Mother Jones

38 articles
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Inside the Mammoth Backlash to Common Core

How an education reform effort became the new Obamacare.

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How a Squad of Ex-Cops Fights Police Abuses

An experiment in public defense.

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The NRA's Murder Mystery

Today, Robert Dowlut is the National Rifle Association’s top lawyer. Fifty years ago, he was convicted of murdering a woman with a handgun.

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This Man Is About to Die Because an Alcoholic Lawyer Botched His Case

“Which is how, despite the drinking, the stealing, the racist outburst, the abysmal courtroom performance, the disbarment, and the ultimate imprisonment of his lead attorney, an intellectually disabled man has ended up on the verge of execution.”

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Secrets of the Tax-Prep Business

How pop-up tax preparers make billions off the poor.

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Who's Behind Newsweek?

The secretive group that owns the venerable magazine.

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The Man Who Loves To Hate

On Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps, who died this week.

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Kidnapped by Iran

Three Americans are held hostage in Iran for two years, much of it spent in solitary confinement.

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I Tried to See Where My T-Shirt Was Made, and the Factory Sent Thugs After Me

On the factories of India and the women whose lives they ruin.

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Portrait of an Afghan Assassin

Investigating the spike in Afghan-on-American military murders.

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Access Hollywood

How Jeffrey Katzenberg became the Democrats’ kingmaker.

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Schizophrenic. Killer. My Cousin.

“It’s insanity to kill your father with a kitchen knife. It’s also insanity to close hospitals, fire therapists, and leave families to face mental illness on their own.”

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How Crazy Is Too Crazy to Be Executed?

Andre Thomas cut out his children’s hearts and removed his own eyes. Texas considers him sane.

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Hearts and Minds

How PTSD spreads from returning soldiers to their families.

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America's Real Criminal Element: Lead

Why a type of gasoline may be responsible for periods of increased crime in the U.S. and abroad.

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The Bandler Method, by Frank Clancy and Heidi Yorkshire

He was the father of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (a school of therapy that some would liken to scientific brainwashing), a guzzler of cocaine, and a highly paid lecturer with fabricated credentials. He was present when a young woman shot herself in Santa Cruz—but did he pull the trigger? A “parable for the New Age.”

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Solitary in Iran Nearly Broke Me. Then I Went Inside America's Prisons.

“For hours, days, I fixated on the patch of sunlight cast against my wall through those barred and grated windows. When, after five weeks, my knees buckled and I fell to the ground utterly broken, sobbing and rocking to the beat of my heart, it was the patch of sunlight that brought me back.”

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Everything You've Heard About Failing Schools Is Wrong

A year at a “low-performing” high school in San Francisco.

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The Love That Dares

Confronting homophobia in Uganda.

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Legacy of a Lonesome Death

In 1963, William Zantzinger was convicted of manslaughter in the death of Hattie Carroll and then immortalized – and somewhat defamed – by Bob Dylan. What’s he been up to since then?

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I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave

Reporting undercover from inside the online-shipping industry.

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The New Dealers

The unlikely people who’ve turned to selling weed in the recession.

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No Country for Innocent Men

Why it took more than a decade for the posthumous pardon of Tim Cole, even after another inmate confessed to the brutal crime that put Cole away.

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Newt Gingrich: Shining Knight of the Post-Reagan Right

Nearly three decades ago, Mother Jones profiled a rising star in the Republican Party:

The divorce turned much of Carrollton against Gingrich. Jackie was well loved by the townspeople, who knew how hard she had worked to get him elected-as she had worked before to put him through college and raise his children. To make matters worse, Jackie had undergone surgery for cancer of the uterus during the 1978 campaign, a fact Gingrich was not loath to use in conversations or speeches that year. After the separation in 1980, she had to be operated on again, to remove another tumor While she was still in the hospital, according to Howell, "Newt came up there with his yellow legal pad, and he had a list of things on how the divorce was going to be handled. He wanted her to sign it. She was still recovering from surgery, still sort of out of it, and he comes in with a yellow sheet of paper, handwritten, and wants her to sign it.
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Slow Scan to Moscow

How amateur tinkerers electronically contacted Russia during the Cold War:

The object of Joel's attention at this moment, however, as it is much of the time, is his four-pound, briefcase-size Radio Shack Tandy Model 100 portable computer. "I bought this machine for $399. For $1.82 a minute - $1.82! - I can send a telex message to Moscow. This technology is going to revolutionize human communications! Think what it will mean when you can get thousands of Americans and Soviets on the same computer network. Once scientists in both countries begin talking to each other on these machines they won't be able to stop. And we'll be taking a running leap over the governments on both sides.

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The Informants

On the FBI’s program to infiltrate Muslim communities in America.

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My Summer at an Indian Call Center

Next is "culture training," in which trainees memorize colloquialisms and state capitals, study clips of Seinfeld and photos of Walmarts, and eat in cafeterias serving paneer burgers and pizza topped with lamb pepperoni. Trainers aim to impart something they call "international culture"—which is, of course, no culture at all, but a garbled hybrid of Indian and Western signifiers designed to be recognizable to everyone and familiar to no one. The result is a comically botched translation—a multibillion dollar game of telephone. "The most marketable skill in India today," the Guardian wrote in 2003, "is the ability to abandon your identity and slip into someone else's."
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The Spam Factory's Dirty Secret

First Hormel gutted the union. Then it sped up the line. And when the pig-brain machine made workers sick, they got canned.

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Prodigal Sun

Energy problems are long problems that often receive short solutions. In 2000, when Mother Jones ran this history about what happened to the energy research boom of the late 70s and early 80s, I was buying $0.99 a gallon gas for my Escort. I chose this story because I think longform journalism can keep people interested in these issues that require decadal attention but are subject to year-to-year fluctuations in public interest. And it’s a great story.

-A. Madrigal

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A Fistful of Dollars

On reservations, where policing hardly exists, bruiser-for-hire vigilantes are often the first choice for justice.

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For Us Surrender Is Out of the Question

A first-person account of the author’s time spent volunteering with a group of Burmese activists in Thailand, who turn out to be not Korean but in fact Karen, members of Burma’s persecuted ethnic minority. In the course of her time there, they show her videos of their risky forays across the border, and she shows them MySpace.

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From Libya With Love

What did $3M paid to a US consulting firm get Qaddafi? A glowing profile in The New Republic, written by a Harvard professor, who travelled to Tripoli to interview him. On the consulting company’s dime. Which he failed to disclose.

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Weedmart

On the pair of entrepreneurs behind a Wal-Mart of weed in Oakland. The duo is talking IPO. “Everybody I was meeting was a little bit older, more a part of the hippie generation,” says one. “I was like, ‘I bet there’s so much room for innovation and new ideas.’”

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Welcome to Haiti's Reconstruction Hell

On the utter brutality of life in the tent cities, one year after the earthquake.

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The Ongoing Mysteries of the Elizabeth Smart Case

He was an itinerant preacher who claimed god have revealed him to be the one true prophet. He kidnapped Elizabeth Smart  and lived with her in a makeshift camp for years. She was hard to find; not because he was sly, but because Utah is full of prophets with multiple young wives.

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What Killed Aiyana Stanley-Jones?

In Detroit, the aftermath of a reality-TV SWAT raid that killed a sleeping seven-year-old.