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 the last year 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.

The Obama Girls' First Snow Day

| Wed Jan. 28, 2009 12:35 PM EST

A few months ago, we offered up a meager plea to the Obama family that they consider sending their kids to a DC public school. They ignored us and enrolled Sasha and Malia at the tony Sidwell Friends in upper Northwest DC, which supporters contended offered superior safety and a Quaker education. Today, the Obamas discovered one of the drawbacks of their choice.

Washington awoke this morning encrusted in ice after the city's first big winter storm. Sidwell shut down for the day, leaving Sasha and Malia stuck at home. The DC public schools, meanwhile, merely opened a little late. (They were also open as usual yesterday when virtually every suburban school district shut down because of a few snow flurries.) The school closing prompted Obama to offer an unsolicited comment to the press this morning about Washington famous weather wimpiness. He though his kids' school closing was a bit extreme:

"Because of what? Because of some ice?" Obama said to laughter around the table. He said Sasha, his 7-year-old, pointed out that in Chicago, not only is school never canceled for snow, "you'd go outside for recess. You wouldn't even stay indoors." He concluded by saying: "We're going to have to apply some flinty Chicago toughness to this town. I'm saying that when it comes to the weather, folks in Washington don't seem to be able to handle things."

Hopefully someone will point out to the president that the city's public schools were showing plenty of flint this morning. It was only Washington's elite who were afraid of a little ice.

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Obama's Pick for HHS Deputy: Actually Qualified For The Job

| Tue Jan. 13, 2009 4:05 PM EST

The election of George W. Bush came as a boon to the tobacco industry. Cigarette companies helped pay for his election, and Bush repaid them handsomely once in office. Right off the bat, in 2001, his Justice Department tried to derail a major federal racketeering lawsuit against the tobacco companies before it went to trial. A few years later, the administration tried to scupper the first international tobacco control treaty (which the U.S. still hasn't ratified). And in 2007, Bush issued two of the 12 vetoes of his entire presidency to twice kill off bipartisan legislation to increase health insurance coverage for poor kids. Why? Because it would have raised taxes on cigarettes.

What a difference an election makes! Today, President-elect Obama announced his selection of William Corr as deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Corr is currently the executive director of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a major foe of Bush's favored industry. More important than his public health advocacy, though: Corr actually has extensive experience with health care policy, a key component of HHS's responsibilities and one of Obama's top priorities. Corr started his career running nonprofit health clinics in Appalachia, and, in a major departure from the last eight years, he has actually worked inside the agency he's been chosen to run.

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