Political MoJo

Mother Jones Names New Editors-in-Chief

| Wed Aug. 16, 2006 12:58 PM PDT

We're happy to announce today that Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery have been named the editors-in-chief of Mother Jones. Monika, who was most recently investigative editor, has been at the magazine since 2000. Clara has been deputy editor since 2002. In one fell swoop, they've bumped up the total of women editors in chief of "thought leader" magazines by half.

They'll be discussing their new gig and their plans for the magazine and web site on Mother Jones Radio this Sunday. If you have questions or comments you'd like to hear them address on the air, please email host Angie Coiro at angie@motherjones.com.

(Official press release here.)

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Transatlantic Flight in Emergency Diversion

| Wed Aug. 16, 2006 12:23 PM PDT

flight.png

"This isn't just an 'I want another drink' kind of thing, it was a disruption that caused them to divert the plane," said FBI spokesperson Nenette Day.

TSA officials denied reports on Fox News that a female passenger had brandished a screwdriver, Vaseline and matches and had a note referring to al-Qaida in her possession. (Guardian)

As one who'll be taking a transatlantic flight to London this weekend, let me just say: oh boy.

Oliver Stone, 9/11, and the Big Lie

| Wed Aug. 16, 2006 10:48 AM PDT

Ruth Rosen, writing at Tomdispatch, considers Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center," finding it vivid, subtle, graphic, emotionally compelling--but ultimately disfigured by one massive failing: that of reinforcing the Big Lie--that 9/11 was somehow linked to Iraq or supported by Saddam Hussein.

You might say, "But everyone knows it was al-Qaeda." And you'd be right, but do most Americans really know just who those terrorists were or that they had no connection to Iraq -- that not a single one of them even came from that country? It doesn't sound very important until you realize that various polls over the last five years have reported from 20% to 50% of Americans still believe Iraqis were on those planes. (They were not.) As of early 2005, according to a Harris poll, 47% of Americans were convinced that Saddam Hussein actually helped plan the attack and supported the hijackers. And in February, 2006, according to a unique Zogby poll of American troops serving in Iraq, "85% said the U.S. mission is mainly 'to retaliate for Saddam's role in the 9-11 attacks'; 77% said they also believe the main or a major reason for the war was 'to stop Saddam from protecting al Qaeda in Iraq.'" ...

How could Oliver Stone leave it up to viewers to discover for themselves who committed this crime? And how could he leave the audience with the impression that there was a connection, as Dick Cheney has never stopped saying, between 9/11 and Iraq?

Read it here.

Lieberman "Energized," Clinton Triangulating...

| Wed Aug. 16, 2006 1:25 AM PDT

So Patrick Healy and Nick Confessore report in the New York Times that Joe Lieberman is "energized" and "emboldened" and that, already, there's a "full-throated" re-enactment of the "blistering" primary taking place.

We'll leave the jokes to Wonkette, but the spiciest part of this piece comes a few paragaraphs down:

The senator appears so emboldened that in spite of the Democratic unity around Mr. Lamont, some Washington Democrats are now acknowledging that a Lieberman victory in November is a distinct possibility. According to guests at a fund-raiser for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Hamptons on Saturday, Mrs. Clinton — who is supporting Mr. Lamont — said that Mr. Lieberman had more than a 50-50 chance of winning re-election. (Clinton aides said they could not confirm or deny the remark; one of the aides said that if Mrs. Clinton had discussed the race, she might have been referring to a new poll that had Mr. Lieberman slightly ahead.)
It depends on what the definition of "chance" is?

The way you know the 2008 race has begun in earnest is how the Clintons have ramped up the triangulation. (And with both of them triangulating, it's more like hexagonation.) I don't get as white hot angry on this subject as many on the left; to my mind there's a certain tactical dexterity you just have to admire. That dexterity was the real core of the Clinton/Morris doctrine; running to the middle was only a method to reach a goal. (On this point, I disagree somewhat with MoveOn's Eli Pariser). The real goal was to give Bill as much maneuvering room as possible.

So now it is Hillary who needs the room to maneuver, and never more than now, when she's trapped between the "always anti-war" left and the (far more electorally important) "fairly recently disenchanted." Her gender makes her, more than any male candidate, vulnerable if the Republicans' "cut-and-run Defeatocrats" line gains traction. (I don't like that this is so, but it is the truth.)

Enter Bill. By pivoting around her, he can fake a play in one direction, while she moves to the other, or throw her a pass downfield. Ignoring the Dubai ports debacle, which was failed triangulation (or was it?), the Clinton's have been running these plays beautifully. There's been all the mixed messages over Lieberman and Lamont, of course, but let's also not forget that at the height of Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth"/"candidate again?" hoopla, the Clinton Foundation launched an anti-global warming initiative. Which is great, but also conveniently timed.

