to deeper, faster cuts than it had before—reducing carbon emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. But u...
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Would you notice if your favorite newscaster wore the same outfit day after day for a whole calendar year? Based on an experiment conducted by Karl Stefanovic of Australia's Today program, the answer largely depends on whether the subject is a man or a woman. Stefanovic recently revealed he had been doing just this, sporting the same blue suit for nearly every morning newscast for a year. But as he told his female co-anchors over the weekend, the stunt went virtually unnoticed.  ...
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Minnesota Sen. Al Franken has taken a keen interest in tech policy since coming to Congress. As chairman of a Senate subcommittee that focuses on privacy, technology, and the law, Franken has been one of the more vocal advocates for net neutrality, fought against a proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner, and wondered about the privacy implications of fingerprint scanners on iPhones. Now Franken has set his sights on Uber, an on-demand car service that uses smartphone technology to matc...
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Jim Webb is running for president. The former secretary of the navy and Virginia senator launched a presidential exploratory committee on Thursday, becoming the first Democrat to formally dip his toe in the 2016 waters. Webb explained his candidacy in a video that looks like it was filmed by the people who make commercials for personal-injury attorneys: A Republican for most of his life, Webb endeared himself to Democrats when he switched parties and beat incumbent GOP Sen. George Allen in 200...
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Mycorrhizal fungi growing on a petri dish in Alia Rodriguez's lab Cynthia Graber This article was originally published on Gastropod. Unless you've been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you've probably heard about the human microbiome. Research into the composition, function, and importance of the galaxy of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that, when we're healthy, live in symbiotic balance in and on us has become one of the fastest moving and most intriguing fi...
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Robert Schueren shook my hand firmly, handed me his business card, and flipped it over, revealing a short list of letters and numbers. "Here is my DNA profile." He smiled. "I have nothing to hide." I had come to meet Schueren, the CEO of IntegenX, at his company's headquarters in Pleasanton, California, to see its signature product: a machine the size of a large desktop printer that can unravel your genetic code in the time it takes to watch a movie. Schueren grabbed a cotton swab and drop...
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UPDATE: Sen. Dianne Feinstein has called off her backroom negotiations to push a California water bill through the current, lame-duck Congressional session, The Fresno Bee reported late Thursday afternoon. But she's not finished trying to make a deal with Big Ag-aligned GOP reps. She vowed to "put together a first-day bill for the next Congress, and it can go through the regular order,” the Bee reported.  Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is negotiating a behind-closed-doors...
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On January 23, 2014, Bart Bareither walked into the Marion County Sheriff's Department in Indianapolis. The 39-year-old computer engineer confessed to having raped a nursing student nine years earlier, while he was a teaching assistant at Indiana University. "He had a sincere demeanor. His head was bowed. It was clearly eating at him; he was apologizing," recalls university detective Kimberly Minor, who was brought in to take his statement. Minor then contacted Jenny Wendt, who had been 26...
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This story originally appeared in Slate and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. The big climate news of last week, indeed maybe of the past several years, was the surprise announcement of a bilateral US-China agreement setting targets for CO2 emissions out to the year 2030. Is this really such a big deal, or are climate protection advocates just grasping for any good news to offset the grim implications of a Republican takeover of the US Senate? The answer is: Yes, it...
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Here is a video of three grandmothers in Washington smoking pot for the first time. It is wonderful. P.S. Smoking pot is legal in the Evergreen state so put your cuffs away. (via HuffPo)
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Update: Late Wednesday, Jay Leno said in a brief phone interview that he had called the National Shooting Sports Foundation to cancel his scheduled performance at the SHOT Show. He also said that he'd spoken with Po Murray of the Newtown Action Alliance to let her know. "I understand it's Newtown, and of course I get it," Leno told Mother Jones. "It's just sometimes, mistakes get made." Gun control advocates aren't laughing about Jay Leno's next move. On Tuesday, severa...
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This story originally appeared in the Atlantic and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Blame climate change. Or pestilence. Or China's Westernizing taste in candy. Blame, perhaps, Ebola. Regardless, the world is running out of chocolate. In 2013, the world consumed about 70,000 metric tons more cocoa than it produced. And now, Mars, Inc. and Barry Callebaut—two of the world's biggest manufacturers of chocolate goods—are warning that by 2020, that...
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During the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing, something remarkable happened, as it does every time the world's news cameras train their sites on the Chinese capital: The toxic gray air turned blue. The state-run press even gave it a name: "APEC blue". Magic! Not exactly. In a push to impress (pretend?), the magic wand that Beijing authorities waved to banish the smog was in fact a massive bureaucratic effort that could only be pulled off in one-party-rule China. Te...
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In 2012, I basically considered Mitt Romney a shoo-in for the Republican nomination. I figured that he'd hoover up most of the moderate votes—and despite all the breathless press accounts, moderates still account for at least half of GOP voters—plus a share of the tea partiers, and that was that. The rest of the field would destroy each other as they fought over their own sliver of the tea party vote, eventually leaving Romney battered and unloved, but triumphant. Sure enough, ...
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Following weeks of renewed rape allegations against comedian Bill Cosby, CNN host Don Lemon wanted Joan Tarshis, who has accused Cosby of sexual assault, to know she could have escaped the alleged 1969 attack, if she had used her teeth as a weapon during oral sex. Lemon, insisting he was not trying to be "crude," suggested this tactic while interviewing Tarshis on CNN Tonight: Lemon: You know, there are way not to perform oral sex if you didn't want to do it. Tarshis: Oh, I was kind of st...
