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These 15 Albums Might Actually Make 2016 Tolerable

Mother Jones

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Each year, Mother Jones‘ favorite music critic browses through hundreds of new albums and pulls out maybe a couple hundred for his weekly reviews. But only a few can make the final-final cut. Below, in alphabetical order, are Jon Young’s super-quick takes on his 15 top albums for 2016. (Feel free to heartily disagree and share your own faves in the comments.)

1. William Bell, This Is Where I Live (Stax): The tender, moving return of an underrated soul great.

2. David Bowie, Blackstar (Columbia/ISO): The Thin White Duke’s eerie, haunting farewell.

3. Gaz Coombes, Matador (Hot Fruit Recordings/Kobalt Label Services): Grand, witty megapop from the former Supergrass leader. (Full review here.)

4. Bob Dylan, The 1966 Live Recordings (Columbia/Legacy): A massive compilation of every note from his notorious tour. (Full review here.)

5. Margaret Glaspy, Emotions and Math (ATO): No-nonsense relationship tales that rock out with insistent verve.

6. Hinds, Leave Me Alone (Mom + Pop/Lucky Number): Frayed, rowdy femme-punk straight outta Madrid.

7. Jennifer O’Connor, Surface Noise (Kiam): Tuneful, deadpan folk-pop with a cutting edge. (Full review here.)

8. Brigid Mae Power, Brigid Mae Power (Tompkins Square): Hair-raising solo acoustic performances by an Irish chanteuse. (Full review here.)

9. Dex Romweber, Carrboro, (Bloodshot): A colorful Americana kaleidoscope from a master balladeer and rockabilly shouter. (Full review here.)

10. Sad13, Slugger (Carpark): Sadie Dupuis’ solo debut, poppier than her band Speedy Ortiz, and exuberantly feminist.

11 & 12. The Scientists, A Place Called Bad (Numero Group); and Blonde Redhead, Masculin Feminin (Numero Group): The great Chicago reissue label scores again with retrospectives devoted to The Scientists, Australian trash-rockers from the ’70s and ’80s, and Blonde Redhead’s ’90s shoegaze-noise recordings amid the chaotic New York scene. (Full review here.)

13. Allen Toussaint, American Tunes (Nonesuch): The gorgeous final works of the New Orleans R&B genius. (And here’s our recent chat with Toussaint collaborator Aaron Neville.)

14. A Tribe Called Quest, We Got It from Here…Thank You 4 Your Service (Epic): The long-overdue return, and devastating goodbye, of a hip-hop institution.

15. Various Artists, The Microcosm: Visionary Music of Continental Europe, 1970-1986 (Light in the Attic): An eye-opening survey of vintage new age music in all its oddball, unexpected glory.

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These 15 Albums Might Actually Make 2016 Tolerable

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What Will You Eat if Disaster Strikes?

September is National Preparedness Month. It comes around every year, but most peoplemaybe including youare still surprised when some kind of disaster strikes and they find themselves totally UNprepared to deal with the situationespecially when it comes to food. Here’s what you should have in your pantry in the event you lose power or can’t get to a grocery store for a while.

Water – The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages people to store one gallon of water per person for at least three days. You’ll still have to ration that amount, since you’ll use it for drinking, maybe cooking and personal hygiene. Plus, children, nursing mothers and the sick may need a little more. Living in a hot climate might also affect how much water you need to drink. And don’t forget that your pets will need water to drink, as well.

FEMA recommends that you buy commercially bottled water that you keep in its original container in a cool, dark place. If you want to store water from your own tap, you can get food-grade water storage containers online or from a camping supplies store. Just make sure to wash them well with hot soapy water and rinse well so there is no residue left when you fill them. Don’t reuse old milk jugs or soda bottles. They’re hard to clean thoroughly and may leak. Also, keep a water filter on hand in the event that you can get water, which might not be safe to drink.

Dried Food – Rice, lentils, peas, kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans, pasta and quinoa are among the dried foods you can store, as long as you have water to reconstitute them. The benefit is that they don’t need refrigeration, last a very long time in their dried state, provide a lot of good nutrition and can be cooked in a pot over a camping cookstove if you don’t have gas or electricity coming into your kitchen.

Dried cereals, nuts, raisins, cranberries and other dried fruits– These are also handy staples for the emergency-focused pantry. You can eat cereal for almost any meal and feel satisfied, and the nuts and dried fruits make a good substitute for a sweet snack when more perishable cookies and treats aren’t available.

Buy sealed bags of driedfoods, then store them in larger plastic containers with lids on them so they won’t be tempting to rodents or bugs that occasionally infiltrate a pantry. The jugs will also keep them dry in the event water gets into the house. It might be handy to have salt, pepper and other spices on hand, also in a sealed container, as well as a small cookbook to give you ideas for some delicious recipes so you won’t be reduced to eating just rice and beans.

Food in Cans or Glass Jars – The advantage of preparedfood like soups, fruits, pasta sauces, juices, olives, condiments and tuna is that they contain liquid, which might be in short supply in a true emergency. Plus, they last a very long time, usually far past the designated expiration or “use by” date on the packaging. Cans are easier to stack than jars, so if space is limited, cans might be the best option. If possible, choose cans whose linings don’t contain the chemical BPA, which can leach into food and have toxic consequences.