Also in the NYT piece, this little tidbit.

Yet Mr. Lamont's staffing needs are also one of several signs that his rookie bid for statewide election is still evolving: He lacks such basic political tools as an opposition research effort to ferret out the sources of Mr. Lieberman's campaign contributions and other tidbits that might embarrass the senator. Mr. Lamont's communications and advance operations also need to be expanded, said Tom Swan, the campaign manager.
"There is a need for us to adjust a lot, to adjust significant pieces of the campaign and tap our thousands of volunteers," Mr. Swan said. "Having said that, I believe we have a lot to build off of to make that easier."
Code for bloggers=oppo research?

The impact of war on wildlife, pets and the environment

| Tue Aug. 15, 2006 5:42 PM PDT

An oil spill in Lebanon is being called a "major catastrophe" by the Lebanese government. The spill was created when Israeli jets hit storage tanks at the Jyiieh power station, and it now covers fifty miles of coast. It is estimated that the amount of oil that has entered the water is almost the amount that entered during the 1989 Exxon Valdez incident. Environment Minister Yacoub al-Sarraf said "We have never seen a spill like this in the history of Lebanon. It is a major catastrophe." The cost of the clean-up is estimated to be between $40 and $50 million.

The green sea turtle, which is endangered, nests on the coast of Lebanon. Some of the oil has settled on the sea floor, where tuna spawn.

There is also a problem with forest fires. According to Mounir Abou Ghanem, director general of the Association for Forest Development and Conservation in Beirut, there is no one to deal with the fires in Lebanon because the priority is relief and humanitarian work.

In the meantime, the animals in both Lebanon and Israel are suffering and dying. Rescue groups in Lebanon are doing their best to rescue stranded pets and feed any wandering animals. One shelter was hit by shrapnel and another was very close to a site that was bombed, so the rescuers are in danger, as well as the animals. Evacuees are seeing and running over dead animals on the roads as they flee.

In northern Israel, where people must abandon their homes, there are daily requests for shelter for pets. A rescue group, Let the Animals Live, is finding foster homes, feeding abandoned animals, and in a move reminiscent of Katrina, trying to get into houses to rescue abandoned pets. Rescuers in Israel are also tending to pets that have been injured by rockets.

And also reminiscent of Katrina, Americans and Canadians evacuated from Lebanon are not allowed to take their pets with them.

Music Slowly Revives in New Orleans

| Tue Aug. 15, 2006 3:41 PM PDT

nola_music.png

The London Observer has a great audio slide show on music in New Orleans, post-Katrina. (To check it out, click on the photo, which shows the remains of a jukebox after the flood.) You get the basic gist from this paragraph in an accompanying article.

Following the storm it would be hard to say that music is in rude health, even in its rawest form, but look hard enough and the spirit of what everyone here calls 'the real New Orleans' is still intact. 'I defy you to spend a day in this city without hearing live music,' says Ben Jaffe, whose parents founded the French Quarter jazz venue Preservation Hall in 1961. He now plays bass with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. 'You can't walk down the street without hearing live music.' He's right. Even with 50 per cent of the population absent, much of the city a ghost town where even the 24-hour diners close at lunchtime because they've run out of food or staff and neighbourhoods are mouldering and decaying, music is everywhere, be it hip hop, bounce, brass bands or traditional jazz.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Sean Hannity...Bombs?

| Tue Aug. 15, 2006 11:36 AM PDT

hann.png

From ThinkProgress:

Yesterday on Fox News, Sean Hannity bashed Americans for Peace Now founder Mark Rosenblum for claiming that Hannity had suggested Israel should drop a nuclear bomb to destroy Hezbollah. "I never said drop a nuclear bomb," Hannity responded. A few moments later, Hannity slipped and said, "It could have. They could obliterate them." Hannity ended the segment by telling Rosenblum he was "full of sh*t."

10,000 Bags Missing in British Airports

| Tue Aug. 15, 2006 11:23 AM PDT

BBC reports that around 10,000 bags checked in by British Airways passengers have gone missing at airports since the UK security alert began. BA says half of them are still piled up at airports waiting to be delivered back to their owners.

So, everything's back to normal, then. That was fast.

Tucker Carlson On Dancing With the Stars

| Tue Aug. 15, 2006 8:49 AM PDT

Define "stars."

Can you do a grand jeté over a shark? Because I'd sure like to see Jerry Springer (who's also signed up for a turn on DWTS) try. (Though, in fairness, Springer is shelling out to defeat Ohio's Kenneth Blackwell, a cause for which we are perhaps willing to forgive all past and present assaults against taste.)

Sean Hannity Sucks...?

| Mon Aug. 14, 2006 5:49 PM PDT

hannity.png

Good guerrilla marketing. But will it change hearts and minds? Who cares?

Oh, and the reaction:

hannity_reaction.png