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When Democrats in Congress tried to fix the financial system in 2010, one of their main goals was to end the plague of giant financial institutions that had attained too-big-to-fail status—gargantuan banks and non-banks (say, insurance companies) that could one day collapse and, consequently, sink the entire economy unless they received a government bailout. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform legislation that Congress passed compelled financial regulators to identify these companies and ca...
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Elizabeth Warren is off to a running start in her new leadership role with the Senate Democratic caucus. She called out Walmart for its terrible labor practices. She wrote an op-ed this week warning the president against appointing Wall Street insiders to the Federal Reserve. And Tuesday morning, she called on financial institutions to prove that they can protect customer data from cybercriminals. Over the past year, cyber attackers have stolen roughly 500 million records from financial institu...
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You probably know Monsanto as the world's leading producer of genetically engineered seeds—a global agribusiness giant whose critics accuse it of everything from boosting our reliance on pesticides to driving Indian farmers to suicide. But that's actually just the latest in a long series of evolving corporate identities. When the company was founded in 1901 by a St. Louis pharmacist, its initial product was artificial sweetener. Over the next few decades Monsanto expanded into i...
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This story first appeared on the TomDispatch website. Pop the champagne corks in Washington! It's party time for Big Energy. In the wake of the midterm elections, Republican energy hawks are ascendant, having taken the Senate and House by storm. They are preparing to put pressure on a president already presiding over a largely drill-baby-drill administration to take the last constraints off the development of North American fossil fuel reserves. The new Republican majority is certain to p...
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A 6-year-old girl wearing a badass Albert Einstein t-shirt recently had the rare chance to ask everyone's favorite cosmologist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, what first graders like her can do to help the Earth.  Tyson's response? Keep banging those pots, keep stomping in those muddy puddles. "You are making a splash crater," Tyson explained. "These are experiments. Just tell your parents they're experiments and you want to become a scientist and they won't stop you from doing a...
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Adding to our collection of adorable creatures delightfully feasting away on autumnal foods, is a magical clip featuring a hamster nibbling away at Thanksgiving dinner with his closest furry friends. They all wear tiny Pilgrim hats and dine on equally tiny portions of pie and turkey, thanks to the folks at HelloDenizen, the creators of the video. Just look at those cheeks. (h/t Buzzfeed)
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This story originally appeared in the Huffington Post and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. TransCanada Corp., the company seeking to build the Keystone XL pipeline, has teamed up with the world's largest public relations firm to promote a proposed alternative pipeline that's entirely in Canada. Greenpeace Canada obtained documents that the US public relations firm Edelman drafted for TransCanada that outline a campaign to promote Energy East, the company&...
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ISIS, the radical Islamist group that has seized large chunks of Iraq and Syria, has established a significant presence in the Twittersphere, using the microblogging platform to recruit, inspire, and terrorize. So has Twitter, the San Francisco-based tech company that collects large amounts of location and personal data on its users, teamed up with international governments to stop ISIS? Not really. Apparently, ISIS's tweeters are not all violating Twitter's rules. This summer, media ...
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Your kid probably isn't a Leninist, but research suggests she'd like to divvy up other people's stuff equally. Solodov Alexey/Shutterstock At the playground, I watch my 10-month-old son beeline to the center of the sandbox where there is a bright pink shovel. But before he gets there, a rambunctious 2-year-old snatches up the coveted toy first. As my son watches the shovel slip away, a wobbly 14-month-old comes over and offers him a half-chewed cookie. I tear up a bit at this ra...
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As early as this week, President Barack Obama is expected to announce an executive order that would give some five million undocumented immigrants a respite from deportation. Part of the order, according to early reports, will involve reforms to Secure Communities, a program that requires police to share arrestees' fingerprints with federal immigration officials, who can turn around and use the information to deport suspects who are here illegally. Change would a good thing, here, because ...
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We've seen this movie before, and it doesn't end well. On Friday, ABC News published a story about a email listserv maintained by two Democratic operatives: Robby Mook, a former Howard Dean and Hillary Clinton campaign aide, and Marlon Marshall, an Obama White House staffer named Marlon Marshall. The story's title—"EXCLUSIVE: Read the Secret Emails of the Men Who May Run Hillary Clinton's Campaign"—promised a juicy expose. In reality, the substance of what member...
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This story first appeared on the TomDispatch website. In late October, a few days after local news cameras swarmed Detroit's courthouse to hear closing arguments in the city's historic bankruptcy trial, "Commander" Dale Brown cruised through the stately Detroit neighborhood of Palmer Woods in a Hummer emblazoned with the silver, interlocking-crescent-moon logo of his private security company. Brown rolled down the window to ask a middle-aged woman walking her dog whether everything w...
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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has it out for Walmart. On Tuesday, the freshman senator will hold an event on Capitol Hill calling out the retail giant for its low wages and terrible employment practices. The briefing will be held a week ahead of the nationwide anti-Walmart protests planned for Black Friday. Warren will be joined by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.); members of OUR Walmart, a union-backed group helping organize Walmart workers; and representatives from other labor groups. Warren a...
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UPDATE (11/18/14, 6:17 pm ET): A controversial bill to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline failed in the US Senate Tuesday evening. It received 59 "aye" votes, just shy of the 60 needed to send the bill to President Obama's desk. The fight isn't over yet; Republicans have said they plan to prioritize approving the pipeline once they take control of the Senate next year. Below the headlines last week about President Obama's major climate agreement with China, anot...
