Mojo - March 2007

Bring in the Cops! Schwarzenegger's Bodybuilder Appointees are Chiropractic Fanatics!

| Thu Mar. 8, 2007 7:01 PM EST

bodybuilders.jpg

Who needs to watch "Conan the Barbarian" when there's the California Board of Chiropractic Examiners? The board, which includes two friends from Schwarzenegger's bodybuilding days, one of whom played a part in the film, has launched a coup. They've ousted the board's executive director and ejected their own lawyer, a deputy attorney general, from a meeting. The board is so mired in controversy, reports the Sacramento Bee, that five California Highway Patrol officers were called into a meeting last week to keep the peace.

The fracas centers around the regulation of California's chiropractics industry, which, second only to Hollywood and bodybuilding, is to Schwarzenegger as oil is to Bush. The Governator holds an honorary degree from Cleveland Chiropractic College. In 1999, the Bee reports, he granted an interview to a magazine called Dynamic Chiropractic, in which he said, "People who don't believe in chiropractic always ask me about it. I have now become like a spokesperson for chiropractic."

Schwarzenegger's chiropractic crusaders include Franco Columbu, a two-time Mr. Olympia and occasional actor, and Richard Tyler, the editor of a bodybuilding magazine who picked up Schwarzenegger from the airport when he first arrived in California in 1968, the Bee reported. Both men are also chiropractors, and have bristled at what they see as too many restrictions on the industry. They approved a resolution last week supporting a controversial chiropractic practice known as "manipulation under anesthesia," which was shot down in 2005 by the state's Office of Administrative Law and is the subject of lawsuits filed against chiropractors in the state for unlicensed practice of medicine.

At a meeting of the board in December, shortly before director Catherine Hayes was ousted and Tyler took over as "interim director" of the board, the Bee recounted that she clashed with Tyler over what chiropractors were capable of curing:

Tyler insisted that he had cured earaches in children by adjusting the atlas, the vertebra closest to the head, and using homeopathic remedies.

He then took Hayes to task for signing a pending review of a case stating that "no forensic or scientific evidence" supports claims that chiropractic and homeopathic remedies are helpful in curing earaches, adding that there is more than 100 years of proof.

The debate, though imbued with Californian flapdoodle, ultimately sounds reminiscent of the creationist textbook wars in Kansas. And the Lord said, be gone, earache! (and that'll be $19.95, in four easy installments!) Political Muscle, the Arnold-centric LA Times political blog, seems to agree that this whole scandal defies credulity. "There is nothing left to blog after that," they write. "Schwarzenegger has exceeded all expectations."


UPDATE: In a follow-up piece in the Bee yesterday afternoon, Schwarzenegger threw fuel on the flames. Though the board's website says it's supposed to "protect Californians from fraudulent or incompetent" practices, Schwarzenegger told the Bee that the board "represents the chiropractors." Ouch, my ears are hurting. I guess I need my atlas adjusted.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Rove on U.S. Attorney Firings: This Is So Not A Big Deal

| Thu Mar. 8, 2007 5:42 PM EST

As TPMmuckraker reports, Karl Rove is on camera (above) discussing how not a big deal the recent mass purging of U.S. Attorneys is. Give it up for the Arkansas Times blog for spotting this gem. Rove was speaking at a Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. The president's Deputy Chief of Staff basically says (I'm paraphrasing): "U.S. Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president, they can be fired for any or no reason at all, Clinton fired all of the U.S. Attorneys in place when he took office...blah, blah, blah." So, yes, Rove is correct. U.S. Attorneys do serve at the pleasure of the president, which mind you is why all eight of them prior to being subpoenaed before the House quietly and graciously accepted their forced resignations. But this type of cleanse, as was repeated ad nauseam on Tuesday in front of the House and Senate committees investigating the firings, is unprecedented. And the DOJ's constant flip-flop over why the USAs were canned looks rather fishy. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee leading the senate investigation, brought up this very point during his questioning of the attorneys. He said that USAs do serve at the pleasure of the prez and in his state, they "like to cycle as many people through this position as [they] can" (again, paraphrasing, I don't have my hearing notes in front of me). But, he noted that all four of the attorneys that appeared before the senate committee had been in office for a very long time, so if the DOJ had been unhappy with their performance, which is one of the many reasons given by the department for the attorneys' terminations, somebody was asleep at the wheel for quite a while.

