Mother Jones Nominated for WPA Magazine Awards

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.

Newsweek Feeds My Huckabee Love Affair

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!

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

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

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.

Dear GOP, You are Not the Party of Lincoln

Excellent work from Eric Foner of the Nation (via Alternet) in which Foner smacks down the GOP's recent use of Lincoln quotes on the subject of treason. (Lincoln thought those who don't support the military should be "exiled or hanged," the Right claims, incorrectly.) I've always thought that any invocation of Lincoln by the Republicans was disingenuous history-twisting at its worst. After all, we're talking about the man who perhaps did more for African-Americans than any other American being used as a talking point by a party that viciously fought the civil rights movement and to this day uses minority vote-suppression to win elections in close races. "Party of Lincoln," my rear end. Lincoln technically belonged to the same party as these guys, but that's where the similarities end.

Anyway, Foner looks at Lincoln's congressional record pre-presidency and it turns out he was strongly anti-war. He led Congress in protest of James Polk's war with Mexico, which was sold on false pretenses and was largely "pre-emptive." There is no doubt that Lincoln would have fought harder than most against the war in Iraq.

Raise Your Hand if You Hate Maureen Dowd!

no_dowd.gifEvery once in a while, I find Maureen Dowd funny, but ever since her Britney Spears train wreck in slow motion of a book, I've been seriously turned off.

Now this. Today's Daily Howler compares the Don't-Call-Me-Dowdy one to Ann Coulter. That's right. Coulter outright calls Dems "faggots," but Maureen Dowd almost compulsively describes them with belittling feminizing images. (It should be said that she adds -ie to the names of most Republicans.) Her last column about Gore before the 2000 election was a conversation between him and his bald spot called "I feel pretty…." Dowd's insults are every bit as pointed, but come in "simpering" sheep's clothing. And so, the Daily Howler concludes, Dowd does Dems more damage than the despicable Coulter.

It's Time for Hagel-Huckabee '08, Folks

Matt Yglesias has a typically great takedown of the Big Three Republican contenders, Giuliani, McCain, and Romney, over at the American Prospect. There's nothing new to report, but Yglesias illustrates why they are all basically ineligible for the Republican nomination with economy and some good humor ("Mitt Romney is the most freakishly transparent liar I've ever witnessed."). It's worth a read. I'll highlight one particularly insightful point here:

Given that they're all viewed skeptically by cultural conservatives, the only possible way for any of them to campaign for the nomination is with an escalating race to the right on national security, even though Iraq just led the GOP to disaster last November. Which vulnerable state that Bush won in 2004 is rendered more secure by making the Republican Party less committed to social conservatism but more committed to the Iraq project? Ohio? Virginia? Missouri? Nevada? Iowa? I don't see it. [Emphasis his.]

Yup, they're all screwed. That's why I've come to realize that a ticket with Mike Huckabee and Chuck Hagel would pretty much be unstoppable. I'm thinking Hagel for president because he has war experience, much better teeth, and is currently right on the biggest issue, Iraq. I'm thinking Huckabee for vice president because he seems cuddly (he doesn't swear!) and was a preacher for a long time. Also, he wrote a self-help book about losing weight and is named Huckabee, two things that probably disqualify him from the presidency.

By the way, I'm not really joking. In a week, there will be a Newsweek article about these two forming a ticket. Just watch.

U.S. Attorney Update: Domenici Lawyers Up

domenici.jpgIn a move that suggests he's feeling the heat, New Mexico Republican Pete Domenici hired a high-powered lawyer today. Fired attorney David Iglesias said Domenici's chief of staff called him just weeks before the November election and pressured him to be more aggressive in his ethics probe of a Democrat. The senator himself took the phone at one point and asked if Iglesias would produce indictments before the election. (For a full report on yesterday's congressional testimony, click here.)

I'm not sure if it's more comical or terrifying, but Domenici has hired the lawyer who represented Randy "Duke" Cunningham, the former Republican congressman who was found guilty on ethics charges brought by U.S. attorney Carol S. Lam—who was fired shortly thereafter. Comical because Cunningham is in jail; terrifying because the Republican wagons are circled pretty tight and they don't fight fair.

In January, Clara wrote about the plan to sell the financially-troubled Air America to brothers Stephen and Mark Green. That deal was consummated yesterday and Mark Green celebrated the event by posting his vision for the new Air America (a/k/a Air America 2.0) on Huffington Post.

Unfortunately, having read Green's essay, I'm a bit skeptical of the "new" attributes of Air America. They sound an awful lot like the old attributes -- the ones that sent them into Chapter 11. Green asserts in the "Huff Po" that Air America will now:


  • "[Focus] on the radio fundamentals of making a strong line-up even stronger."
  • "[Connect] to other progressive membership organizations to be mutually fortifying."
  • "[Be] a multi-media content company involving other distribution platforms -- Internet, blogging, audio and video streaming, mobile, social networks, and more."
  • I think you can do all three of those things and still not make any money if the idea of progressive radio is a fundamentally flawed one, or if the execution of your core product is shoddy, or if there simply isn't a market for what you are selling. Green also says Air America will "be a business with a sharp point of view. The era of on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand liberalism is over" (what, AA didn't take a strong point of view before?) and that "Air America will aggressively cover national politics and policies in ways that will be informative, opinionated and entertaining."

    Well, okay. It sounds a little like, "We're going to do it better this time!" but I'm willing to be optimistic. Air America covering and maybe even breaking news would be cool, and some genuinely funny content would be welcomed. Go for it, boys, and good luck.

    Any readers who have heard Air America in the last few days (or in the next few) should leave their thoughts in the comments. Any material changes?