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Light armored vehicles fire on targets during a training mission. (US Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jonathan R. Waldman)
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The number of homeless children in America reached nearly 2.5 million last year, an all-time high, according to a new report released by the National Center on Family Homelessness. The report, titled "America's Youngest Outcasts" and published Monday, concluded the current population amounts to 1 child out of every 30 experiencing homelessness. From 2012 to 2013, the number of homeless children jumped by 8 percent nationally, with 13 states and the District of Columbia seeing a spike of 10...
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When Emily Herx first took time off work for in vitro fertilization treatment, her boss offered what sounded like words of support: "You are in my prayers." Soon those words took on a more sinister meaning. The Indiana grade school where Herx was teaching English was Catholic. And after church officials were alerted that Herx was undergoing IVF—making her, in the words of one monsignor, "a grave, immoral sinner"—it took them less than two weeks to fire her. Herx filed a discriminati...
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"This is my house," Waed would tell Hassan after the shelling began. "I'm not leaving it." Photograph by Andrew Quilty There was a circle of friends who lived on the southern edge of Damascus in a district called Yarmouk. They were artists, mainly. Actors, filmmakers, photographers, and musicians. Their neighborhood was a maze of alleys and tightly packed, four-story cement block buildings, and it smelled faintly sweet and dusty. On the roofs, the friends would sometimes sit to smoke ciga...
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When the dust cleared and the war formally ended in 2002, Angolans looked back on their previous 40 years and saw little more than violence and bloodshed. After 350 years of Portuguese rule, the country fell into a war of independence followed by a civil war. Factions became Cold War players. Armed with Western and Soviet weapons, the warring sides destroyed the little infrastructure the Portuguese had built, sowed the countryside with land mines, and displaced and killed people by the thousand...
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LoveBlack Beauty High Moon Fans have been waiting a long, long time for this one. The LA ensemble Love, best known for the 1967 folk-pop classic Forever Changes, assumed a variety of guises during its turbulent and intriguing history. On the band's 1966 debut, frontman Arthur Lee and company displayed a heavy debt to the Byrds, though his songwriting was too original to qualify the band as imitators. By the time Love recorded Black Beauty in 1973, Lee was the only remaining original memb...
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Cool GhoulsA Swirling Fire Burning Through the Rye Empty Cellar Psychedelic in the sense of "anything goes," as opposed to tired DayGlo nostalgia, San Francisco's Cool Ghouls project a sloppy party-going-overboard vibe that belies their considerable assets. This vibrant sophomore album was recorded by Sonny Smith, leader of Sonny and the Sunsets, and like that lovably slackerish crew, this snappy quartet uses a studied casualness to mask major pop smarts. Guitars veer abruptly from snarl...
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  "Drilling = Jobs" Don't expect much drama when Louisiana voters go to polls again next month—especially in the 6th Congressional District. After fending off an eclectic field of challengers, Republican Garret Graves is facing former Democratic governor (and convicted felon) Edwin Edwards in a runoff election. Graves, who resigned his job as director of the state's Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority in February, is expected to win handily in a district Mitt...
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A satire video about the siege of Yarmouk.
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Via Mike Issac, here is a cute video of a squirrel stealing a GoPro, running off with it, trying to eat it, then returning it. Head on over to the Daily Mail if you're the type that likes your viral videos explained.   Have a great night.
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President Obama and other world leaders are in Australia for the G20. They spent the day doing world leader things like talking about climate change and tourist things like holding koalas.   President Obama holds a koala before the start of the G20 Summit in Brisbane, Australia. A photo posted by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on Nov 11, 2014 at 2:19pm PST   Also, via Mother Jones' Senior Australian correspondent James West, the Daily Telegraph has had better days:   Oh no, ...
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I have been to the Oscars, to Cannes, to Sundance, and speaking for myself only, at this particular juncture in time—I retain the right to change my mind in the future; maybe I'm going through some stuff right now; maybe I'll regret this—these Super Bad Mario videos are the most entertaining things I've ever seen in my entire life. The bit with the television presenter on the boat in this one is art. Have a nice weekend.
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NDA's work is "fantastic and gruesome," Litvin writes. All photos from "Outdoor Gallery," by Yoav Litvin. Yankees caps, tattooed children, cartoonish women, men riding lions, Nazis in gas masks, dragons in hats: All of these figures decorate the buildings of New York City, and photographer Yoav Litvin's new book, Outdoor Gallery, is the fulfillment of his mission to bring their vibrant shapes, colors, and lines to a larger public audience. "I learned a visual language spoken by a t...
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This story first appeared on the TomDispatch website. With the launch of a new US-led war in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State (IS), the United States has engaged in aggressive military action in at least 13 countries in the Greater Middle East since 1980. In that time, every American president has invaded, occupied, bombed, or gone to war in at least one country in the region. The total number of invasions, occupations, bombing operations, drone assassination campaigns, and cruise missi...
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Last Friday, the Anglo-Dutch mega-conglomerate Unilever, owner of Hellmann's Mayonnaise, filed suit against the vegan upstart Hampton Creek, maker of egg-free Just Mayo, citing "false advertising and unfair competition," and whining claiming that "Just Mayo already is stealing market share from Hellmann's." Unilever, which long ago swallowed Ben & Jerry's, Breyer's, Lipton, Mrs. Filbert's, Slimfast, Close-Up, Noxzema, Q-Tips, Vaseline, and hundreds of other brands i...
