Stephanie Mencimer

Stephanie Mencimer

Reporter

Stephanie works in Mother Jones' Washington bureau. A Utah native and graduate of a crappy public university not worth mentioning, she has spent several years hanging out with angry white people who occasionally don tricorne hats and come to lunch meetings heavily armed.

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Stephanie covers legal affairs and domestic policy in Mother Jones' Washington bureau. She is the author of Blocking the Courthouse Door: How the Republican Party and Its Corporate Allies Are Taking Away Your Right to Sue. A contributing editor of the Washington Monthly, a former investigative reporter at the Washington Post, and a senior writer at the Washington City Paper, she was nominated for a National Magazine Award in 2004 for a Washington Monthly article about myths surrounding the medical malpractice system. In 2000, she won the Harry Chapin Media award for reporting on poverty and hunger, and her 2010 story in Mother Jones of the collapse of the welfare system in Georgia and elsewhere won a Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism.

Is Trojan Squeezing Out The Competition?

| Tue May 26, 2009 12:53 PM EDT

Condoms are not things people tend to linger over before buying, comparing prices and such. Unlike greeting cards, these purchases tend to be more of the grab and go variety. So the condom maker that can command the best real estate on store shelves is definitely going to have the upper hand. A quick survey suggests that the ubiquitous Trojan wins that battle, hands down. Apparently, this is no accident.

According to the trade pub FTC: Watch, the Federal Trade Commission wants to know whether Church & Dwight, the maker of Trojan condoms, has made illicit deals to ensure that its battery-powered vibrating rings and other products get the best possible store placement. The FTC is investigating whether the condom maker is unlawfully squeezing out Lifestyles and other smaller competitors through such arrangements.  Who'd a thought a company so perennially linked to safe-sex campaigns and public restroom quickies could also be a ruthless corporate actor? If the FTC finds the condom-maker violated anti-trust laws, condom-buyers everywhere might be treated to a better variety of latex behind the counter at their local 7-11--without having to linger.
 

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Obama's Weird Choice for CSPC

| Tue May 5, 2009 10:05 AM EDT

President Obama has made it clear he wants the Consumer Products Safety Commission to do a better job protecting the public from killer baby cribs and asbestos-tainted CSI toys. He's proposed doubling the commission's budget and expanding the commission from three to five members. All of which makes his naming today of Inez Moore Tenenbaum as the commission chair seem even weirder.

Tenenbaum is a South Carolina politico who did two terms as the state's elected schools superintendent. Her resume is heavy on education and politics. She ran for the Senate in 2004, but aside from a stint doing public interest law in the 1980s, she's not a big name in the consumer protection world. She was on the short list, in fact, for secretary of education. The CSPC post seems like a consolation prize. Apparently Obama owes Tenenbaum big time for helping him win the South Carolina primary. She and her husband are heavy democratic donors (nearly $27,000 in federal contributions in the 2008 election cycle) and she endorsed Obama early, when it was still the "risky" vote. On stage after winning the South Carolina primary, Obama hugged first his wife and then Tenenbaum.

While she's probably not an ideal choice for the job, Tenenbaum is still likely to be an improvement over the current chair, Nancy Nord, whose corporate ties have been well documented and whose attempt to fight a budget increase for her own agency didn't go over too well with Congress. Tenenbaum's eight years of fighting public school bureaucracy might even be good training for her assignment to clean house at the beleagured CSPC.

Scenes From the White House Egg Roll

| Mon Apr. 13, 2009 11:49 AM EDT

The main difference between a Bush administration Easter egg roll and the Obamas'? Equal opportunity to throw up on the White House lawn. For the first Easter egg roll of the Obama presidency, the First Family distributed several thousand tickets to DC public schools, ensuring that the enormous crowd on the White House lawn was among the most diverse in modern history, and also the largest. (The White House gave out 30,000 tickets in all.) It wasn't an entirely terrible consolation prize to the school system that the Obamas rejected for their own kids.

At 6:30 a.m. this morning, my little DC neighborhood elementary school sent a small fleet of cheese buses down to the Ellipse to join the fray. We took off with the excitement of people who'd won the lottery, only to arrive at the scene with 6,000 other people who'd also hit it big. Not only did the Obamas invite local school kids, but they offered tickets to the rest of the country to ensure that the egg roll was no longer an exclusive event for Washington insiders and those willing to camp out overnight in the rain. All that democracy, though, meant a lot less egg rolling and a lot more standing in line. This year, black kids, white kids, kids from Alaska, kids from Anacostia, kids with two mommies, kids with no mommies, all had multiple, if not unique, opportunities to stand in line and freeze together in the shadow of the White House.

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Tue Sep. 9, 2014 6:30 AM EDT | Updated Tue Dec. 16, 2014 10:10 AM EDT