Freeze Dried Food – The advantage of freeze dried food is that it takes up so little space. The disadvantage is that it needs to be reconstituted with water, which might not be available. But it might take less water to reconstitute some freeze dried foods than to say, make a big pot of pasta or soak a few cups of beans. Here are some organic freeze dried foods you could add to your pantry for variety in the event disaster strikes.

Aseptically Packaged Drinks – You can get milk, juice, protein drinks and power drinks in aseptic packages, which are essentially cartons that are sealed in such a way that they don’t require refrigeration. This is particularly important where dairy products are concerned. If you love milk with your morning coffee, tea or cereal, stock up on some single serving size cartons. Don’t aim for larger cartons, since once they’re opened they can’t be stored without refrigeration.

Powder for Drinks – Powdered milk is terrific to have in an emergency pantry; you can reconstitute it with as much or as little water as you want, or add the powder to something else you’re cooking to get the calcium and protein it contributes. Many powdered “juice” mixes contain more sugar than anything else, so read the label carefully before you buy. Whey powder and other protein powders are another option.

Don’t stock your emergency pantry willy nilly. Think about the foods you and your family like to eat, so if needed, the meals you make can provide comfort as well as nourishment. Keep a list by category of the foods you stock; an emergency throws people into a state of confusion, but being organized will help you stay calm and reassure the people around you. Pull together some recipes in advance so you’re sure you have the ingredients you need to produce a meal.

Also, keep some traps on hand in case rats, mice, roaches or flour moths, also known as pantry moths, show up. The last thing you want to do is have your food supply spoiled by vermin!

Related:

What’s the Best Freeze-Dried Food?
Which Canned Foods Still Contain BPA?

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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What Will You Eat if Disaster Strikes?

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Finally You Can See How Much Added Sugar Is Hidden in Your Food

Mother Jones

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After years of delay, the Food and Drug Administration finalized new nutrition facts labels on Friday. The label you’re used to seeing on processed foods was more than 20 years old; the government says the new one reflects updated scientific information and “will make it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices.”

The changes include a magnified calorie count and the addition of a line showing added sugar (highlighted below).

Food and Drug Administration

It’s a big deal that companies will now have to identify the added sugar in their food. Once corn-syrup-filled sodas and cheap processed snacks started overtaking our supermarkets in the 1960s, added sweeteners infiltrated nearly every corner of the American diet. As I’ve written in the past:

Naturally occurring sugars (the kind in fruit, for example) come with fiber, which helps us regulate the absorption of food. Without fiber, sugar can overwhelm your system, eventually leading to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems.

Given these risks, experts have warned that no more than ten percent of your daily calorie intake should come from added sugar, or around 12 teaspoons a day; Americans wolf down 30 teaspoons on average by some estimates. It doesn’t help that three-quarters of processed snacks include such added sweeteners. But until now, consumers had no real way of knowing how much of the sugar in their food was naturally occurring, and how much was added in manufacturing. Adding to shoppers’ confusion is how tricky it can be to determine whether sugar is an ingredient in a food: it goes by at least 57 names.

With the new labels, manufacturers will have to reveal more about how they use this ubiquitous ingredient. Time will tell whether the transparency spurs big food companies to look past adding sugar and find new ways to make their food palatable.

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Finally You Can See How Much Added Sugar Is Hidden in Your Food

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Obamacare May Not Be Popular, But Its Provisions Sure Are

Mother Jones

Brian Beutler on the way health care reform is playing out in the Arkansas Senate race:

The most interesting thing about Senator Mark Pryor’s decision to tout his support for the Affordable Care Act in a well-financed, statewide television ad isn’t that he stands apart from other embattled Democrats this election cycle. It’s that Republicans scrambled to spin the story, insisting to reporters that Pryor couldn’t possibly be running on Obamacare if he won’t refer to the law by name.

….Instead, Pryor says, “I helped pass a law that prevents insurance companies from canceling your policy if you get sick or deny sic coverage based on pre-existing conditions.” Maybe he shouldn’t have said anything about “a law” at all, but that’s a niggling, semantic critique. That Republicans working to defeat Pryor are asking reporters to squeeze the word “Obamacare” into this sentence is an admission that they’ve lost the policy fight. They criticize Pryor for eschewing the label, because the label’s just about the only thing they’re comfortable assailing.

I suppose this isn’t the biggest thing in the world, and as Beutler says, Republicans did manage to talk several reporters into mentioning this. So from their point of view, it’s just savvy media strategy. Besides, the truth is that Republicans have always focused on only a few things in their critique of Obamacare. That’s because polls have shown for years that most of the provisions of the law are popular even though support for the law itself is pretty shaky. This causes Republicans endless grief, since Democrats get to harass them relentlessly about whether they oppose closing the donut hole; whether they oppose subsidy assistance; whether they oppose guaranteed issue; and so on. Republicans can hem and haw about how they’d keep all this stuff and only get rid of the nasty taxes and mandates, but even the dimmer bulbs in the GOP caucus know perfectly well that this is untrue.

In any case, other Democratic politicians have touted their support for specific provisions of Obamacare, so Pryor isn’t really doing anything new. He’s just being smart. He knows that denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions is extremely unpopular, even among conservative voters, and he’d love to draw his opponent into a debate about exactly that. Tom Cotton has so far refused to take the bait, pretending that he’d somehow keep that provision while repealing everything else. This is a bald-faced lie, of course, but if he sticks to that story like glue he can probably avoid any serious damage from Pryor’s attacks.

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Obamacare May Not Be Popular, But Its Provisions Sure Are

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