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Following the backlash to their "The Perfect Body" campaign, Victoria's Secret appears to be attempting a bit of damage control with a new video that actually shows it's still as tone-deaf to body image concerns as ever. The video, posted on Instagram, features model Sara Sampaio explaining that even beautiful models know what it's like to long for the bone structure of others—in this case, Candice. But Sampaio knows that "not in a million" years could s...
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Would you be excited to pluck a bag of precut, gleaming-white potato slices from supermarket produce bin—fresh not frozen, and ready to throw in the pan or the FryDaddy? Your answer may decide the fate of the "Innate" potato, which has been genetically engineered to resist browning and to contain less of the amino acid that turns into acrylamide—a probably human carcinogen—when potatoes are fried at high temperatures. Developed by the agribusiness giant J.R. Simplot, a major p...
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A new study featured in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science concludes white people may possess a "superhuman bias" against black people, and are therefore likely to attribute preternatural qualities to black people. Jesse Singal explains at the Science of Us: In a series of five studies, some involving so-called implicit association tests in which words are flashed on a screen quickly enough to "prime" a subject with their meaning but not for them to consciously u...
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Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship was indicted by a federal grand jury on Thursday, more than four years after an explosion at his company's Upper Big Branch Mine killed 29 coal miners. The four-count indictment alleges that Blankenship "conspired to commit and cause routine violations of mandatory federal mine safety standards" in order to "produce more coal, avoid the costs of following safety laws, and make more money." (Blankenship was also indicted for allegedly making false st...
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The details of President Barack Obama's much-rumored, much-debated executive action on immigration have been leaked to the press, and the broad outline, according to Fox News and the New York Times, includes deportation relief for upwards of 5 million people. Republicans are already lining up to block the White House's plans, and Obama's successor could go ahead and reverse course in 2017, anyway. Still, here are three reported provisions that could have a dramatic impact on the ...
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  This story originally appeared in the Huffington Post and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. If anyone thought the announcement of a bilateral US-China climate agreement on Wednesday might lead to a breakthrough on climate policy in Washington, Senate Republicans would like to inform them otherwise. The presumptive Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said he was "distressed" by the US-China deal, arguing that it "requires the Chinese to do nothi...
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One evening a few days before the midterm elections, Sen. Al Franken stood on a low raised platform at Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party's St. Paul headquarters, addressing a few dozen loyal supporters. Chris Coleman, St. Paul's mayor, had introduced the freshman senator by telling the crowd that Franken had fulfilled the legacy of the late progressive icon Paul Wellstone, whose Senate seat Franken now holds. "Thank you for saying I've been your Paul," Franken replied solemnly. "Ther...
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As early as next week, President Barack Obama is expected to issue an executive order that would allow as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants to stay in the country without facing deportation. Not unexpectedly, Republicans are outraged, and some have hinted that the only way to stop the plan is impeachment. Here are seven conservative politicians and pundits who have preemptively dropped the I-word in response to Obama's rumored immigration policy: Sarah Palin: "Enough is enough of t...
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Perhaps the most important story on Election Night 2014 was not the Republican Party winning back the US Senate, but the GOP's utter domination at the state level. Beginning in 2015, Republicans will control 68 out of 98 partisan state legislative chambers, the most in the party's history. It will also hold 31 governorships. Republicans will maintain one-party control—holding the governor's seat and majorities in both legislative chambers—in 23 states. The Democrats c...
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The Unspeakable By Meghan Daum FSG In a series of essays reminiscent of a slightly restrained David Sedaris, Los Angeles Times columnist Meghan Daum comes off as humorously dysfunctional and occasionally deranged as she plunges into topics best avoided: her true feelings as her mother lay dying, disdain for motherhood, bad dating choices, courting of lesbians (she's straight), abject failure as a Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor and prospective foster parent, and even her awkward encounter...
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UPDATED 11/14/14 at 10:32 a.m. PST. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is ordering a massive overhaul of America's nuclear weapons program after finding that "we've taken our eye off the ball," he said at a press conference on Friday morning. The Pentagon released a review of the nuclear forces that found outdated equipment, weak leadership, and abysmal morale among the men and women responsible for maintaining and launching some of the most destructive weapons on the planet. It found, for...
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Yet again, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was forced to defend her decision to remain in leadership following the disappointing midterm elections, a position she says she would not have to uphold if it weren't for being a woman. Speaking at her weekly press conference on Thursday, Pelosi schooled reporters with the following: "What I said to the most recent person who asked 'Well you’ve lost now three times. Why don’t you step aside?' And I said, ...
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By now we're familiar with some of the scarier potential impacts of climate change: Floods, fires, stronger hurricanes, violent conflicts. Well, here's a new one to add to your nightmares. Lightning strikes in the continental United States will increase roughly 12 percent for every degree Celsius of global warming, a study published today in Science finds. If warming continues unchecked, that could translate into a 50 percent increase in lightning by the end of the century—three...
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Via our friends at Gizmodo, this video is why I have not gotten any work done today.
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The Federalist Society kicked off its national convention Thursday in Washington, DC, with a speech from Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who is one of two justices headlining the event. The other is Justice Samuel Alito, who is on tap for the conservative legal group's big dinner Thursday night. For years, liberal good-government types have been criticizing Scalia and the other conservative justices for participating in Federalist Society functions. The events also serve as fundraise...
