Mojo - May 2008

In the Shadow of Mother's Day

| Sat May 10, 2008 10:52 PM EDT

Below is a guest blog entry in honor of Mother's Day by obstetrician-gynecologist Nancy Stanwood:

I am fortunate to have met many wonderful mothers. These women understand what it means to raise a child well. They make daily sacrifices to keep their children physically and emotionally healthy and happy. As a new mother myself, I find their commitment inspiring.

What I know about these mothers, though, won't be celebrated on Mother's Day. They came to me to have abortions.

I am an obstetrician-gynecologist, and in my 13 years of delivering babies and providing abortions, I have ended pregnancies for many women with children at home. These mothers account for the majority of U.S. abortions. Six out of every ten women who have abortions in this country each year already have at least one child.

In my experience, these mothers have abortions to meet their responsibilities for their children at home.

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At Least One Conservative Says McCain Should Renounce Rev. Parsley

| Sat May 10, 2008 12:44 PM EDT

At least one conservative Republican has come out and said that John McCain ought to denounce the Reverend Rod Parsley for his extreme anti-Islam rhetoric, and that's James Pinkerton, with whom I regularly appear on Bloggingheads.tv. Pinkerton, who was a domestic policy adviser for the first President Bush and who advised Mike Huckabee during his recent GOP presidential primary contest, says that McCain should reject the endorsement he's accepted from Parsley, a pastor at an Ohio megachurch who has said that it is the historic mission of the United States to see the "false religion" of Islam "destroyed."

For more on Parsley's anti-Islam ranting and to see the reverend in his full anti-Islam glory, click here for the video of Parsley's attack on Islam that was produced by Mother Jones and Brave New Films.

Up to now, McCain has steadfastly refused to renounce Parsley, an influential political force in the swing state of Ohio. Doing so could seriously hurt McCain's chances in the Buckeye State. So Pinkerton shouldn't expect McCain to heed his advice. Here's Pinkerton and I discussing the matter:

John McCain, No Environmentalist

| Fri May 9, 2008 3:50 PM EDT

In New Jersey today, John McCain called himself a "Teddy Roosevelt Republican" and said, "I'm proud of my environmental record." This is a line — a myth, really — that McCain is sure to push in the general election.

True, John McCain does talk about the environment more than other Republicans. But that doesn't make him an environmentalist, and his environmental record is nowhere close to the Democrats in the race. Take it from those who know best.

In 2007, the League of Conservation Voters rated McCain a zero on the environment because he skipped every vote the organization graded. (Vote-skipping is a serious problem for Johnny Mac.) At the time, Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope said:

"We were appalled two weeks ago when John McCain was the only Senator who chose to skip a crucial vote on the future of clean energy in America-dooming the measure to fail by just a single vote. As it turns out, this was merely the most recent example of a clear pattern of missing the most important votes on energy and the environment--as his abysmal LCV score clearly demonstrates....
"[John McCain has] a lifetime pattern of voting with polluters and special interests instead of consumers and the planet when it comes time to stand up and be counted. Or perhaps worse yet: a consistent refusal to stand up and be counted at all."

The President of the League of the Conservation Voters, Gene Karpinski, adds, "To his credit, McCain has made global warming a priority... [but] throughout his time in Congress, McCain's voted pro-environment only one out of four times.''

Clinton and Obama also suffered due to vote-skipping in 2007, with LCV scores of 73 and 67 respectively. But the lifetime scores of the three candidates tell the true story. Hillary Clinton's lifetime score is 87 percent. Obama's is 86 percent. John McCain's is 24 percent.

As Obama Takes Lead in Superdels, Clinton Makes Unlikely Bid for Popular Vote

| Fri May 9, 2008 12:19 PM EDT

ABC News reports that Barack Obama has passed Hillary Clinton among superdelegates, with a current count of 276-275. A couple caveats: (1) Every major news outlet has a different count when it comes to Obama and Clinton's superdelegate totals, and ABC News is the first to say Obama has passed Clinton. Nevertheless, the other networks will likely follow close behind — most others have Obama trailing Clinton by five to 10, and Obama has been closing steadily since Super Tuesday. (2) These numbers are constantly in flux, with new superdelegate endorsements coming every day.

Nevertheless, ABC's announcement is a sign of things to come. We will soon reach a point where there aren't enough outstanding pledged delegates and undecided superdelegates for Clinton to win the nomination. At that point, she either has to drop out or try to convince Obama superdelegates that they need to switch to her.

One way the campaign might convince superdelegates to do that? Winning the popular vote. Clinton is campaigning in Kentucky, where her campaign chairman addressed the issue with reporters:

The Paulites Aren't Done Yet

| Fri May 9, 2008 11:18 AM EDT

ron_paul_supporters.jpg Ron Paul deserves representation at the Republican national convention in proportion to the support he received in the primaries. And his supporters are prepared to fight like hell to make sure he gets it.

Across the country, at state and county GOP conventions, diehard supporters of maverick Ron Paul are staging uprisings in an effort to secure a role for Paul at the national convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul....
In Minnesota, Paul loyalists captured seven delegate slots at congressional district meetings, and in Nevada, the convention abruptly recessed on April 26 after balloting showed Paul supporters winning at least half of the initial contests for delegate slots to the national convention....

People are catching on.