Rove also attacks Carol Lam, claiming she refused to file immigration cases. This just isn't true. During the senate hearing, Lam testified that offices of comparable size file 400-800 cases each year, her office filed between 2400 and 3000 cases and doubled the number of immigration cases that went to trial between 2006 and 2007.

Scandal in Obama's Past Finally Revealed

| Thu Mar. 8, 2007 4:02 PM EST

obama.jpgSpotted in Salon's War Room, the Boston Globe is reporting today that Barack Obama paid $375 in late fees and fines for parking tickets racked up while he was at Harvard just two weeks before announcing his presidential bid. The man is clearly not presidential material: He should have had his daddy intervene on his behalf with the Traffic, Parking & Transportation Department. (Although I've heard it's more intractable than the draft board ever was.)

Slick Willie Version 2.0?

| Thu Mar. 8, 2007 2:33 PM EST

If you want to know why New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson's presidential campaign is having trouble getting off the ground, check out this Politico article on Richardson's "excessively personal" campaign style.

MoJoBlog on Richardson's expertise on nukes here and his all-around qualification for the country's highest office here.

Estonian Election Goes Digital

| Thu Mar. 8, 2007 1:29 PM EST

In random, but interesting news, Estonia recently completed its national parliamentary election, and with it, the largest scale non-Simon-Cowell-related online voting experiment in history. 30,000 citizens (about 1 in 30 voters), used their national ID cards and PINs to cast their ballots on a government website. Apparently, no security breaches occurred, and voter turnout was an all time high of 61%. The BBC points out that online voting will need to flush out all security concerns before gaining mass popularity, but still...in the future, imagine casting your vote to reelect President Jenna Bush from the comfort of your moon-beer-drenched LazyBoy...ah technology.

Mother Jones Nominated for WPA Magazine Awards

| Thu Mar. 8, 2007 11:11 AM EST

The Western Publications Association has announced this year's finalists for its annual Maggie Awards and Mother Jones has nabbed two. Chuck Bowden's tour de force, Exodus, which takes the reader deep inside the immigration debate in a way only Bowden, who has lived and worked on both sides of the line for decades, can, is up for Best Feature Article. And our entire September/October issue, featuring our Lie by Lie timeline, is a nominee in the Politics & Social Issues category. Winners of the 56th annual awards will be announced April 27th.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Newsweek Feeds My Huckabee Love Affair

| Thu Mar. 8, 2007 10:44 AM EST

If you read the blog yesterday, you know that I'm pushing for a Hagel-Huckabee Republican ticket. I think it makes a ton of sense for the conservative base, but it also sounds awesome and has a great odd couple feel to it. But these two have a lot of work to do if they're going make my wishes come true. Huckabee's working on it; he's got an interview in Newsweek that should increase his name recognition a little bit.

Here's a tidbit that should be familiar to regular MoJoBlog readers:

Q: What do you make of candidates like Giuliani, Romney and McCain — all of whom have moved to the right on social issues?
A: The first thing is: imitation is the most serious form of flattery. Some are having a late adult moment to come to a position I've held since I've been a teenager. Voters will have to determine if they're seeing the politics of conviction or convenience.

ZING! Huckabee comes out swinging!

He's going to have to work on his global warming talking points, though. First of all, he's got to do some research. You'll see what I mean below. Second of all, he's got to respond to questions like this with a little more clarity.