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On Tuesday, China and the United States announced an unprecedented plan to work together to fight global warming. The deal includes new trade partnerships and significant new greenhouse gas goals for both countries. The US pledged to cut its emissions by up to 28 percent by 2025, while China agreed that its emissions would peak around 2030 and promised to get one-fifth of its power from non-fossil-fuel energy sources by the same year. Environmental groups have roundly welcomed the plan as an im...
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On Wednesday, six massive international banks agreed to pay $4.3 billion to settle allegations from regulators in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland that their traders tried to manipulate the $5.3 trillion-a-day foreign-currency exchange market. But Wall Street watchdogs say the banks got off with a slap on the wrist. From 2008 through 2013, traders at JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, HSBC, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and UBS colluded to coordinate the buying and ...
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Six years after the financial crisis, Paul Mason of Channel 4 News in England is officially fed up with watching big banks screw their clients, while financial regulators continue to dole out little to no punishment for each new banking scandal. It’s six years since I had to stand outside RBS for its near collapse and I’m sick of having to return there… rant: http://t.co/QFpKrvqSJw — Paul Mason (@paulmasonnews) November 12, 2014 "I have sat in the rooms where they'...
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Last week, 90-year-old World War II veteran Arnold Abbott made national headlines when he got busted by cops in Fort Lauderdale, Florida twice in one week—for giving out food to homeless people. While serving a public meal on November 2, Abbott told the Sun-Sentinel, "a policeman pulled my arm and said, 'Drop that plate right now,' like it was a gun." Abbott runs a nonprofit group that regularly distributes food in city parks. Because of an ordinance the city passed this Se...
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TRACK 4 "Spanish Mary" From Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes electromagnetic recordings/harvest Liner notes: "Is it a mystery to live/Or is it a mystery to die?" Rhiannon Giddens asks with cool grace, as banjo and mellotron add arresting texture to this spooky toe-tapper. Behind the music: Entrusted with previously unseen Bob Dylan lyrics from 1967, T Bone Burnett recruited Elvis Costello, Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops), Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes), Jim James (My Morning Jacket), and...
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The high-profile killings of figures like Ferguson, Missouri's Michael Brown have stirred a national conversation about police brutality as of late. But it turns out the Americas' second biggest economy struggles with this issue on a much greater scale: Brazil's police killed more than 11,000 civilians between 2008 and 2013; on average, a staggering six people every day. This jaw-dropping number was released today in a Brazilian Public Security Forum (BPSF) report which rounds up...
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On Monday, President Barack Obama urged the Federal Communications Commission to safeguard net neutrality and not allow internet companies to give preference (for a fee) to certain types of online traffic. After much debate, the president was declaring his support for a free-flowing internet in which telecom firms do not block or slow traffic in order to pocket more profits or promote their own commercial (and perhaps even political) interests. But there could be a problem: FCC chairman Tom Whe...
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The plan announced last night for the United States and China to join forces in the fight against climate change is a big deal. It sets a new, more ambitious greenhouse gas reduction target for the US (although the target will only bring emissions slightly below 1990 levels, which isn't as aggressive as climate scientists have advocated). It establishes a goal for China to get one-fifth of its power from low-carbon sources by 2030. And it lays out what both countries will bring to the tabl...
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US Army soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas pose for a photo with the Prime Minister of Estonia as a part of Operation Atlantic Resolve. (US Army photo by Staff Sgt. Ray Boyington)
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This story originally appeared in The Atlantic and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. I've been offline for many hours and am just now seeing the announcements from Beijing. The United States and China have apparently agreed to do what anyone who has thought seriously about climate has been hoping for, for years. As the No. 1 (now China) and No. 2 carbon emitters in the world, and as the No. 1 (still the US) and No. 2 economies, they've agreed to new carbon...
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On August 9, 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Brown, an African American, was unarmed. The killing sparked a wave of protests, some of them violent, and calls to formally charge Wilson. With a grand jury decision on the shooting investigation expected imminently, residents and law enforcement agencies in Ferguson and across St. Louis are bracing for a new round of protests and possible violence. More MoJo coverage of the Michael Brow...
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In the new sci-fi epic Interstellar, Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway don astronaut suits, leave an Earth that has been so poisoned it can no longer produce food to support the human race, and zip through a wormhole in search of new planets where homo sapiens might be able start over—while Jessica Chastain works on a mathematical formula that will allow our species to defy gravity. The big-budget blockbuster is a familiar gotta-save-humanity cinematic romp, chock-full of dramatic chi...
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The news out of Liberia has been upbeat lately, with fewer and fewer cases of the deadly Ebola virus being reported. But even as the direct threat posed by the disease appears to be receding, experts are warning that it has given rise to a related crisis: rampant hunger. To assess the problem, researchers from Mercy Corps, an NGO based in Portland, Ore., spoke with 122 households and 122 vendors in three of the most heavily afflicted parts of the country—Lofa County, once the epicenter of...
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You have to give Alabama credit for its cheek. Last year, the state's Shelby County persuaded the US Supreme Court to find unconstitutional part of the Voting Rights Act that required certain states with histories of discriminatory election laws to get permission from the federal government before changing their voting practices. On Wednesday, Alabama will argue before the court that the same provision it helped decimate compelled lawmakers to racially gerrymander the entire state. This co...
