Michael Mechanic

Michael Mechanic

Senior Editor

Michael has been a senior editor at MoJo for seven years, after spending nearly as long as an award-winning features editor at the alt-weekly East Bay Express. He edits (and occasionally writes) features, as well as being in charge of the magazine's Mixed Media section. His writing has appeared in a range of alt-weeklies, newspapers, and magazines including Wired, The Industry Standard, and the Los Angeles Times. 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 has been a senior editor at MoJo for seven years, after spending nearly as long as an award-winning features editor at the alt-weekly East Bay Express. He edits (and occasionally writes) features, as well as being in charge of the magazine's Mixed Media section. His writing has appeared in a range of alt-weeklies, newspapers, and magazines including Wired, The Industry Standard, and the Los Angeles Times. 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 tropical frog poisons. He later earned a masters degree in cellular and developmental biology from Harvard University and a masters in journalism from Cal. 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. (His contribution, "Voluntary Confinement," involved a reality TV show that held contestants in isolation.) He also won a 2014 Society for Professional Journalists award for "It Was Something Like Slavery," a photoessay he wrote with photographer Nina Berman. The father of two preteens and caretaker of a surly cat named Phelps, Michael lives in Oakland, California, where, after years of classical piano and raucous punk-rock drumming (and releasing more than a dozen CDs on his former DIY label, Bad Monkey Records), he has retired to old-time fiddling. But you never know.

Meet the New, Old Newt Gingrich

| Wed Nov. 21, 2007 4:13 PM EST

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What to make of the former gentleman from Georgia? Newt Gingrich devolved from being an outspoken member of the Sierra Club to helming a House of Representatives renowned for its hostility toward the environment. Now Gingrich has coauthored, with conservation professor and former zoo CEO Terry Maple, A Contract with the Earth, a tome released this month that calls for an era of environmental stewardship, albeit one driven by markets, science and technology. The chapter headings quote Emerson, Jacques Cousteau, John Muir and others, including revered Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson, who wrote the book's foreward.

Is Gingrich jumping on the hottest (no pun intended) national trend to keep himself in the game? Or is he merely bouncing back to his old views now that he's unencumbered by intense political pressures? To wit, Gingrich's voting record on conservation and pro-environment measures deteriorated fairly steadily during his years in Congress, according to the annual voting scorecards of the League of Conservation Voters. When he was a newbie in 1979-80 (tail end of the Carter era), the League gave him a 44.5 percent score--pretty darn good for a Republican. Gingrich fared nearly as well during the Reagan years (1981-1988), with an average score of 39 percent.

But then something happened: His LCV scores from 1988 (Bush I) through 1994 (Clinton mid-term) fell to a dismal 11 percent on average. In '94, the year Gingrich rode his Contract with America to the speakership of the House, he was awarded a big fat zero. ...

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Ron Paul: The Only Candidate that Won't Land Catholics in a Pit of Eternal Fire. ... Or Is He?

| Thu Nov. 15, 2007 4:09 PM EST

The nation's bishops held a press conference yesterday to warn that the choices Roman Catholic voters make at the ballot box may put their eternal salvation at risk. In large part, they appeared to be talking about the candidates' stances on abortion. The take-home message: Vote for a Democrat, go to Hell. (more after the jump)

Take Two Aspirin and Call the NSC in the Morning

| Wed Nov. 14, 2007 4:01 PM EST

The hawks in charge of health care reform? Say it ain't so. Okay, it ain't so ... yet. But in this month's Health Affairs, Leonard Schaeffer warns that if we don't act soon--the "we" in this case being the U.S. medical-industrial complex--the national security guys and budget minders will be the ones rakishly calling the shots on our healthcare future. Why, they wouldn't dare! Well, actually they would, because in case you haven't noticed, healthcare spending is turning into the new global warming. (more after the jump)

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