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.

Richardson Courts the Fat Vote

| Thu Sep. 20, 2007 3:02 PM EDT

Presidential candidates are famous for promising wars against various social ills—the War on Poverty, the War on Drugs, etc.—but Bill Richardson may be the first to launch the "War on Fat." Richardson, who has shed 30 pounds over the past year, bragged yesterday that he was the only person running for president to address The Obesity Society.

In an open appeal to the 66 percent of Americans who now tip the scales as officially overweight, Richardson called for covering the obese under the Americans With Disabilities Act and for federal funding for college PE classes. Future campaign posters to read: "Richardson Fights Freshman 15!"

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Mitt Romney and the Formula Makers

| Thu Sep. 20, 2007 11:27 AM EDT

Public health officials across the country have been trying to address record-low rates of breastfeeding among American women, a move that threatens the enormous profits of formula companies (pharma giants all). So the formula makers have responded aggressively, lobbying successfully to water down federal breastfeeding promotion campaigns, among other things.

No good lobbying campaign, of course, comes without the creation of an Astroturf group to demonstrate "grassroots" support for the cause. The formula makers have recently launched two of them, with websites, www.momsfeedingfreedom.com and www.babyfeedingchoice.org, both of which proclaim to champion women's "right to choose" formula. Interestingly, MomsFeedingFreedom is the product of the very same web consulting firm that works for presidential contender Mitt Romney, reports Mothering Magazine this month.

Romney and the formula companies have a long history together. Back in 2005, his state became the first in the nation to ban the distribution of formula samples in hospitals, a move backed by the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics. But as governor, Romney pressured the Massachusetts Public Health Council to overturn the ban. When it refused, he fired three members of the council and replaced them with members who voted shortly afterwards to allow formula back into the hospitals. Romney clearly won't be the "breast is best" candidate in '08...

(H/T Center for Media and Democracy)

Democrats Rush to Return Lawyer's Money After Guilty Plea

| Wed Sep. 19, 2007 5:49 PM EDT

Now that famed securities lawyer Bill Lerach is officially going to prison, Democratic candidates are scrambling to get rid of all the money he's donated to their campaigns, the New York Sun Reports. Fellow trial lawyer John Edwards donated nearly $5,000 he'd taken from Lerach to charity, and Joe Biden's campaign said it had given $2,700 in Lerach funds to a prostate cancer group earlier this year. No word from Hillary Clinton, whose presidential campaign hasn't taken Lerach donations, but whose Senate campaign did...

NFL Fines: Tax Deductible?

| Wed Sep. 19, 2007 2:45 PM EDT

Ok, sports fans. Here's a question: Should New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick get to write off his $500,000 fine as a business expense? (In case you hadn't heard, Belichick was recently assessed the biggest fine in NFL history for secretly videotaping the New York Jets' defensive signals.)

After much debate over the deductibility issue, a dozen tax law professors say yes...

California Won't Be Suing its Way to Cleaner Air

| Wed Sep. 19, 2007 1:42 PM EDT

Last year, the California attorney general made headlines by suing most of the nation's leading automakers for contributing to global warming. The AG's office used a novel interpretation of the state's "public nuisance" laws to bring the suit and had corporate America in fits. Well, they can rest easier now. A federal judge tossed the suit yesterday, saying that it would be inappropriate for the court to wade into this sort of foreign policy and interstate commerce issue, and that global warming would be better addressed in the political system.

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