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The National Organization for Marriage, a conservative group that campaigns against same-sex marriage, popped the cork for some post-midterms rejoicing on Monday. On its website, the organization "claimed victory" in last week's elections, gleefully celebrating Democrats' wins over three Republicans who supported same-sex marriage. But NOM's joy is a bit misplaced: The Democrats who won support the same policies the group is fighting against. As I noted back in October, NOM targe...
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Francis Baah on his family's farm Peter DiCampo   Francis Baah didn't always want to be a farmer. As a little kid growing up in a village outside the small city of Koforidua, Ghana, he watched his father toil in the fields all day to grow corn that his mother bundled to sell at the market. And even after all that hard work, there wasn't always enough money to send Francis and his four siblings to school. Buy the book. Francis knew what people thought of farming. When an a...
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More coverage of the historic US-China climate deal. The US and China Just Announced a Huge Deal on Climate—and It's a Game Changer Is the US-China Climate Pact as Big a Deal as It Seems? Awkward: Watch a Supercut of Republicans Using China As an Excuse to Do Nothing About Climate Change Deep Inside the Wild World of China's Fracking Boom Here Comes the Sun: America's Solar Boom, in Charts The shock announcement of an ambitious an...
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In a surprise announcement Tuesday night, the world's two biggest economies and greenhouse gas emitters, United States and China, said they will partner closely on a broad-ranging package of plans to fight climate change, including new targets to reduce carbon pollution, according to a statement from the White House. The announcement comes after President Obama met with Chinese President Xi Jinping today in Beijing, and includes headline-grabbing commitments from both countries that are su...
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While a complex web of factors have contributed to the rise in income inequality in America, a new research paper says most of the blame can be largely placed in the immense growth experienced by the top tenth of the richest 1 percent of Americans in recent years. From the report: The rise of wealth inequality is almost entirely due to the rise of the top 0.1% wealth share, from 7% in 1979 to 22% in 2012, a level almost as high as in 1929. The bottom 90% wealth share first increased up to the m...
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Yesterday was the United States Marine Corps' 239th birthday. Jarheads and leathernecks celebrated as they long have—with big-ass cakes like the one above, which commemorated the Corps' 233rd birthday in 2008. The Marines' big birthday cake bashes date back to at least 1935. They're such a part of Marine tradition that there's even a protocol for cake serving, including the ceremonial use of the Mameluke sword (below) and who gets the first slices (the guest of ho...
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After last week's midterm elections, the Senate is set to be packed with a brand new crop of Republican climate change deniers. They'll supplement the GOP's old guard of science skeptics, including Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and James Inhofe (Okla.), who will likely become chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. One of the major repercussions of the GOP's Senate takeover could actually play out overseas, at next winter's United Nations climate summit in Paris...
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the world's biggest economies and carbon emitters
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For years, as lawmakers in other conservative states passed onerous restrictions designed to limit abortion access, deep-red Tennessee stood out as an exception—because the state's constitution forbade many of the harshest anti-abortion measures. But that changed on Election Day. Last week, 53 percent of Tennessee voters approved Amendment 1—a change to the state's constitution that will allow lawmakers to pass a slew of new abortion restrictions. And Republicans, led by B...
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This story originally appeared in CityLab and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. The ever-thought-provoking David Levinson posed a question at his Transportationist blog earlier this week that's worth a longer look: Are you more likely to die from being in a car crash or from breathing in car emissions? If your gut reaction is like mine, then you've already answered in favor of crashes. But when you really crunch the numbers, the question not only becomes t...
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On Friday, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear King v. Burwell, a case that could gut Obamacare and leave millions of Americans without health insurance. The case hinges on what is essentially a typo in the Affordable Care Act, a mistake that conservatives claim invalidates most of the subsidies the bill provides to help people buy insurance. If the justices buy the conservatives' argument—and there's reason to think they might—residents of the 34 states that pr...
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or at least one, in the form of Arthur Chu, the 30-year-old Cleveland native who took home nearly $300,000 after winning an 11-game streak and seemingly pissing off half of America. How? His sins ranged from "pounding the bejesus out of his buzzer" to skipping wildly around the board in search of Daily Doubles, setting longtime viewers' heads on fire. The "Jeopardy! bad boy" has continued courting controversy since his February appearance with a number of provocative essays on race and...
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TRACK 4 "Pouring Rain" From Dream Police's Hypnotized sacred bones Liner notes: Woozy analog synths + jittery drum machine + yearning vocals = scruffy, poignant psychedelia. Behind the music: Dream Police is Nick Chiericozzi and Mark Perro, founders of the mercurial Brooklyn band the Men, which has ranged from brutal punk to rootsy Americana. Check it out if you like: Velvet Underground, Neu!, early Human League.
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This story first appeared on the TomDispatch website. Karl von Clausewitz, the famed Prussian military thinker, is best known for his aphorism "War is the continuation of state policy by other means." But what happens to a war in the absence of coherent state policy? Actually, we now know. Washington's Iraq War 3.0, Operation Inherent Resolve, is what happens. In its early stages, I asked sarcastically, "What could possibly go wrong?" As the mission enters its fourth month, the answer to ...
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While students around the country join Emma Sulkowicz's fight against flawed campus sexual assault policies, a new song by popular duo Play-N-Skillz is glorifying rape culture to the catchy tune of telling women to quit resisting and drink up already. The video, which came out in late October, has already been viewed more than 600,000 times.  Sample lyrics include: "A shot of vodka? I can't. Tequila? I can't. After party? I can't. Girl-on-girl? I can't. L...
