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Mother Jones May/June 2018

Mother Jones is a nonprofit news organization with a bi-monthly magazine that delivers bold and original reporting on the urgent issues of our day, from politics and climate change to education and the food we eat. We investigate stories that are in the public’s interest. From revelatory scoops to deep-dive investigations, Mother Jones journalism is award-winning storytelling that informs and inspires 10 million monthly readers.

United States
Foundation For National Progress
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6 Issues


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STEPHANIE MENCIMER has covered the courts and domestic policy for Mother Jones for the last 10 years. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2017 and soon set out to learn why she never knew alcohol was such a risk factor. Her story on how the booze industry has tried to convince people that drinking is good for them (“Bottled Up,” page 44) is published as she marks her first year as a cancer survivor. Atlanta-based science journalist MARYN MCKENNA has written about epidemics, disasters, and superbugs around the world: polio eradication in India, a field hospital in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, and, for this issue, a lost Soviet antibiotic alternative called bacteriophages (“The Best Viral News You’ll Ever Read,” page 54). Big Chicken, her second book on antibiotics,…

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you’ve been hacked

ONE OF THE MOST important pieces of political prognosis of the past decade appeared in the Wall Street Journal on March 4, 2010. It was a look ahead at that year’s midterm elections, the first chance for voters to render a verdict on a new president whom many Americans disliked to the point of considering him illegitimate. The author was Karl Rove. (Yeah, remember Turd Blossom?) The bland headline: “The GOP Targets State Legislatures.” The piece dispassionately noted that while Washington was “fixated” on whether the election would deliver a rebuke to President Barack Obama, the most significant votes were being cast way down the ballot. That was because 2010 was a census year, meaning that over the following two years, legislatures in dozens of states would redraw electoral districts. If…

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out of the blue

BEFORE SHE COULD talk about her campaign for the Texas House of Representatives, Lisa Seger needed to check on her goats. Seger, who lives with her husband and 30 goats on a farm outside Houston, had a doe in the maternity stall that was due any minute. “Spring is kidding season,” she explained. If elected, the 47-year-old Seger, a sustainable-agriculture proponent who got into farming after reading Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, would likely be the only member of the Legislature with her own brand of yogurt. Her crimson-dyed hair and floppy-eared companions notwithstanding, Seger’s political origin story is unexceptional in 2018. After President Donald Trump announced his “Muslim ban” early last year, she drove to George Bush Intercontinental Airport to protest. A week later, she was back in Houston demonstrating…

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a remote chance

TESS FELDMAN STOOD in an empty San Francisco courtroom, facing a three-footwide television screen. “Good morning!” she shouted toward a camera connected to the TV. “Can you hear me?” A stunned-looking man in an orange prison jumpsuit appeared on screen. An inmate at the Mesa Verde Detention Facility in Bakersfield, California, nearly 300 miles away, he was facing deportation and weighing his legal options. His father had been murdered back in Oaxaca, Mexico, he told Feldman, and he was afraid to return. That made him a potential candidate for asylum, but he worried he would sit in a cell for months as his case wended through the courts. “That takes a long time, right?” he asked. “Yes,” Feldman said. She checked her phone for the time. “I’m so sorry, but we only…

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give me your tired, your poor, your per diem

In the past 15 years, immigration-related apprehensions have gone down. Yet detaining immigrants is on the rise—and a big increase is expected this year. More than 300,000 people are put into immigration detention annually. Nearly three-fourths are held in privately run facilities. (Just 9 percent of state and federal prisoners are held in for-profit facilities.) For every 100 immigration detainees in the United States The Department of Homeland Security expects to hold 35 percent more detainees in 2018 than it did last year, at a total cost of $2.7 billion 1996 President Bill Clinton signs legislation expanding mandatory immigration detention. 2004 The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act ramps up immigration detention capacity by 32,000 beds. 2010 Congress sets a quota for the number of immigration detention beds. 2012 GEO Group, the nation’s largest prison company, hires…

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georgia on her mind

ON A WARM Friday evening in late February, Stacey Abrams held a fundraiser at Old Lady Gang, a popular Atlanta soul food restaurant owned by Kandi Burruss, the star of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Abrams is running for governor of Georgia. If she wins, she won’t just be the state’s first black female governor, but the nation’s. Every detail of this evening had been strategically planned to play up Abrams’ appeal to black women. Nearly all of the hundred or so donors had just come from Power Rising, a conference about black women in politics. The celebrity host was Erika Alexander, an actress and producer best known for her role in the ’90s sitcom Living Single. A who’s who of black women Democratic officeholders had shown up to support Abrams:…