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.

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"Diaper Dave" Vitter Says Obama Adopts Judicial Standards of a "Dictatorship"

| Thu Feb. 12, 2009 6:11 PM EST
Republican Louisiana Sen. David Vitter made a trip to DC's Chinatown on Thursday to nibble on kung pao chicken and rally the conservative troops. Addressing the DC lawyers chapter of the conservative legal group, the Federalist Society, Vitter got right down to red meat. After quoting comments from President Obama suggesting that he'd like his judicial nominees to be able to empathize with the downtrodden, Vitter declared that demanding empathy in a judge was something you'd expect in a "dictatorship." How empathy equates with repressive rule, Vitter didn't really explain, except to say that it had little to do with ensuring checks and balances on an imperial government. (Vitter also claimed--and it was hard to tell if he was joking or not--that he routinely walks from the Senate to the House of Representatives to use the apparently more populist House water fountains, instead of imbibing the stuff the Senate is drinking these days.)

But Vitter didn't really come to Tony Cheng's to discuss judges or the Constitution. His talk, entitled "Defending Conservative Principles in the Senate," was mostly a complaint about the economic stimulus bill that his Senate colleagues were poised to pass without his vote or the votes of most Republicans. According to Vitter, his party was having a come-to-Jesus moment over the stimulus package, which had provided the minority party an opportunity to rediscover its mantra of smaller government and lower taxes.

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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