Mother Jones


"My Guilt Will Never Go Away"

Mother Jones

Think of scenes from Tim O'Brien's iconic Vietnam War book, The Things They Carried, William Manchester's World War II odyssey, Goodbye Darkness, William Styron's Sophie's Choice, or films like William Wyler's The Best Years of Our Lives and Oliver Stone's Platoon. She was perhaps typical when she told the makers of the documentary film National Bird that, in helping carry out drone strikes which killed people across the globe by remote control, "I lost part of my humanity." This reality led me, as my book developed, to interview now-elderly Japanese who had experienced World War II as children. The Department of Veterans Affairs now acknowledges moral injury and its effects, and in 2014 Syracuse University created the Moral Injury Project to bring together vets, doctors, and chaplains to work on how to deal with it.


Here's Why Water in the West Goes from Drought to Deluge

Mother Jones

Jerry Brown declared over on April 7--this winter's record-breaking wet weather has recharged surface water supplies across California: By the end of February, reservoirs in about 80 percent of the state's river basins were above historical average capacity. This year's plentiful precipitation is pushing water-forecasting models to their limits as analysts predict summer water supply based on winter rain and snowfall amounts outside historical norms. The late March or early April California snowpack reading is crucial for the managers that allocate water to irrigation districts and customers downstream of Trinity Lake, the third largest reservoir in the state, says Donald Bader, manager of the Northern California Area Office of the Bureau of Reclamation, which manages about a dozen California reservoirs. Blue Mesa, for example, the largest reservoir in Colorado, was at 69 percent capacity by the end of March; that's 126 percent of the historical average for that time of year.


Botched 911 Call in Tamir Rice Case Results in 8-Day Suspension

Mother Jones

Recordings of the initial 911 call and the radio dispatch to officers, released by the Cleveland police department in November [2014] showed that the details about Rice's suspected age and fake gun never reached [Officers] Loehmann and Garmback. But Hollinger refused to answer investigators' questions about why she did not input the details about Rice's suspected age and possibly fake gun, per the advice of her union-provided attorney. Hollinger declined to comment to Mother Jones about her role in the case, citing the ongoing investigation and the Cleveland police department's "stringent rules" about making public statements. Although a grand jury declined to indict the officers involved in the shooting, Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, the two face an ongoing internal investigation into their conduct.


Trump's Plan to Slash Weather Forecast Funding Is Terrible News for Farms

Mother Jones

But to provide its forecasts, the Weather Service leans heavily on another NOAA program, the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service, which operates the satellite that deliver crucial data. In my time farming vegetables in western North Carolina, my co-workers and I relied heavily on weather forecasts to make decisions on when to sow seeds (best before a rain) or cover frost-vulnerable crops to protect them from an unseasonable cold snap. I asked a spokesman for the US Farm Bureau Federation, a Big Ag lobbying outfit that made a huge fuss over the EPA water rule that Trump recently rescinded, what the group thought of the proposed cuts to NOAA's satellite program. Trump's recent executive order protected farmers from an EPA crackdown that's purely imaginary.


Moscow Thanks You for Sharing Its Cute Cat Pics

Mother Jones

RT publishes stories that elevate fringe voices left and right--Michael T. Flynn, Trump's national security adviser, has been an RT commentator--with the apparent goal of sowing distrust in the American government. Should we happen to share that Binney story on Twitter, we compound the problem by enlisting the help of bots and fake accounts posing as real people. That's where we're headed: AI and machine learning algorithms will analyze your online habits, personal data (calendar, relationships, work history, places traveled), and communication preferences (say, that you like strong narratives over short informational pieces). Because our attention is increasingly sucked up by fake news and salacious headlines, we're excluding credible independent voices now.


The Bizarre and Inspiring Story of Iowa's Fish Farmers

Mother Jones

According to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization, about 30 percent of the world's wild stocks are fished at biologically unsustainable levels, and research by acclaimed French marine biologist Daniel Pauly suggests the real figure could be more like 45 percent. They knew that one pound of beef can require six pounds of grain and 1,800 gallons of water to produce; a pound of pork might take four pounds of grain and about 600 gallons of water. The Nelsons bought this unique water recirculation system, called Opposing Flows, from an inventor in Maryland named Rick Sheriff, who back in the 1980s designed a simple, elegant setup that uses air blowers to simultaneously circulate and oxygenate the water. Grace Nelson calls Opposing Flows the family's "secret sauce."


The Bizarre and Inspiring Story of Iowa's Fish Farmers

Mother Jones

According to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization, about 30 percent of the world's wild stocks are fished at biologically unsustainable levels, and research by acclaimed French marine biologist Daniel Pauly suggests the real figure could be more like 45 percent. They knew that one pound of beef can require six pounds of grain and 1,800 gallons of water to produce; a pound of pork might take four pounds of grain and about 600 gallons of water. The Nelsons bought this unique water recirculation system, called Opposing Flows, from an inventor in Maryland named Rick Sheriff, who back in the 1980s designed a simple, elegant setup that uses air blowers to simultaneously circulate and oxygenate the water. Grace Nelson calls Opposing Flows the family's "secret sauce."


Robots Are Growing Tons of Our Food. Here's the Creepy Part.

Mother Jones

It got another major boost in 2013, when Monsanto, a top producer of genetically modified seeds and pesticides, bought a Silicon Valley weather prediction startup called the Climate Corporation for $930 million. These massive corporations can be trusted to steer their data clients toward smart farming decisions...right? In short, these globe-spanning companies are vying to become one-stop farm shops, selling seeds (often genetically modified), pesticides, data analysis, and ultimately advice on how to knit it all together. These massive corporations can be trusted to steer their data clients toward smart farming decisions…right?


Here Are All the Sneaky Tricks Candidates Use to Dodge Debate Questions

Mother Jones

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will finally face-off in their first presidential debate tonight, in an event that's expected to draw a record-breaking 100 million viewers. Presidential debates, unlike those held during the primaries, are supposed to be, well, more presidential: there are specific rules governing how long candidates are supposed to speak and topics are set in advance. It's likely they'll dodge difficult questions, hurl insults, and in some cases, change the subject entirely. We The Voters has assembled a star-studded crew, including director Morgan Spurlock and actors and actresses such as Rosario Dawson, Tom Arnold, and Mario Cantone, to produce videos that break down the 2016 campaign in an approachable, entertaining way, so voters can get to the polls knowing exactly what's at stake.


But If You Don't Learn Cursive, How Will You Read the Declaration of Independence in the Original?

Mother Jones

Since the advent of the Common Core standards--which emphasizes keyboard skills over nicely shaped P's and Q's--it's been common knowledge for years that teachers are abandoning cursive in droves, spending classroom time instead on new technology and typing. John Hancock's "John Hancock" appears prominently on the Declaration of Independence. With handwriting under threat by typewriters, Austin Palmer introduces a smaller, faster writing style, taught via militaristic "drills." From a Louisiana poll test: "Write every other word in this first line and print every third word in same line (original type smaller and first line ended at comma) but capitalize the fifth word that you write."