Porn, Porn Everywhere

| Sun Dec. 16, 2007 11:17 AM EST

A study has found, duh, that most young women in college find pornography acceptable and view it themselves. As if you couldn't tell that from the way they dress and comport themselves.

Don't get me wrong, porn's fine. In fact, it's a girl's best friend. Quite the little time saver.
Whenever the man-of-the-moment started giving me the horny eyeball when I had a good book to finish or laundry to do, POP went the VCR. Most porn is so silly, with those pneumatic, ridiculo-boobs, and toothache moaning, five or so minutes in, a sister was bored and wandering off for a snack. The hard part, you'll excuse the expression, was snaking out of that feverish clawing with a fako-bacon, husky "I'll be right back" in a 1-900 voice he interpreted to mean that I'd be donning something uncomfortable and sleazy but which really meant, "I think there's some Chunky Monkey left".

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The Brother Caught ANOTHER Break: Clinton's Failed 'Willie Horton-ing" of Obama

| Sun Dec. 16, 2007 10:18 AM EST

Barack Obama must surely have been born under a lucky star.

'Black' but not black. 'American' but only American since his college days, having spent his formative years outside the CONUS. Whip-smart but with enough nerd-chic to make it cool. Now he even gets to have been a doobie-smoking, coke snorting slacker made untouchable about it by having 'fessed up before he could be outed. Best of all, now he's been attacked by Whitey for it. Finally, proof: it is indeed better to be lucky than good.

DMR Endorses Clinton, McCain

| Sun Dec. 16, 2007 1:38 AM EST

I goofed earlier when I blogged on the significance of the Des Moines Register's endorsement, which was released just a few moments ago. Specifically, I failed to mention that the Register releases two endorsements, one in each race.

Isn't endorsing a candidate in each party a pretty incredible show of arrogance? If the Register were to endorse one candidate, it would be essentially saying, "Look, we're going to lay our biases on the table. Here's who we support. Take it or leave it." But by endorsing a candidate in each race, the folks there aren't making their decisions based on their values. They're making their decisions based on the belief that they are smarter and better informed than other Iowans and therefore have the authority to tell both Republicans and Democrats how to vote. I know this is common practice, but jeez, I tell you, there is something about Iowa.

Anyway, the Register endorsed Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Its rationals after the jump. Updated below: The Boston Globe's picks.

Young Girl Goes on the Attack; Obama Stays Positive

| Sat Dec. 15, 2007 6:36 PM EST

Fun interaction (paraphrased) between Barack Obama and a young attendee at a town hall event here in New Hampton, Iowa:

Young girl: "I just want to say that every time I see a commercial of Mitt Romney on TV I want to throw up."

Barack Obama: "Haha. Okay. I feel you. What's your question?"

Young girl: "I just want to say to anyone who is considering voting for Mitt Romney—"

Barack Obama: "Well, hold on, sweetie. I know you have an opinion on Mitt, but I want to use this forum for questions, not to dog Mitt Romney. Though he sometimes uses his town halls to dog me! So why don't you ask a question."

Young girl: "Uh, I guess I want to know your thoughts on Mitt Romney."

Obama said that Romney is a man of accomplishment with great hair. He declined to engage Romney directly because, he said, he isn't convinced Romney is going to be the Republican nominee. But, boy, Mitt Romney must have run over that little girl's dog.

Update: Maybe that little girl is really, really good at getting the word out.

The Des Moines Register's Big Move

| Sat Dec. 15, 2007 6:13 PM EST

The Des Moines Register is releasing its super-important endorsement in the Democratic primary tonight. In Iowa, where the Drudge Report, the New York Times op-ed page, and the liberal blogosphere all influence opinions far less than they do on the coasts, a nod from the state's largest paper can provide a campaign with a huge boost. It certainly did that for John Edwards in 2004.

So we'll be on that here at MoJoBlog. The NYT has an excellent article on the length campaigns will go to get the Register's endorsement. Right now, the sexy pick is Joe Biden, though that may just be political reporters hoping for a bit of intrigue to cut the monotony of the campaign. A Biden endorsement would probably hurt Clinton, because they share voters who place a higher premium on national security experience and/or hawkishness than anything else. And if you subscribe to the theory that Edwards and Obama have like-minded supporters, a nod for either one will hurt the other. A Clinton choice would likely reenergize her drifting campaign.