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Mexican officials announced Friday that they now believe the 43 college students who went missing September 26 after clashing with police in the southwestern state of Guerrero were shot, killed, and burned by narcos from an area drug cartel. Authorities suspect that Jose Luis Abarca, the mayor of the city of Iguala, and his wife ordered local police to confront the students at the Normal Rural School of Ayotzinpa for fear that they'd disrupt an event she was holding that night. Jesú...
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In a move strongly backing net neutrality regulations, President Barack Obama announced his plan to reclassify the internet as a utility in order to preserve the web's "basic principles of openness and fairness." Net neutrality has been built into the fabric of the Internet since its creation — but it is also a principle that we cannot take for granted. We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketpla...
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US Marines patch up holes after close-range shooting practice. (US Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Timothy Parish)
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Americans spend a colossal amount of money betting on the lottery, even when the chances of winning have always been near-impossible. In fact last year alone, lottery sales raked in a massive total of $68 billion, according to the latest Last Week Tonight. "That's more than Americans spent last year on movie tickets, music, porn, the NFL, Major League Baseball, and video games combined," John Oliver explained. "Which means Americans basically spent more on the lottery than they spent on Am...
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Republicans had a pretty good night last Tuesday. They won control of the Senate and added to their already-sizable House majority. They now hold 33 governors' mansions and 69 of the 99 state legislative chambers. But even as they solidified their grip on state governments, they came up short in one red state they'd trained their sights on—Kentucky. And that's bad news for Sen. Rand Paul. While the national GOP's resources primarily targeted the state's Senate rac...
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Most bands don't announce their final album in advance. That designation is typically applied post-facto, when once-harmonious bandmates descend into irreparable squabbles on the road. But Norwegian electronic duo Röyksopp has declared that its aptly named new LP, The Inevitable End, out this week, its last. But Svein Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland aren't disbanding. Instead, they simply plan to ditch the old long-play format. "We feel like this is a goodbye to the traditio...
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Illustration by Tavis Coburn Along a lonely state highway on central Montana's high plains, I approach what looks like a ranch entrance, complete with cattle guard. "The first ace in the hole," reads a hand-etched cedar plank hanging from tall wooden posts. "In continuous operation for over 50 years." I drive up the dirt road to a building surrounded by video cameras and a 10-foot-tall, barbed-wire-topped fence stenciled with a poker spade. "It is unlawful to enter this area," notes a sig...
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Bob DylanThe Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 Columbia Records/Legacy Recordings The recordings Bob Dylan made with The Band in the basement of a house in West Saugerties, New York in 1967 have long been the stuff of legend. Bootlegged in part as Great White Wonder before the end of the decade, released officially in truncated and doctored form in 1975, and repeatedly bootlegged in numerous permutations since, these remarkable recordings found Bob and friends in back-to-bas...
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Thanks to a steep learning curve in the design and handling of nuclear weapons, a continuing emphasis on readiness before safety, and a history of mismanagement—see "Death Wears Bunny Slippers," our companion story on the disgruntled young men who babysit our ICBMs—the United States military has had a frightening number of near-misses. Here's an abridged timeline of scandals and close calls gleaned from media reports, military sources, and from Eric Schlosser's must-read b...
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Today marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which for more than 28 years divided East and West Germany and became the defining symbol of the Cold War. On November 9, 1989, following a series of large protests that swept throughout Eastern Europe, East German officials hurriedly changed travel regulations to the West, for the first time allowing regular citizens to cross. The rules were supposed to take effect the next day, but East Germans swarmed the border stations and, a...
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For many people who grow up with their noses in books, meeting their favorite character is the ultimate fantasy. Mallory Ortberg isn't one of those readers. "They're such assholes," the co-founder of feminist website The Toast says when I ask her who in the Western canon she'd most want as a texting buddy. "I don't know that I would want any of them to have my phone number, because they would all feel very free to text me at 2:00 in the morning just screaming." Ortberg has p...
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On November 9, photographer Robert Frank turns 90. While turning 90 is worth celebrating, what's even more impressive is that the work he created 60 years ago continues to resonate so strongly today. Frank's photos of the postwar United States still feel incredibly fresh, even if they bear the weight of history—and even if their details (the clothes, the cars, the hairstyles) seem so dated. By the time Frank's now-landmark book The Americans hit US bookstore shelves in 1959...
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This story originally appeared in The Huffington Post and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. To say Tuesday was a bad day for environmental groups would be an understatement. In his opening remarks at a National Press Club event recapping the election results Wednesday afternoon, League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski joked that environmental groups had thought twice about even holding the event. "It wasn't the best night for us," he said. Michae...
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An estimated 37 percent of eligible voters cast ballots during Tuesday's midterm elections—the lowest voter turnout since 1942. It wasn't that much of an anomaly, however: For decades, voter turnout in non-presidential election years has hovered far below what it was in the mid-19th century, when it peaked at around 70 percent. The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance ranks the United States 120th out of 169 countries for average voter turnout. Today, S...
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Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges was recently participating in a neighborhood charity event aimed at boosting voter participation, when she stopped to pose in a photo with a volunteer named Navell Gordon. In said photo, Hodges and Navell point at each other. Pretty typical stuff, and material for, at most, a quick news anecdote highlighting the mayor's community involvement. But Navell happens to be a young black man, a fact that must have something to with what happened next: Newscasters at...
