Hannah Levintova

Hannah Levintova

Assistant Editor

Hannah came to Mother Jones after stints at NPR and the Washington Monthly. A proud New Englander, she enjoys tea, good books, and cold weather.

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The Republican Rape Caucus Crumbles

| Wed Nov. 7, 2012 8:50 PM EST

Foot-in-mouth rape commentary by Republican candidates was one of the most disturbing mini-trends of the 2012 election. And as the returns began rolling in last night, it quickly became clear that this bounty of apologies for sexual assault had paved the way for some big GOP losses. Here's a breakdown of the candidates who said absurd things about rape and paid for it at the polls.

Pittsburgh Post Gazette/ZUMAPressPittsburgh Post Gazette/ZUMAPressWho: Tom Smith, Pennsylvania Senate candidate

Comments: In a TV interview, Smith compared a pregnancy from rape to "having a baby out of wedlock."

Outcome: Defeated by Democrat Bob Casey, who got nearly 54 percent of the vote.

 

 

Globe Photos/ ZUMAPressGlobe Photos/ ZUMAPressWho: Linda McMahon, Connecticut Senate candidate

Comments: During a debate, McMahon clarified that no Catholic hospital should be required to provide emergency contraception to rape victims, except in cases of "emergency rape."

Outcome: Defeated by Democrat Chris Murphy, who got 55 percent of the vote.

 

 

 

Harry E. Walker/MCT/ZUMAPressHarry E. Walker/MCT/ZUMAPressWho: Rick Berg, North Dakota Senate candidate

Comments: When asked in a TV interview whether he'd support abortion in cases of rape, Berg awkwardly evaded the question, then gave a flat-out no. 

Outcome: Berg conceded to Heidi Heitkamp, who beat him by less than 3,000 votes.

 

 

 

Wisconsin State LegislatureWisconsin State LegislatureWho: State Rep. Roger Rivard, running for reelection to the Wisconsin legislature

Comments: Last December, Rivard got into a discussion with a local newspaper about a case in which a 17-year old was accused of forcing sex on a 14-year-old girl. Expressing his thoughts on the case, Rivard cited a motto he'd learned from his dad: "Some girls rape easy." Or in other words, girls agree to sex and then call it rape, because that's convenient.

Outcome: Rivard lost to Democratic challenger Stephen Smith by 582 votes.

 

Christian Gooden/ZUMAPressChristian Gooden/ZUMAPressWho: Todd Akin, Missouri Senate candidate

Comments: During a now-infamous TV interview in August, Akin responded to a question about his beliefs on abortion in cases of rape by saying that pregnancy from "legitimate rape" is unlikely because "the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down." In October, a 2008 video surfaced showing Akin explaining how women who aren't actually pregnant get abortions anyway.

Outcome: Lost to Democrat Claire McCaskill, who got nearly 55 percent of the vote.

 

Chris Bergin/MCT/ZUMAPressChris Bergin/MCT/ZUMAPressWho: Richard Mourdock, Indiana Senate candidate

Comments: When asked at an October debate whether abortion should be permitted in cases of rape, Mourdock said it shouldn't, because the rape and subsequent pregnancy are "something God intended."

Outcome: Defeated by Democrat Joe Donnelly by nearly 150,000 votes.

 

Andrew Shurtleff/ZUMAPressAndrew Shurtleff/ZUMAPressWho: Paul Ryan, vice presidential candidate and incumbent representative in Wisconsin

Comments: Where to begin? Ryan has called rape just another "method of conception," has said he's "very proud" of the forcible rape bill he cosponsored with Todd Akin, and has cast 59 votes on abortion in his career, all of them anti-choice.

Outcome: Ryan won't be heading to the White House as Mitt Romney's VP, but he did keep his House seat.

BP's Olympic Ads Seek To Erase Oil Spill From Memory

| Sat Aug. 11, 2012 6:03 AM EDT

BP may not be top-notch at preventing huge, toxic oil spills, but the company is certainly PR-savvy.

In this spring's run-up to the Olympic games, London 2012 organizers announced that BP would be a main sponsor of the event—specifically, a "Sustainability Partner" helping to create the "greenest Games ever." The enviro community balked at the move, launching campaigns, circulating videos, and pranking high-profile orgs to underscore the irony. But to little avail, it seems: Despite the controversy, a survey published this week shows that the oil and gas giant's Olympic ads seem to be rekindling the public's BP love.

Of all the main Olympic sponsors, BP went into the games dead last in brand perception ratings—in fact, it was the only company with a rating in the negative numbers, according to the survey from YouGov BrandIndex. Now, with ads on billboards and television (see below), BP has catapulted from a -5.9 perception rating to a 2.6, a massive jump rivaled only by Visa. And that's among the US population specifically, since all of YouGov's survey respondents were US adults:YouGov G BrandIndexYouGov G BrandIndex

Part of BP's massive Olympic ad effort is "BP Team USA," a group of nine US Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls serving as the brand's athlete ambassadors. Two of the team's members—track and fielder Sanya Richards-Ross and swimmer Rebecca Soni—have already brought in three gold medals and a silver, likely further boosting the hunky-dory US attitudes towards BP at the games.

Also notable: A couple of those BP Team USA ads are grouped on its YouTube channel under the title "Overcoming Setbacks." An admirable athletic sentiment, sure, but an ironic one when employed by a company that's using these ads—and the athletes in them—to fix its own "setbacks."

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