Michael Mechanic

Michael Mechanic

Senior Editor

Michael landed at MoJo after six years as an award-winning features editor at the alt-weekly East Bay Express. He's written for numerous publications, including The Industry Standard, the Los Angeles Times, and Wired. He lives in Oakland, California, with his wife, two kids, four chickens, striped cat, and way too many musical instruments to master.

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Michael landed at MoJo after six years as an award-winning feature editor at the alt-weekly East Bay Express. He's written for numerous publications, including The Industry Standard, the Los Angeles Times, and Wired. He set out to be a scientist, and as an undergrad spent a year in an organic chemistry lab at UC-Berkeley, where he was a biochemistry major, trying to synthesize natural poisons found in the skin of certain tropical frogs. He later earned a masters degree in cellular and developmental biology from Harvard University and a second masters in journalism from UC-Berkeley. In 2009, he was a finalist for a National Magazine Award for public service, as one of five writers in MoJo's "Torture Hits Home" package. The father of two mostly charming kids and an only occasionally charming striped cat named Phelps, Michael lives in Oakland, California, where, after years of classical piano and raucous punk-rock drumming (and putting out more than a dozen CDs on his former DIY label, Bad Monkey Records), he has retired to old-time and traditional music, guitar finger-picking, and more recently fiddle and mandolin. He has four chickens—Lucia, Podge, Cat, and Weed Whacker—but what he really covets is a hedgehog.

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Mitt Romney: "Stuff the Ice Chest"

| Thu Dec. 1, 2011 4:30 PM PST

This fun-with-Mitt Romney video is, hands down, the funniest thing I've watched in the past month. Enjoy:

VIDEOS: Mitt Romney's Campaign Finance Flip-Flop

| Tue Nov. 22, 2011 3:10 PM PST

Shortly after I tweeted something rather impolite, though not inaccurate, about Mitt Romney's appallingly dishonest new anti-Obama ad, I received a direct tweet from ex-congressman and former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer. The conservative Democrat turned Republican presidential candidate (although you'd hardly know it, given that Roemer was excluded from the GOP debates) wanted to point my attention to a couple of video clips showing Romney's er, evolving views on campaign-finance reform. 

The first one is pretty boilerplate: a young Senate candidate Romney taking swipes at Teddy Kennedy while calling big-money influence-peddling "wrong." But the second clip, wherein he tries to explain (or avoid explaining) to an old lady how it's okay that his PAC took $1 million from a shadowy shell company that was subsequently dissolved—well, it's just fun to watch Romney squirm. Have a look.

Here's Romney campaigning in Massachusetts in 1994:

And more recently, presumably in New England:

Oh, and if you're needing a laugh, here's a little holiday gift from ThinkProgress...

Book Review: Eating Mud Crabs in Kandahar

| Fri Oct. 21, 2011 3:30 AM PDT

Eating Mud Crabs in Kandahar

Edited by Matt McAllester

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS

If breaking bread is key to our humanity, it is doubly so in a conflict zone. In this riveting collection, correspondents share war stories through the lens of food and drink. The fare ranges from pagan sheep sacrifice in war-torn Ossetia (the ear tastes "burned, hairy, cartilaginous") to the overindulgences of North Korea's Kim Jong-Il ($120-a-bite rice cakes). Under fire in Afghanistan, US soldiers fetishize MREs, while, amid Rwanda's horrors, the tea tastes like death due to corpses clogging the waterways. One author trains to withstand excessive drinking, a prerequisite for broaching the Irish Republican Army's inner circle. Another one concludes his profile of Benazir Bhutto with a recipe for burfi, a sugary sweet that Pakistan's former leader gobbles compulsively during their visit—only days before her assassination. In the end, the food rituals become a vehicle for tales of greed and pettiness, but also friendship and human dignity.

Watch: MoJo's Josh Harkinson Occupies Olbermann Show

| Mon Oct. 17, 2011 5:42 PM PDT

A couple of weeks ago, SF-based Mother Jones reporter Josh Harkinson was en route to East Coast fracking country when we diverted him to NYC to spend a few days covering the growing Occupy Wall Street protests. Now we can't get the guy home, fer Chrissakes!

Harkinson has been out there tweeting the latest #OWS developments long after most of his media colleagues have gone home to bed. He barely escaped arrest on Saturday while covering protesters' standoff with police in Washington Square Park. You can watch that video here. Check out his Monday appearance on Keith Olbermann's show below, and by all means follow Josh on Twitter.    

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