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US Navy Sailors deploy a MK 18 MOD 2 Swordfish camera to survey the ocean floor. In this operation, designed to promote maritime security, a quarter of the world's navies are participating. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Blake Midnight)
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When the 114th Congress convenes in January, Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski will likely take over as chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee—one of several committees whose work deals directly with climate and energy policy. Unlike many of her GOP peers in the upper chamber, Murkowski doesn't deny that the climate is changing. She's even referred to Alaska as "ground zero for climate change." But as we've pointed out, in recent years it's become in...
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A purple-haired woman stops in front of the actor Cary Elwes' table among the shelves of San Francisco's Book Passage. "Can I just say, 'Thank you for my childhood?'" If Elwes were slicker, or perhaps more full of himself, he might have responded with "As you wish." That's the catchphrase of Westley, the swoony farmboy turned pirate he played in The Princess Bride. It's also the title of the book he’s here in town to sign, in which he describes the making of...
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Last week, an energy analyst at Deutsche Bank came to a startling conclusion: By 2016, solar power will be as cheap or cheaper than electricity from the conventional grid in every state except three. That's without any changes to existing policy. In other words, we're only a few years away from the point where, in most of the United States, there will be no economic reason not to go solar. If you care about slowing climate change or just moving toward cleaner energy, that is a huge de...
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First there was the initial optimism, the confidence that this was all a misunderstanding, and once they found out who you really were they would let you go. Then there was your conviction that you were innocent, that you had nothing to hide. There was the giving of email passwords to prove it. There was the moment you realized that they had seen everything, that there was nothing else you could do to prove your innocence, and that even if you had something, it wouldn't matter—they ...
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Of all the victories conservatives are crowing about this week, none seem as welcome as that of Utah's Mia Love, the first black Republican woman ever to be elected to Congress. She's been the subject of fawning profiles and officially dubbed a "rockstar" by Michelle Malkin and other right-wing pundits. But Mia Love is a rockstar mostly to people who don't live in Utah. To a person like me, born and raised in Utah, Love's victory is a symbol of our trend toward nationalized ...
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On Thursday, a federal appeals court upheld bans on gay marriage in Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Michigan. In a 2-1 vote, the 6th Circuit reversed lower courts' rulings which had found the bans unconstitutional and sets up a likely Supreme Court showdown. Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey issued a scathing dissent. Here are her five best lines. 1. "The author of the majority opinion has drafted what would make an engrossing TED Talk or, possibly, an introduc...
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This story first appeared on the TomDispatch website. It began with an unexpected rapping on the front door. When Wiley Gill opened up, no one was there. Suddenly, two police officers appeared, their guns drawn, yelling, "Chico Police Department." "I had tunnel vision," Gill said, "The only thing I could see was their guns." After telling him to step outside with his hands in the air, the officers lowered their guns and explained. They had received a report—later determined to be unfound...
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In several races around the country on Tuesday, the victors won by razor-thin margins. Many of these races were in states that had recently enacted voting restrictions expected to depress turnout amongst minorities, young voters, and the poor, according to a new report released Wednesday by the Brennan Center. No one knows how many of the newly disenfranchised may have voted. Nevertheless, the report's author Wendy Weiser notes, "[I]n several key races, the margin of victory came very...
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We are, tediously, hearing lots of jabber this week about how maybe this election finally sent a message to Washington that the public wants government to work, dammit. Compromise is the order of the day. Republicans need to show that they can govern. Obama needs to show he can be flexible. Meh. I don't see why anyone thinks this. Mitch McConnell has spent six years obstructing everything in sight, and there's no special reason to think that's going to change. John Boehner has sp...
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Hidden beneath the doom and gloom that was this awful Tuesday was an exciting update on emojis: diversity is on its way and we have PROOF. Behold: Unicode Yes, on Tuesday, the folks at the Unicode Consortium released a draft detailing the surprisingly complex process they're taking on to include more racially inclusive characters by using a palette of six different skin tones. Unicode Consortium "It’s about time. I didn't have anything to represent me,” 14-year-old Shama...
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A US Marine returns for a homecoming event after spending six months in the Pacific region. (DoD photo by Cpl. Scott Reel, US Marine Corps)
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"If Chevron can roll over you, they and their buddies will roll over every community in America," Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told a crowd two weeks ago in Richmond, California where the energy giant was attempting to influence local elections. "You can stand up and beat them will all of their money. You're going to give hope to people all over America that we can control our destiny." It turns out, Richmond residents were listening. On Tuesday, the town took heed of Sanders' warnings and ...
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Last week, as part of the Bay Area Science Festival, I had the chance to interview Mythbusters host and producer Adam Savage for a live episode of the Inquiring Minds podcast. Savage is a science evangelist, and he's been instrumental in educating huge numbers of people on how science works and why it's so much fun. The longevity and popularity of Mythbusters has elevated him to rock-star status—his live show, Mythbusters: Behind the Myths, is scheduled to play this year in doz...
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The 2014 election season acquired its fair share of nicknames: the Nothing Election, the Seinfeld Election, and the Meh Midterms. Here's another: The Year of Koch. Big money from outside spenders like the Koch brothers' political network and the pro-Democratic Senate Majority PAC dominated this year's elections. In the battleground states, a voter couldn't watch five minutes of television, listen to the radio, or cue up a YouTube clip without being bombarded by political ads...
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