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.

Well, "Happy" May Be a Stretch

| Fri Oct. 5, 2007 2:15 PM EDT

Best quote of the day, from GOP strategist Ed Rollins on why the Republicans lag nearly $100 million behind Democrats in presidential fundraising:

"The Democrats, they're out there, they're hungry. We just got fat, dumb, and happy."

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New Poll: Obama Inspirational But Can't Win

| Wed Oct. 3, 2007 11:29 AM EDT

A new Washington Post poll today has a few interesting nuggets that help answer that nagging question of the current presidential campaign: "What happened to Obama?"

Buried deep in the data is a question about which presidential candidate has the best chance of winning the White House next year. Hillary Clinton stomps on all the closest rivals, with 57 percent of the poll respondents favoring her. What's interesting, though, is that the runner up, with 20 percent, is John Edwards. Perhaps this is to be expected. After all, he's run before. But given his fundraising prowess and media prominence, it's surprising to see that Obama comes in a distant third in this category, at 16 percent. By comparison, 37 percent of those polled thought Obama was the most inspirational candidate, compared with 41 percent for Clinton and only 14 percent for Edwards.

Obama's poor showing in the polls on the electability question is probably fatal. People obviously love Obama, but don't think he can win in '08. The Post doesn't ask why people believe that, but it's hard to imagine that race isn't a big factor. It's not that Democrats won't vote for an African-American, but that they don't believe Republicans will.

One question the poll can't answer: If Obama can't win, why are so many people giving him money?

Maybe The Lawyers Should Have Gone on Oprah

| Wed Oct. 3, 2007 10:35 AM EDT

Author James Frey got more than just a tongue lashing from Oprah after his memoir, A Million Little Pieces, was exposed as a fraud. Disgruntled book buyers also filed a class action against Frey and his publisher asking for a refund. The case settled and Frey and Random House agreed to pay up to $2.35 million to people who got duped into buying the book.

Frey and his publisher, though, must be breathing sighs of relief. The Smoking Gun reports than despite newspaper ads urging people to claim their refunds, only about 1300 of the 4 million people who bought the book actually did, meaning that damage to Frey and Random House will be far smaller than expected. (And in case you were thinking about filing a claim now, it's too late. The deadline was Monday.) Clearly the lawyers haven't noticed that no one reads newspapers anymore. Now if they'd put the ads on say, Craigslist...

Does the Virtual World Need Virtual Lawsuits?

| Wed Oct. 3, 2007 10:14 AM EDT

A Pennsylvania lawyer has sued the creator of the online virtual universe Second Life after the company banned him from the game and confiscated his virtual winnings. Apparently he'd been cheating in the game's land-auction process. The lawyer is asking for $8,000 in restitution. Maybe the game needs to be expanded to include "virtual litigation," complete with jury pools and subpoena power...

Doctors Discover Americans Are Uninsured

| Tue Oct. 2, 2007 11:16 AM EDT

Over the past month, the American Medical Association (AMA) has blanketed the D.C. public transit system with a massive advertising campaign to raise the profile of the 1 in 7 Americans who lack health insurance. The three-year, multimillion-dollar campaign is also underway in early primary states like Iowa and South Carolina.

It's nice to see the doctors' lobby using its tremendous political muscle to focus attention on the uninsured rather than, say, injured people who sue them (the AMA has devoted millions of dollars to "medical malpractice reform" over the past few years). But the new campaign seems a little disingenuous. After all, were it not for the AMA, we might have had universal coverage 50 years ago. Way back in 1948, the AMA spent millions on PR to defeat government-run universal health care when it was close to passage in Congress by stoking fears of Communists and socialized medicine. The group even fought the creation of Medicare, which it now lobbies hard to protect. And, it was the AMA and many of its partners in this new effort (like the insurance companies) that worked to kill off HillaryCare in the 1990s.

Not surprisingly, the AMA's "solution" to the health care crisis is based mostly on tax credits that would allow people to buy private insurance rather than a bigger role for government. But hey, at least they've finally stopped ranting about socialized medicine!

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