Last weekend in Maine, McCain's forces were well organized, but Paul's activists nevertheless managed to pick up one of the 18 delegates at stake.
"They attempted fraud," [Julie O'Brien, executive director of the Maine Republican Party] asserted. "We knew what had happened in Nevada, so we really prepared in advance . . . to make sure everything was done by the book."

I say boooo to Julie O'Brien. I hope there are enough Paulestinians at the national Republican convention to rouse some rabble. To paraphrase one of our commenters, Ron Paul tried to save the Republican Party. Sometimes I wonder why he bothered.

Starbucks' Slutty Mermaid Making Waves

| Thu May 8, 2008 7:25 PM EDT

pikes-place-logo.jpgLately, I've seen some changes at the two Starbucks that live less than a block away from the Mother Jones office. Last month, they both started pushing a new blend called "Pike Place Roast" as their regular drip coffee, as part of a campaign to compete with brisk coffee sales at Dunkin' Donuts and McDonald's. As part of the campaign, Starbucks re-introduced its 1971 brown-and-white logo featuring a two-tailed mermaid. Okay, technically it's a siren, but regardless, the image of a female figure brazenly spreading its tails has made a few Christians vow to boycott the company.

"The Starbucks logo has a naked woman on it with her legs spread like a prostitute," explains alarmist Mark Dice, of a Christian group called The Resistance. "Need I say more? It's extremely poor taste, and the company might as well call themselves Slutbucks."

While I'm curious what the value of a Slutbuck is relative to a Schrutebuck, I'm worried that Dice doesn't seem to understand the Starbucks siren is half-fish. She doesn't have legs to spread, much less a vagina to go between them. The fact that Dice doesn't get the difference between a fin and a foot may be an example of what abstinence-only funding does to education, but it's certainly not the first time spunky Christians have boycotted the multinational company.

Just last summer, a group of Christian ladies boycotted Frappuccinos because there was a homosexual-agenda-pushing Armistead Maupin quote on some of the cups. Others have boycotted the company because of anti-God quotes.

All I can say is that if Starbucks goes down, it won't be because of a handful of Christian boycotters. And it won't be because a friend of a CATO Institute vice-president couldn't buy a customized "Laissez Faire" gift card, either. As the WSJ tells it, a Starbucks slump will be due to oversaturation and a faltering economy that makes $4 lattes seem like less of a necessity. Whether that's an act of God or not is for you to decide.

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Gag Order Lifted, Israel Obsesses Over Corruption Probe Targeting Prime Minister

| Thu May 8, 2008 6:49 PM EDT

As the sun set on Israel's 60th Independence Day celebrations tonight, Israeli media were partially liberated from a gag order that had restricted their reporting details of a fast moving and curiously timed corruption investigation of Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. The probe's quickening pace now is curious given that it is focusing on financial transactions between Olmert and an American financier and philanthropist that date back to the 1990s when Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem and a cabinet minister in the government of Ariel Sharon.

"Olmert suspected of accepting illicit funds from U.S. businessman," a Ha'aretz headline proclaimed:

Guns Don't Kill People, Irresponsible Gun Dealers Do

| Thu May 8, 2008 5:39 PM EDT

Eric Thompson sells guns on the Internet. Of course, you may already know that. After all, his Green Bay, Wisc.-based firm, TGSCOM Inc. (www.thegunsource.com), has had some high-profile clients, including Seng-Hui Cho, who massacered 33 classmates at Virginia Tech last year, and Stephen Kazmierczak, who killed five students at Northern Illinois University last February. And surely for this, Thompson feels sorry. But don't ask him to apologize for his business, for he's committed to placing firearms in the warm, living hands of as many customers as possible... at the lowest possible price.

Since the initial shock of learning he had played a supporting role in at least two school shootings, Thompson has turned infamy into a marketing strategy. In the spirit of there being no such thing as bad publicity, he's taken full advantage of opportunities to appear on television, including his recent FOX News sparring match with Paul Helmke of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. This followed Thompson's visit to Virginia Tech last month, where, almost a year to the day after the shootings, he spoke at an on-campus event sponsored by Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. A school spokesman called the visit "terribly offensive" and said "the organizers appear to be incredibly insensitive to the families of the victims who lost loved ones and to the injured students still recovering from this horrendous tragedy." But Thompson, who claims to have donated money to a Virginia Tech victims' fund, stands by his decision to appear at the university. It's all part of the "special responsibility" he's been given to "help change people's opinions."

Is Boycotting Wal-Mart Activism?

| Thu May 8, 2008 2:32 PM EDT

We want the lowdown on student activism, past and present. Been arrested and regret it? Would your school win the prize for silliest student protest? Was student activism way better when you were in school? Is your cause unique?

Help us put together our best student activism roundup yet. It's our 15th annual! Check out last year's. Answer a few quick questions and you could win some cool prizes.

Click here to begin!

A Vote For McCain Validates Bush

| Thu May 8, 2008 1:31 PM EDT

There are, in the minds of many, historical legacies at stake in the 2008 presidential election. From Der Spiegel, via Nitpicker:

SPIEGEL ONLINE: The Iraq war was perceived as the one chance the neocons had in our time to prove that their theories were right. Is neoconservatism already a historical footnote?
[Neoconservative Lawrence] Kaplan: The near-term argument here is that if John McCain wins the presidential election, neoconservatism will have been vindicated. Because by voting him into office, people will have tacitly given their endorsement to that sort of foreign policy. His advisers are the very people we are arguing about.