Q: But do you believe there's a human role in climate change?
A: There may be. But whether there is or there isn't, it doesn't release us from the responsibility to be good stewards of the environment. It's the old boy scout rule: you leave your campsite in as good or better shape than how you found it. It's a spiritual issue. [The earth] belongs to God. I have no right to destroy it. I think we work toward alternative energy sources. [We need to make it] like the Manhattan Project or going to the moon. We need to accelerate our energy independence.

Maybe this response is about Huckabee having his cake and eating it too. He wants to appeal to the (crazy and uninformed) portion of the Republican base that still doesn't believe global warming exists and resents the growing Al Gore-led environmentalist crowd that screams bloody murder over the issue (and demands lifestyle changes from them). At the same time, he also wants to appeal to the new and growing green evangelical movement. Whatever the case may be, as the campaign goes along Huckabee's going to have to make that response a more elegant one.

There's also a moment in the interview when Huckabee won't say whether or not he supports letting women preach in Christian churches and a heartfelt plea about retaining music and art programs in schools. And a series of questions about how fat he used to be. So, uh, yeah, there's lots of work to be done on Huckabee '08. How about some vision, buddy? And how can you go through a five-page interview and not mention your life story, or anything about who you are as a person? C'mon, Huckabee! Don't let me down!

Update on U.S. Attorneys Probe: DOJ Officials May Be Subpoenaed

| Thu Mar. 8, 2007 8:55 AM EST

The Senate Judiciary Committee, which is heading an investigation into the recent quick and dirty cleansing of 8 -- and maybe 9 -- U.S. Attorneys, will vote today on whether to subpoena five DOJ officials if they fail to appear. Those officials include the chiefs of staff for both U.S. Attornery General Alberto Gonzales and Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty (Kyle Sampson and Mike Elston, respectively), acting Associate Attorney General William Mercer, Director of the Executive Office of the United States Attorney Michael Battle (who has just resigned), and the Justice Department's White House liaison, Monica Goodling. During a marathon of hearings before the House and Senate this past Tuesday, the testimony by six of the U.S. Attorneys incriminated these officials. TPMmuckraker has a good rundown on their alleged involvement in the firings. For Mojo coverage of the senate hearing on Tuesday and further developments, click here, here and here.

No Child Left Behind? Iraqi Edition

| Wed Mar. 7, 2007 6:56 PM EST

Yesterday's Jordan Times adds another whopper to the myriad of bad news coming out of Iraq. Apparently, few of the estimated 172,000 to 230,000 school-aged Iraq War refugees living Jordan are enrolled in school. Those children, many of whom are from middle class Iraqi families, lack the proper residency status to qualify for public school, and their families lack the finances to enroll their children in private institutions. As a result, over a hundred thousand Iraqi children have been out of school for as many as 4 years now--and that's just counting those in Jordan. Musa Shteiwi, a sociology professor at the University of Jordan notes:

"Violating children's rights to an education can have short- and long-term effects on their chances in life. They could turn to other things like begging, illegal employment and leading delinquent lives," Shteiwi told The Jordan Times.

The sociologist, who is director of the Jordan Centre for Social Research, added that the long term impact on Jordanian society may not be significant if the Iraqis are no longer here in a few years, but a short term impact is imminent and would add to social problems in the Kingdom.

What about the impact on Iraqi society? An estimated 40% of educated middle class Iraqis have fled since the invasion. Who will replace them in a future (free?) Iraq?

An Online Forum for Sexual Harrassment

| Wed Mar. 7, 2007 6:43 PM EST

UPenn law student Anthony Ciolli and insurance agent Jarret Cohen run a forum that promotes sexual harassment of law students. Women's pictures are posted without their consent, and they refuse to censor anonymous slander and hate speech. The defamation probably cost one woman a job. So if you have personal information about these two, post it right here. Personality quirks, sexual issues, insecurities large and small—get creative. Doesn't have to be true. Hey—It's freedom of speech! Because of the First Amendment, no one has any moral accountability for anything said.