Two Biggies Weigh In on Best Songs & Albums of 2007

| Fri Dec. 14, 2007 7:39 PM EST

mojo-photo-rollingspin.jpgSpin, America's Snottiest Mainstream Music Rag™, and Rolling Stone, America's Grumpy-Old-Man-iest Music and Whatever Else They Damned Well Feel Like Publication™, just posted their best albums and best singles lists, respectively, and there aren't really too many surprises. Spin goes out on a limb with their #1 slot, awarding Against Me's New Wave "Best Album" honors. It's a good CD, but the choice smacks of a certain "we're down with the mall-rat Hot Topic punk-rock haircut emo kid crowd, please buy our magazine" desperation that Spin, in their insecurity, descends to a lot of the time. Other than that, you couldn't get a more same-old, same-old two through ten:

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De-Stuffing the Holidays

| Fri Dec. 14, 2007 5:32 PM EST


Winter solstice

In keeping with the revelations of The Story of Stuff, maybe you've decided to transition to a non-gift holiday? ChangingThePresent floats a few ideas for weaning the greedy:

For the wine connoisseur: ($10) Clear landmines in Afghanistan with Roots of Peace and replace them with grapevines. • For the karaoke junky ($5) Help 50,000 people improve their reading skills by providing Same Language Subtitling (SLS) on Bollywood film songs on TV through PlanetRead. Your gift provides 30 minutes of weekly reading practice to 50,000 people, for one year. • For the friend who never comes to your show: ($5) A bag of concrete. This gift through KaBOOM! will provide an 80 lb bag of concrete which will be used to anchor a swingset, slide, or climbing structure for kids to play on. • And more

Grist also suggests interesting de-stuff alternatives—though their carbon offsets are questionable, as are carbon offsets in general:

Write I.O.U.s: Dust off your babysitting, pet-care, housecleaning, gardening, snow-shoveling, or haircutting skills—whatever you've got—and make someone's day just a little bit easier. • Stop junk mail: Subscribe your gift recipient to a stop-the-junk-mail service like...

Double Trouble: China and the U.S. Gang Up on the Environment

| Fri Dec. 14, 2007 4:20 PM EST

bali-conference.jpgChina and the U.S. have been quite the bosom buddies lately, both on economic and environmental issues. But is it any wonder? As we discussed in our current feature article, "The Last Empire," China's booming economy is based on a high-consumption, capitalist, American model.

The two countries recently pledged to "conduct extensive cooperation over a 10-year period to focus on technological innovation, adoption of clean technology and sustainable natural resources." The promise to adopt clean technology seems like nothing more than a false gesture, considering both China and the U.S. refused mandatory emissions cuts of 20 to 40 percent by 2020 at the U.N. climate change conference in Bali this week.

For more on this subject, continue reading this post on Mother Jones' environment and health blog, The Blue Marble.

License to Bill: Congress Cracks Down on Contractors

| Fri Dec. 14, 2007 4:13 PM EST


This morning's Washington Post includes a front page story detailing alleged mismanagement and questionable expenditures by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), headed by Stuart W. Bowen, Jr., a former Bush adviser who has earned equal praise from Democrats and Republicans alike for his dogged approach to uncovering... well, mismanagement and questionable expenditures in the Iraq reconstruction.

According to the Post, Bowen's office is the target of at least three ongoing investigations, by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the Presidential Council on Integrity and Efficiency, and the U.S. Army's Equal Employment Opportunity Office. Echoing State Department Inspector General Howard "Cookie" Krongard's recent troubles, all three are said to have resulted from complaints brought by members of Bowen's own staff. Among the charges: that due to abuse of federal overtime policies, at least 10 staff members netted more than $250,000 last year (General Petraeus pulled down $174,900, by comparison); that Bowen's pursuit of a $3.5 million book project about the Iraq reconstruction became a financial sink hole; and that Bowen and his deputies reviewed employee emails without permission, allegedly to identify "who was loyal and who was not," according to one aggrieved staffer. Compounding the misery at SIGIR—which according to another employee quoted by the Post, is "gripped by paranoia" and has taken on "a siege mentality"—is the revelation earlier this year that the office's claim to have saved taxpayers $1.87 billion in reconstruction spending was not only untrue, but way, way off the mark: a new estimate last summer put the figure at just $95 million, or five percent of SIGIR's original claim.

Despite all this, the SIGIR model stands to be expanded in the latest version of the 2008 Defense Authorization Bill, which was passed by the House earlier this week and is now awaiting Senate approval before making its way to President Bush's desk. It would create a Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) to "conduct, supervise and coordinate audits and investigations of the treatment, handling and expenditures of appropriated funds by the United States government, and of the programs, operations and contracts carried out utilizing such funds in Afghanistan in order to prevent and detect waste, fraud and abuse," according to the bill.

Late Night TV Hosts to Make United Return?

| Fri Dec. 14, 2007 3:59 PM EST


And yes, that's really David Letterman up there on the left. Jeez. "Late Night With Beardy McSantapants?" Wow. Anyway, Variety is reporting that some or all of the big network late night hosts could be back on the air in early January, perhaps at the same time. Letterman, Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien and Craig Ferguson have all stayed off the air since the beginning of the ongoing Writers Guild strike in support of their joke-penners, even paying the staffs out of their own pockets. But with the shows in reruns, ratings are taking a nose-dive, and the hosts are getting antsy: