Mojo - February 2007

Tonight: A Documentary on Melvin Van Peebles

| Thu Feb. 15, 2007 9:33 PM EST

How to Eat Your Watermelon in White Company (And Enjoy It) is premiering on The Independent Film Channel at 9 p.m. tonight. It's a biographical documentary on Melvin Van Peebles, who grandfathered blaxspoitation cinema with Sweet Sweetback's Badasssss Song in 1971, and has created 11 other films and seven plays in his career.

"I wanted a movie that black people could walk out of standing tall," Van Peebles explains. "I didn't see the type of movie I wanted to see so I made it myself." How he has done so again and again, despite all odds, is what this documentary shows best.

Read the rest of this post on The Riff.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Edwards Gets Headlines, While Romney Gets A Pass

| Thu Feb. 15, 2007 9:30 PM EST

Regardless of how you feel about John Edwards' hiring of two "controversial" bloggers, his scolding of them, and their eventual resignation, the fact is that while the Edwards debacle got all kinds of media attention, a similar disaster, brewing among Republicans, got none. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romeny, identified in this blog as a pandering wonder, has problems of his own.

Romney announced his candidacy for president of the United States at the Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, an act that did not go over well with the National Jewish Democratic Council. Henry Ford was, of course, a renowned anti-Semite. Said a spokesman for the NJDC: "Romney has been traveling the country talking about inclusiveness and understanding of people from all walks of life. Yet he chooses to kick (off) his presidential campaign on the former estate of a well-known and outspoken anti-Semite and xenophobe."

According to Media Matters for America, the Romney/Ford issue was reported by the New York Times, but not by the Washington Post CNN or Fox News, all of whom made a big deal of the Edwards campaign problem.

Court Upholds Alabama Sex Toy Ban

| Thu Feb. 15, 2007 8:14 PM EST

A federal appeals court just upheld Alabama's sex toy ban, defending the state's interest in "preserving and promoting public morality," i.e. invading your privacy so you don't do it yourself. That's bad news for Sherri Williams, the adult store (NSFW) owner who's the lead plantiff on the case (and whom we wrote about last year.) This could be the end of the road for the case—the Supreme Court has already refused to touch it.

Republicans Say Pelosi's New Blog Violates Copyright Laws

| Thu Feb. 15, 2007 4:28 PM EST

As Jonathan writes today, Nancy Pelosi's new blog, "The Gavel," is "a boon to C-SPAN junkies who can't watch TV during work hours." Just think, more accessible wonk, and first-hand. Well, some are less excited than others. DailyKos has the press release that the Republican Study Committee spammed the media with today. "The RSC spoke with C-SPAN today, who confirmed that these videos violate C-SPAN copyright/trademark of the House proceedings." I'm not sure I would expect anything less from the far right wing of the party. Stay tuned. I'm sure there's more to come.

Tennessee To Require Death Certificates For Aborted Fetuses

| Thu Feb. 15, 2007 4:14 PM EST

Via Feministing, comes this pretty frightening tidbit. The state of Tennessee is proposing legislation to create death certificates for aborted fetuses. No, really. Republicans tout the bill as a way to track how many abortions are performed. As Feministing blogger, Jessica, points outs, the number of abortions is already reported, so really it's just a way to infringe on the privacy of women; creating public records with their social security numbers and all.

Iraq Vets Trying Technology to Regrow Fingers

| Thu Feb. 15, 2007 2:39 PM EST

With amputations an all too common injury in this war, scientists are hoping that new technology may one day lead to full limb regeneration. Read about at The Blue Marble.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Edwards, Obama Keep It Virtual

| Thu Feb. 15, 2007 2:37 PM EST

John Edwards just lost the blogosphere, but he's already staked out his place in the virtual realm of Second Life. Isn't there something ironic about talking about the "two Americas" from inside an alternate world? But then, it's a lot less expensive to build a mansion in SL. Not to be outcourted by a man who already has the hair of an avatar, Barack Obama's just launched his version of MySpace called— yes, really—MyBarackObama. Beacuse Obama belongs to all of us. Even the lurkers.

myobama.gif

Introducing "The Gavel"

| Thu Feb. 15, 2007 1:43 PM EST

Hey, Nancy Pelosi has a new blog, and it's legit! It's called "The Gavel," and it's a boon to C-SPAN junkies who can't watch TV during work hours. There's all sorts of neat video up now from House floor debate and Congressional hearings. It's wonky but cool. Also, be warned that it's kind of slow loading, either because there is so much video or because a ton of people are checking it out.

Take a look.

A Soldier's Take on Cutting the Funding

| Thu Feb. 15, 2007 12:54 PM EST

A DailyKos diarist who served in Iraq and Afghanistan weighs in on whether or not cutting funding for the war in Iraq will put the troops in danger. Very much worth a read.

Romney Follows Papa McCain's Lead on Pandering

| Thu Feb. 15, 2007 12:26 PM EST

CNN is reporting that Mitt Romney will give the commencement address at Pat Robertson's Regent University, just as John McCain, one of Romney's chief rivals for the 2008 Republican nomination, delivered the commencement address at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University last May.

First of all, how do all these guys get their own universities? Second, it's incredible how the religious right has these candidates on a leash. McCain's speech was part of a larger campaign to embrace the religious right, including forsaking his previously moderate views on Roe v. Wade; Romney's speech is part of a coordinated effort to fight his own moderate past and convince the right he is a true conservative, an effort that has included pulling a complete 180 on gay rights.

This is why I think Chuck Hagel has a chance to secure the Republican nomination: he is a conservative through and through with no weaknesses in his social record, and has bucked the party line on just two topics, the Iraq War and President Bush. He opposes both vehemently. Isn't that exactly what the polls indicate conservative voters want right now? The Republican nomination may end up depending on how well Chuck Hagel can make all of this apparent to the vast majority of American voters who have little idea who he is.